Four surprising ways quitting drinking can help you lose weight

This week we have a guest blog from a member of our social media community, Vickie King. She talks about the ‘quadruple strike’ of the four ways drinking alcohol leads to weight gain – and a surprising way she turned it all around to lose weight and quit drinking! 

I haven’t consumed a drop of alcohol since 23 September 2017. Sounds like a long time doesn’t it?  It is and it isn’t. But what hasn’t changed in all that time, is how much better I feel for it.

You don’t have to have a drinking problem, for drinking to be a problem

I wasn’t an alcoholic. I didn’t drink every night. I didn’t binge drink on weekends. I didn’t consume vast quantities or have blackouts. But what I did do was have 2–3 glasses of wine on Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday nights. To relax, with a cheese platter, bar snacks, or dinner – all very civilised.

But the problem was I had started to rely on it to relax and unwind from a stressful job. However, I wasn’t happy about how it made me feel, or how it made me look. Inside and outside the booze wasn’t doing me any favours.

I was unmotivated, unfit, overweight, bloated, puffy-faced, and feeling pretty crappy about myself.

Four strikes a charm?

You see booze sets you up for what I call the ‘Quadruple Strike’

  1. You’re enjoying yourself, but you’re drinking a bunch of calories that have ZERO nutritional value – strike 1
  2. You’re drinking so you get snacky and end up ordering fatty fries or consuming a whole creamy brie with crackers – strike 2
  3. You’re riding the cocktail (or beer, or wine) highway till late. The next day you’re dusty … so you skip the gym – strike 3
  4. Being a little under the weather the next day, you need a big plate of greasy, salty  calorific goodness – You’re out!

Swap the bad, for the good.

I decided to draw a line in the sand. I stopped drinking and started going to CrossFit. CrossFit is good for the couch-potato boozer as it has a strong focus on injury prevention, competing only against yourself, and it’s ALL about community. So not only did I get exercise, but I also got to socialise and meet new people without alcohol.

For me, joining a normal gym where you go to anonymous classes or work out alone, wasn’t going to work. If I wasn’t going to the bar, I needed somewhere new to joke around with friends. CrossFit fitted the bill perfectly, so I went twice a week.

Becoming fitter and starting to take care of myself made it a whole lot easier to clean up the food too, because it’s hard to hate a body that you’re looking after. So it was easier to get the motivation to eat well and exercise because my body was responding and giving me encouragement. You start to build a wonderful momentum that carries over into other parts of your life (but that’s another blog post altogether!).

Results that speak to me

Over a period of eight months I did lose weight – 14 kg to be precise! It just fell off me. I dropped 3 dress sizes and had to buy a whole new wardrobe (sorry not sorry). I felt better. Looked better. Thought better. And I had made a bunch of new healthy friends and found a place to socialise that didn’t require alcohol. It literally changed my life.

If I can do it, you can too. And trust me, it’s so worth it.

Vickie King

 

 

 

30 ideas on how to give up alcohol, from people who have given up alcohol!

Here at Hello Sunday Morning we know what a huge question ‘should I give up alcohol’? can be to even put out to the universe. It’s not easy to give up something that’s incorporated into your daily dinner, salubrious socialising, or relaxation routine. We know how hard it is for our community and our Daybreak members to give up alcohol, but we also know the huge benefits that come from a life with less or no booze; weight loss, mental clarity, no hangovers, peace of mind and much more time to focus on your goals, just to mention a few. And guess what?! Our Daybreak community is so supportive, encouraging and resourceful they are constantly offering suggestions on getting over the first few hurdles in giving up alcohol and in staying sober.

Whether you’re a bookworm, audiophile, couch potato or app aficionado, below is a  comprehensive list of resources on getting sober for everyone seeking help in giving up alcohol.

Books about giving up alcohol recommended by our community

  1. Alcohol Explained by William Porter

This book explains how alcohol affects human beings on a chemical, physiological and psychological level, from those first drinks right up to chronic alcoholism. The book provides a logical, easy to follow explanation of the phenomenon and detailed instructions on how to beat it.

  1. The Naked Mind by Annie Grace

Annie Grace presents the psychological and neurological components of alcohol use based on the latest science, and reveals the cultural, social, and industry factors that support alcohol dependence in all of us.  Packed with surprising insight into the reasons we drink, this book will open your eyes to the startling role of alcohol in our culture, and how the stigma of alcoholism and recovery keeps people from getting the help they need.

  1.  Blackout: Remembering the Things I Drank to Forget by Sarah Hepola

Sarah often blacked out after a night drinking, waking up with a blank space where four hours should have been. Mornings became detective work on her own life. What did I say last night? How did I meet that guy? She apologised for things she couldn’t remember doing, as though she were cleaning up after an evil twin. Her tale will resonate with anyone who has been forced to reinvent or struggled in the face of necessary change. It’s about giving up the thing you cherish most – but getting yourself back in return.

  1. The Sober Diaries by Clare Pooley

Like many women, Clare Pooley found the juggle of a stressful career and family life a struggle, so she left her successful role as a managing partner in one of the world’s biggest advertising agencies to look after her family. She knew the change wouldn’t be easy, but she never expected to find herself an overweight, depressed, middle-aged mother of three who was drinking more than a bottle of wine a day and spending her evenings Googling ‘am I an alcoholic?’

  1.  Drinking: A Love Story by Caroline Knapp

Caroline Knapp was a successful woman with her own apartment, a steady boyfriend and a career in newspaper journalism. Beneath her polished veneer was a person so broken and insecure she drank herself into a stupor every night. This is her account of her twenty-year love affair with alcohol.

  1.   Alcohol Lied to Me (the Intelligent Escape from Alcohol Addiction) by Craig Beck 

Craig Beck was a successful and functioning professional man in spite of a ‘two bottles of wine a night’ drinking habit. For 20 years, he struggled with problem drinking, all the time refusing to label himself an alcoholic because he did not think he met the stereotypical image that the word portrayed. All these ‘willpower’ based attempts to stop drinking, failed. Slowly he discovered the truth about alcohol dependence and, one by one, all the lies he had previously believed started to fall apart.

  1.  A Girl Walks Out of A Bar by Lisa Smith

Lisa Smith was a bright young lawyer at a prestigious law firm in NYC when alcoholism and drug dependence took over her life. What was once a way she escaped her insecurity and negativity as a teenager became a means of coping with the anxiety and stress of an impossible workload. The book is a candid portrait of alcoholism through the lens of gritty New York realism. Beneath the façade of success lies the reality of dependence.

  1. Dry: A Memoir by Augusten Burroughs

The New York Times Bestseller tells the story of Augusten Burroughs. You’ve seen him on the street, in bars, on the subway, at restaurants: a twenty-something guy, nice suit, works in advertising. Regular. Ordinary. But when the ordinary person had two drinks, Augusten was circling the drain by having twelve. At the request (well, it wasn’t really a request) of his employers, Augusten lands in rehab, where his dreams of group therapy with Robert Downey Jr. are immediately dashed by grim reality of fluorescent lighting and paper hospital slippers.

  1.  Girl, Wash Your Face by Rachel Hollis

Each chapter of Girl, Wash Your Face begins with a specific lie Hollis once believed that left her feeling overwhelmed, unworthy, or ready to give up. As a working mother, a former foster parent, and a woman who has dealt with insecurities about her body and relationships, she speaks with the insight and kindness of a BFF, helping women unpack the limiting mind-sets that destroy their self-confidence and keep them from moving forward.

  1. Why Can’t I Drink Like Everyone Else? A Step-By-Step Guide to Understanding Why You Drink and Knowing How to Take a Break by Rachel Hart

If you’ve ever struggled with drinking too much and want to learn how to take a break without feeling like you’re missing out on life, look no further. Rachel wrote Why Can’t I Drink Like Everyone Else? to share with people the tools she uses with her private clients and to show people that you can answer this question without labels or shame.

  1.  Designing Your Life by Bill Burnett

In this book, Bill Burnett and Dave Evans show us how design thinking can help us create a life that is both meaningful and fulfilling, regardless of who or where we are, what we do or have done for a living, or how young or old we are. The same design thinking responsible for amazing technology, products, and spaces can be used to design and build your career and your life, a life of fulfillment and joy, constantly creative and productive, one that always holds the possibility of surprise.

  1. The Happiness Trap: Stop Struggling, Start Living by Russ Harris

A guide to ACT – the revolutionary mindfulness-based program for reducing stress, overcoming fear, and finding fulfilment. Popular ideas about happiness are misleading, inaccurate, and directly contribute to the current epidemic of stress, anxiety & depression. In this empowering book, Dr Harris provides the means to escape the happiness trap.

  1. Sober Curious by Ruby Warrington

Drawing on research, expert interviews, and personal narrative, Sober Curious is a radical takedown of the myths that keep so many of us drinking. Inspiring, timely, and blame-free, Sober Curious is both conversation starter and handbook – essential information that empowers listeners to transform their relationship with alcohol so they can lead their most fulfilling lives. It’s available as a book and audiobook.

  1. Craig Beck

Further to his book above, Craig is a self-proclaimed ‘stop drinking expert’ and ‘quit drinking coach’  and offers Youtube videos, a bootcamp and personal coaching for those looking to give up alcohol.

  1. Kevin Griffin

Kevin Griffin is a Buddhist author, teacher, and leader in the mindful recovery movement. Kevin teaches internationally in Buddhist centres, treatment centres, professional conferences, and academic settings. He specialises in helping people in recovery to connect with meditation and a progressive understanding of the 12 Steps. He offers retreats, videos, books and other resources to help people give up alcohol.

Podcasts recommended by Daybreakers and the Hello Sunday Morning community

  1. Home with Laura McKowen and Holly Whitaker (soundcloud)

This podcast takes up the big questions of life through the lens of addiction recovery. Each week, it explores a new discussion about  hearts, relationships, life, love and the universe at large.

  1. The Temper by Holly Glenn Whitaker, founder and CEO of Tempest (formerly Hip Sobriety)

“The Temper explores life through the lens of sobriety, addiction, and recovery—with an unapologetically intersectional feminist approach.We acknowledge that whatever we struggle with has fundamentally changed the way we exist in the world. That’s often alcohol, but is just as likely to be food, smoking, social media, overspending—all the things we do to numb ourselves.”

  1. The Bubble Hour hosted by Jean M

The Bubble Hour seeks to inform, educate and help people identify with the stories they hear, the conversations and interviews with people who are just like they are, and let people know they aren’t alone. Nobody can take the first tentative steps towards sobriety without first getting past denial, but even once they are past denial the stigma surrounding alcoholism is so strong that people are reluctant to seek help. The Bubble Hour would like to change that stigma.

  1. Tara Brach

Tara Brach’s teachings blend Western psychology and Eastern spiritual practices, mindful attention to our inner life, and a full, compassionate engagement with our world. The result is a distinctive voice in Western Buddhism, one that offers a wise and caring approach to freeing ourselves and society from suffering.

  1. On being with Krista Tippett

A Peabody Award-winning public radio show and podcast. What does it mean to be human? How do we want to live? And who will we be to each other? Each week a new discovery about the immensity of our lives. Our Daybreakers particularly like this episode with John O’Donohue.

Documentaries, TV series and Movies to help you give up alcohol

  1. Risky Drinking, a documentary by HBO, available on Youtube

Produced by HBO Documentary Films (2015) and the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) of the National Institutes of Health (USA), Risky Drinking is a no-holds-barred look at the drinking epidemic, through the intimate stories of four people whose drinking dramatically affects their relationships.

  1. Drugged: High on Alcohol –  a documentary

In the ‘High on Alcohol’ special edition of ‘Drugged’, viewers were presented with a story that was both a tragedy and a cautionary tale. Ryan, a 28-year-old, drank three pints of vodka a day. Ryan turned to alcohol when his father, who was dependent on alcohol, passed away four years ago.

  1. Drinking to Oblivion – Louis Theroux

Louis Theroux heads to Europe’s largest liver transplant centre where he sees the physical side effects of alcoholism and learns about the challenges doctors, patients and patients’ families face, in trying to treat it.

Apps to help you give up alcohol, stay sober, or for other support

  1. Recovery elevator sobriety app

Recovery Elevator sobriety counter app and the private community offer a safe, informative place, for those who wish to quit drinking. Many find solace and comfort in our cohesive community. They also offer a podcast and sober travel group trips!

  1. Penda app

Launched at Parliament House, Canberra, the Penda App aims to break the cycle of domestic and family violence (DFV) by combining much-needed financial, personal safety and legal information with nationwide referrals. If you are experiencing DVF please contact 1800RESPECT (Australia) for support.

  1. Daisy app

Daisy is an app developed by 1800RESPECT to connect people experiencing violence or abuse to services in their local area. Daisy can be downloaded for free from iTunes or Google Play. Once the app is on your phone, you can use it to search for support services in your local area without them showing up in your browser history.

  1. Calm app

Calm is an app for meditation and mindfulness. It has over 100 guided meditations to help you manage anxiety, lower stress and sleep better. For  beginners through to intermediate and advanced users.

  1. Daybreak app and online program

Of course, this wouldn’t be a complete list of ‘alcohol-free’ resources without mentioning our own app! Daybreak is an online program that helps you change your relationship with alcohol through a supportive community, habit-change experiments, and one-on-one chat with health coaches. We’re really proud of Daybreak and love the feedback we get from our members about how life changing and supportive our app and community are.

Music to be sober to

  1. Alcohol Free (AF) playlists

Find a playlist on your favourite music streaming service, or create your own list of alcohol-free and inspiring songs to keep you motivated, like this one from Hollis Bertsch on Spotify.

  1. Self-love playlists

If you need to dance around the house in your underwear, sing in the shower, or lip synch to karaoke in the car, find a playlist like this one from Deannelove77 on Spotify to love yourself a little more.

If this list is missing something or you want to add your vote for one of the above, please leave a comment below!

6 of the most popular member posts from Hello Sunday Morning

We wanted to share a few of the most loved blog posts from Hello Sunday Morning’s old online platform.

One of the best things about online communities is that they create a space for people to share anonymously and connect with others they can relate to or learn from.

These six posts are written by Hello Sunday Morning community members at all different stages of their journey to a better relationship with alcohol. The reflection process is a really important part of behaviour change as it allows us to look back on how far we have come and how we got there or what worked and what did not work for us. It is not an easy journey, and the posts below reflect that. However, for those of you who have come out the other end – it is well worth the effort.

Day 149
By LongTimeComing

Some things I love about my situation these days:

I get to work early every day, instead of a few minutes late. Waking is so much easier.
I ran a mile this weekend and I swam some!
I DON’T NEED COFFEE ANYMORE. SO I DON’T DRINK IT.
I’m much less prone to eat garbage junk food.
Driving with a clear head is truly relaxing.

I hope you’re well. Message me anytime you need encouragement, no matter who you are.

🙁
By Juols

Not happy with myself today. Don’t know why but thoroughly cheesed off. Not hormones or anything I can put my finger on but would really rather not be with me. Of course escapism is no longer an option. Feeling sad.

An update
By hobophoenix

1) I was asked to purchase some valium for one of my straightlaced lawyer friends, one of the last I’d ever expect to ask me for drugs. Go figure. It is for her courtroom anxiety. Normally I hate playing drug middleman (and I tried to dissuade her to no avail) but since it is a one-off and she is my friend, I decided to do it this one time. Also decided to purchase three pills for myself, for when I wean myself off alcohol again and I suffer the inevitable insomnia/anxiety of withdrawal. Yes, I’m already planning for my inevitable discontinuation of drinking. I’ve had a considerable output in my painting, and the alcohol is helping loosen me up in this regard, but I know alcohol is not a necessary condition for me to be creative. It is not who I am, and one day it will mean nothing to me. I know it.

2) I really wished to purchase hard liquor today, but knew my mum would freak out if she saw the empty bottles, and it is oh-so-stressful to have to hide and dispose of the empties in the company dumpster. So I’m sticking with beer. Subsequently, I’m not as drunk as I’d usually get at this time.

3) I contacted a friend on Facebook who admitted he was an alcoholic a few days ago and we had a great discussion (he is the only one of two brave souls on Facebook who I know have publicly admitted to having a drinking problem, explicitly or implicitly). He used to drink twenty cans of Wild Turkey Rare a night. I remember my meetups with him as filled with heavy drinking and public urination in liquor store car parks (we met online, as I used to meet most of my friends in my late teens and early twenties). In fact, he was the first one to tell me about rolling the old Coopers bottles on the ground trick. Anyway, he had to go to the psych ward. Now he is getting alcohol counselling and I am glad he is getting help. I even recommended this site to him, so maybe he will check it out. Who knows.

Sleep and control
By Mungo

Going well, all on track, hope you are all doing well.

I LOVE sleeping now! I know I have banged on about this before but I really haven’t slept so well since before I had kids! It’s a much better escape than alcohol although you can’t achieve that escape unless you have some peace and life doesn’t always allow that. I don’t hate alcohol or what it does, I just want to have complete control over it. That’s what this is about for me I think – learning to live HAPPILY without it and learning to master it at all times.

Really must stop with the ice cream/frozen yoghurt thing. That is this week’s focus. Go well soberites!

Going strong…ish!
By setYOUfree

Have had a great 2 weeks abstaining so far and I am proud of my efforts. Have been more than rewarded for my “sacrifice” by feeling the best emotionally I have in years. I can’t remember how long it’s been that I’ve felt so stable and in control of myself. My husband has also commented that he is proud of me and is liking this “new” side of me. This is great, as my previous boozing has caused lot of discord between us in the past as he hates seeing me drunk.

I have to confess that I did have two glasses of wine last night though, which is against the rules, but I don’t count this as a slip up. It was in good company, it was only two drinks (not 2.5 bottles at home listening to miserable music), over a nice meal and I felt in complete control. I also was so excited to be able to just jump in my car and go home when I wanted, and be able to drop my mates off too. For the first time ever, I have driven friends home on a night out!

The aim of my HSM is to learn how to enjoy alcohol and to behave like this all the time, so I will continue on abstaining from this point. My crunch time in the past has always been at the two week mark, so I’m mindful that this is where it’s going to get hard and when the thoughts of “oh it’s ok, just have 1, you’ve proved it to yourself enough now”. It feels like I need to completely limit it to make sure I don’t tip over the edge and start rationalising in my head that it’s ok and wind up back in that awful place again.

I think if my friends were hitting the booze hard that it would have been hard for me to say no – I am confident that I wouldn’t have had more but it did highlight to me that I am not as strong yet as I am aiming to be.

So for the rest of this month it will be zero. I don’t want to revise my HSM to start again or to be about controlled drinking, because I know that the whole point of Hello Sunday Morning is to put some distance between yourself and alcohol so you can see the difference. I have been wondering whether I need to start again or not, or add an extra two weeks onto the end. This seems a bit like scary alcoholic rationalising thoughts territory to me. Thoughts??

(It didn’t make my temperature go up in the morning so I think all good for basal temp chart tracking!)

Some things I have noticed so far:

My skin is looking better, my belly and tummy are tightening up and most importantly I feel like I am starting to like myself again. The first week I had a few headachy type symptoms and some funny dreams (probably related to stress that I used to cover up with booze).

What are some improvements that other people have noticed – around the first few weeks?

I had a drink for the first time in 92 days
By #moderation

I’ll put that hashtag in front of any post involving moderate drinking, so those who don’t want to read about it can skip over the post. I won’t be offended if anyone chooses to do just that, as each of us needs to do what’s best for themselves.

I was at my women’s club meeting last night. I hadn’t realised we were having a catered dinner…and wine was being served. I had decided to have some wine to see how I would handle it. I had thought about trying a drink at home a couple of days ago, but I’ll be honest: I was too nervous to, and never did.

I decided to give the wine a try at the meeting because: I wouldn’t be drinking alone, which is one of my major problems/triggers. b. I had to drive home—for all of my issues with alcohol, I am a staunch anti-drinking and driving, and would not consume more than a glass and do it early on so it’d be out of the system before I drove. c. The wine choices were white and rose. My vices are red wine and champagne; I dislike the rest and won’t binge on them.

So I poured myself half a glass of white merlot (a rose). It was an enlightening experience. I had to resist the urge to gulp it down, surprising considering that I really dislike rose. I had to force myself to take small sips and pace myself. Was it because it’s been more than three months since I had any alcohol? Was it because it was hot as hell in the room and the wine was chilled? Or was it something darker and more addictive in me that just got awakened?

I had several glasses of seltzer after finishing the wine. Now the seltzer, I pounded down. I then tried a second half-glass with plenty of ice and a glass of seltzer to go with it.

This serving I didn’t feel as driven to gulp…if anything, this time around I noticed the taste more and that it wasn’t all that appealing. I actually spent more time drinking and refilling my seltzer glass and letting the wine just sit there. About half-way through the second half-glass of wine, I started feeling the affects of the alcohol: I wasn’t drunk by any means, but I could feel it starting to hit me. Three months without drinking will definitely decrease one’s tolerance. So I called it quits on the wine and kept on the seltzer for the rest of the meeting. Fortunately, I wasn’t going anywhere for a couple of hours, so by the time I had to head home, I felt normal again.

When I got home, I didn’t have any cravings to keep drinking, which was a very good thing. I exercised, had a snack of Chinese food, and called it a night. I did wake up dehydrated today, but that was due to late Chinese food. I don’t know what this means for me. The fact that I was able to stop, as well as not having cravings for more after stopping, is promising indeed. At the same time, my initial desire to just slam that first half-glass of wine after tasting it disturbed me.

If you’re inspired to share your journey with people going through a similar change, we encourage you to download our online program Daybreak and post to the community!

Online communities can help support you through hard times

In Australia, high-risk drinking and alcohol use disorders are considered a concerning public health issue. People are just not getting the help and support they need.

It can be hard to admit having an unhealthy relationship with alcohol to ourselves, let alone to our social groups who may have a strong focus on drinking every time they get together. People need a space where a community can help them change and provide support and guidance when their partners, friends or families might not be able to.

Closing the gap

Through our research and experience with Hello Sunday Morning over the last eight years, we have found a significant gap exists in alcohol treatment. Currently, 40 million people globally and 360,000 Australians who want alcohol treatment fall outside the capacity of the health system.

People who are drinking at risky levels are not seeking the help they need; this is due to a number of things, such as:

Long waiting lists and limited services
Stigmatisation in our culture
Low motivation
High cost of treatment

Why are online communities helpful?

Our latest research shows getting involved in an online forum can support long-term behaviour change in individuals wishing to change the way they drink. This is because it is rare and extremely hard for someone who is looking at quitting or cutting back their alcohol consumption to go through it alone.

The journey of change is challenging and for most people, it is not as easy as just ‘not drinking’. People have relapses and setbacks, lose motivation or use alcohol to cope with something difficult that arises – the list goes on. It is vital to have at least one person who you can turn to for non-judgemental support when you need it and this is exactly what online forums can provide.

They can also hold a safe space which is anonymous (if you don’t want to announce to the world that you’re no longer drinking), accessible (you can chat to people going through a similar change at anytime), and are more affordable treatment options.

Community and connection – a basic human need

Engagement with the online community and peer support is a key ingredient in the successful behaviour change of Hello Sunday Morning and Daybreak members.

Peer-to-peer communities (people posting to a group of people in the same online space) are described as one of the most ‘transformational features of the internet’.

These online spaces allow people with multiple barriers (living in a remote areas, difficult working hours etc) to connect and create supportive communities. Many people who have difficult relationships with alcohol are often also feeling isolated in their lives – being able to create meaningful connections with people who are working towards the same goals as them can be incredibly powerful. Peer support can often be just as effective, or more so, than professional support, as it provides a social outlet as well as a space to grow therapeutically.

Sharing where you’re at

Narrative expression, or being able to post and write how you’re feeling or whether you need help, has demonstrated psychological benefits for people because it allows reflection, connection, and meaning-making.

One of the key processes in narrating our experiences is ‘externalising’, which is the process of getting thoughts out and into words, and finding ways of communicating how we’re feeling; this can be hugely important in bringing us to a sense of clarity and understanding.

When we looked at analytics of blog posts on our Hello Sunday Morning legacy platform, we saw that members typically begin with descriptions of their drinking practices. Often, this changes over time to reflect their efforts and their aspirations, turning in a more positive direction.

Being part of a supportive web-based community, as well as having the opportunity to reflect on past experiences, may help give people the resources needed to create lasting behaviour change.

People helping people

We also found online community members shifted from being self-focused to reflecting on the role of alcohol in society and developing a desire to support others.

This makes a lot of sense – part of the recovery process can be going from a person who does not have much knowledge or experience, to someone who has a lot of knowledge that they can use to support others.

Within the Daybreak community, we have members who have been active for several months, and who have moved from ‘newbies’ to more established and recognised people in the community. Just like in a sporting team, workplace or small town, the longer we stay in the group the stronger our connections become. Over time, we tend to shift our focus from ourselves and our own needs, and start to consider the needs of the community and its members.

I danced sober in the dark on a Monday night with 100 other people

We have turned July into our dancing month, where we will explore different forms of creative expression to music and encourage you to do the same, as dancing can provide an outlet for a lot of built up baggage. Hello Sunday Morning is inviting you to come along on our journey to experiment with the boogie and increase your groove. 

It was sweaty, it was loud, it was electric, and the best part of all? It was Monday night.

We walked into a completely pitch-black room; the walls and floor were vibrating with beats from the speakers and DJ in the corner. When our eyes slowly adjusted to the darkness, dimly lit by a few community hall EXIT signs, we were just able to make out the silhouettes of the dancers all around us.

For the next hour, we found ourselves slowly losing all inhibitions and moving parts of our bodies that have not moved for a long time. Hips were swinging, butts were bouncing and clapping, laughter and yahoos were made out over the blasting of music from old school swing music to classic ’90s hits from Destiny’s Child.

What is this magical dance universe, you may ask?

No Lights No Lycra started in Australia and has grown to provide this community experience in countries all over the world. Check out your area to find your nearest NLNL:

“The dance night grew through word of mouth and within a few months the hall was full of people who shared the same yearning for a dimly lit space to dance as freely as they do in their living rooms.” 


nlnl-e1342748898543.jpg

Who says you need alcohol to dance? 

The darkness at No Lights No Lycra helps you forget about that self-consciousness that stops most of us from expressing ourselves fully. Naturally, you may feel a little tense at the start as we are so used to worrying what other people might think of us. But give it 10 minutes and you’ll notice the endorphins crawling over your skin and words belting out of your mouth as you sing along and crawl out of your protective social shell to move in ways you never knew you could.

There’s no other feeling like it, a smile was glued on my face, a stitch prevalent in my rib cage and my legs ached until the next day.

Would I do it again? Absolutely.

Would I recommend to a friend? Absolutely.

Do I think dancing will cure the world? One Monday night at a time.

Have you got a list of things you’d like to try? If you want to share an experience with us that inspires others to start doing the things they have always wanted to do, we would love to hear about it! Email your story with photos (if you have them) to info@hellosundaymorning.org

Independence Day is all about community

At Hello Sunday Morning, the community is vitally important to us. Our community members inspire us with their personal stories and the unconditional support they provide for others.  We know from our six years of experience running Hello Sunday Morning that community is one of the most impactful aspects of a society. Thus, we thought it was important to acknowledge today, as people across America are coming together in their local communities and celebrating their national holiday with friends and neighbours.

The Fourth of July

Today marks the most significant holiday for the United States. It was the day the Continental Congress signed the Declaration of Independence in 1776, formally declaring America’s independence from Britain. Some people refer to the holiday as ‘America’s birthday,’ and it’s celebrated like an enormous birthday bash every year. The Fourth of July is unlike other holidays where families gather and celebrate at home – it’s a day where entire towns and communities come together to take part in the festivities.   Independence Day falls at the warmest time of year in the U.S. It’s summer, school is out, banks and government offices are closed for the day, and most businesses shut down. The day begins, for many, with preparations for afternoon barbecues or picnics. Some people bake festive cookies and cakes decorated with white icing and topped with candy or berries arranged into an American flag. Families take their kids to the centre of town for local parades, where everyone is dressed in red, white, and blue, from their hair accessories all the way down to their shoes. You’ll most likely run into a few of your neighbours at the parade, and if not, you’ll certainly see them later at the fireworks display. For kids especially, the rest of the day is spent anxiously waiting for fireworks. Fireworks displays are put on by all major cities and most small towns, and the community gathers in a park or other public spaces to watch. Anyone who wants to stake out a good spot will get there hours before the sun sets. They’ll bring lawn chairs, picnic blankets, tons of food, and even portable barbecue grills. Parents can enjoy themselves for a few hours while their kids go and play with their classmates, who they’re bound to run into. The evening ends with everyone twirling sparklers in the air before settling onto blankets on the grass to watch together. We’re inspired by the way local communities come together on the Fourth of July to spend time with family, friends, and those living around them. On a day like today, there’s nothing more important to independence than a community.