No Alcohol Means Improving My Well-Being, Especially With Lynch Syndrome


Quitting drinking alcohol was so important for my well-being and also decreases the threat of developing certain cancers, especially with Lynch syndrome.

Illustration of a woman with straight blonde hair and glasses.

The past three years have presented me with some formidable challenges. Within a year, I lost my beloved dog, bid farewell to my son as he ventured off to college, and lost my husband to COPD. Adding to the weight of grief, I also live with Lynch syndrome, the most common hereditary cancer syndrome that comes with its bevy of barriers. With a family medical history steeped in cancer, it's as if I carry a ticking time bomb on my back, each moment fraught with the looming threat of its detonation. Tick, tick, tick . . .

I thought of this quote from the book “Quit Like a Woman: The Radical Choice to Not Drink in a Culture Obsessed with Alcohol.”

“We are hyper-vigilant about everything we put into our body, everything we do to our body, and we are proud of this. We Instagram how proud we are of this, and we follow Goop and Well+Good, and we drop 40 bucks on an exercise class because there are healing crystals in the floor.

The global wellness economy is estimated to be worth $4 trillion.


We are on an endless and expensive quest for wellness and vitality and youth.

And we drink f**king rocket fuel."

Faced with a cascade of hardships over the past few years, I knew 2024 had to mark a turning point — I needed to make a cataclysmic change in my life and adopt healthier habits to deal with stress. Thus, I embarked on Dry January, a tentative decision that proved to be the catalyst for a profound transformation.

Little did I know, when I first committed to Dry January, that it would extend far beyond its initial confines. Refraining from alcohol became more than just a month-long experiment; it evolved into a lifestyle choice driven by necessity and a deep understanding of its implications.

Abstinence from alcohol is particularly crucial for people with Lynch syndrome. Even in moderation, research shows that alcohol can significantly heighten the risk of certain cancers, including the already prevalent colorectal cancer associated with Lynch syndrome. By abstaining from alcohol, I am proactively mitigating this risk and placing my long-term health at the forefront.

The positive impact on my life has been undeniable. First and foremost, there has been a remarkable clarity of mind. Free from the fog of alcohol, my thoughts are sharper, I am more articulate and I feel more in tune with myself than ever before. This newfound understanding has boosted my productivity and improved my self-control and confidence.

As the tectonic plates of my life shifted beneath the surface, I found that the ripples of change extended far beyond my consciousness. With this clarity, I've also become less tolerant of people's BS. I've grown more discerning in my relationships, no longer willing to invest time and energy in superficial connections or tolerate toxic behaviors. Instead, I've focused on fostering more profound, meaningful connections with loved ones and forging new bonds based on authenticity and shared values. Even in the quiet moments of solitude, this shift has brought a profound sense of alignment with my purpose and a clarity of vision that guides me toward endeavors that genuinely matter.

Furthermore, shedding the habit of drinking has led to noticeable improvements in my well-being. I have experienced weight loss, heightened energy levels, better sleep, less overall anxiety (except for the occasional scanxiety) and a sense of vitality that's impossible to ignore. Finally, the compliments from friends and family about my appearance serve as a reassuring validation of the positive changes I have made.

My only regret is that I cannot help but wish I had embraced life sans liquor sooner. The sobering realization of the detrimental effects of alcohol on my health, particularly the increased cancer risk, is something I wish I had fully grasped earlier on. However, I am immensely grateful for the opportunity to prioritize my health and well-being now and in the future.

I have made a concerted effort to adopt healthier coping skills and habits, further enhancing my journey towards well-being. Instead of reaching for a drink to wind down at the end of the day, I now find solace in activities that nurture my mind, body and soul. Walking with my dog in nature, taking long baths, reading and writing have become staples in my nightly routine. They provide me with moments of tranquility and reflection, helping me clear my mind and rejuvenate my spirit.

Two books that I found extremely helpful during this process are James Clear's "Atomic Habits" and Holly Whitaker's "Quit Like a Woman." They offer practical guidance on cultivating healthier habits and navigating challenges with grace and determination.

Replacing old habits with nourishing activities reinforced my commitment to health and enriched my life in countless ways. Each positive, tiny action I take daily adds up and reminds me of the power of mindful choices and their transformative impact on my overall health and happiness.

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