231211.News. Photo:Peter Drury/Waikato Times. Chloe Milne has just learnt to fly and for her 21st birthday will try to fly around New Zealand landing in 21 aerodromes.

231211.News. Photo:Peter Drury/Waikato Times. Chloe Milne has just learnt to fly and for her 21st birthday will try to fly around New Zealand landing in 21 aerodromes.

 

This article was recently featured on Stuff.co.nz.

Disclaimer: I’m no longer a non-drinker (I’m now a wine lover who wants to own a winery!), but I’m still a big believer in sobriety leading to productivity and in drinking in moderation – if you can only have fun whilst drinking then I highly recommend reading the below, who knows what turn you’re life may take, just as mine did.

 

I don’t often talk about my five-year long sobriety, but after almost being attacked by a man with a steel baseball bat last night near my East London apartment, I thought it was about time to answer the most frequent question I’m asked on a night out: “Why don’t you drink?”

I initially gave up drinking for health reasons. I had an unrelated illness and decided to detox for a couple of months. Before I knew it, eight months had passed, and it hit me one day – my life was now so much happier, healthier and more fulfilling.

I was studying law at Canterbury University at the time and up until then my life had revolved around drinking. Any time I wasn’t studying I was drinking, or talking about drinking, or hungover from drinking.

The lack of alcohol in my life left a huge void that I started to fill with interesting and fulfilling things. I picked up my passions again. I started writing and within a couple of months became a columnist. I picked up flying lessons that had previously seemed too hard to accomplish and within a year I became a private pilot.

I celebrated my 21st birthday by flying the length of New Zealand landing at 21 airports – something that was much more fulfilling than downing 21 shots.

I also reignited my passion for travel and have since visited 12 different countries, including living in New York City for a year with a dream job at a digital design firm.

Now I live in East London and work for a creative agency and it was here in East London where I was reminded of another good reason why I don’t drink – safety.

I was walking home with my housemates from a party in a very quiet area. I was aware it wouldn’t be safe to walk alone there, so I had waited for them to leave so we would all walk together. Even so, a menacing man with a metal baseball bat, who had two accomplices, began following us.

By some miracle, a police car was driving past moments later and because I was sober and aware, I was able to run (from behind a car where I was now hiding) and tell them about the man who was now running away with the bat.

I do feel somewhat secure in the knowledge that I was able to assess the situation and would probably have been able to run away and get help if the police hadn’t fortuitously arrived. If I was under the influence I’m not so sure.

It feels great to have control over your own life. Since I quit drinking I only do things I actually want to do. No artificial fun.

I get my highs naturally from success, adrenaline activities and my passions. My life has been completely renewed; it’s hard for me to imagine why anyone would want to drink.

So when I’m asked that oft-asked question, I’m always tempted to ask the never asked question: “Why do you drink?”