How Taking A Break From Alcohol Transformed My Career

Amanda Kuda
7 min readDec 11, 2023

I’ve always been a high achiever. I graduated at the top of my grad school class (earning an A from a teacher who infamously ‘didn’t give As’), I landed my first job out of college working with a well-respected businessman and author where I was often celebrated by company executives.

By the time I turned 30, I’d purchased my first house and been named one of the “top 20 young professionals under 30” by a posh Midwestern magazine. By all accounts, I was flying high.

Except I wasn’t. I was doing the thing a lot of us do in our early careers, burning the candle at both ends by overworking myself at my 9–5 and partying the weekend away with my other successful young professional friends.

It didn’t take me too long into my professional career to realize that I’d chosen a career path that was in my Zone of Excellence rather than my Zone of Genius (terms coined by Gay Hendricks in his book, The Big Leap). Sure, I was good at my job, but my glamorous career in marketing wasn’t my passion or what came easiest to me.

My discontent only grew as I climbed the ranks in my career, leaving the Midwest for a move to a marketing gig in Texas. Again, my life looked great on the outside. I was making more money and rubbing elbows with the elite at charity events, but I wasn’t happy.

I masked my discontent by throwing myself further into the weekend party scene with the “see and be seen” crowd which left me dragging myself into work on Monday morning, still in the fog of a lingering hangover.

By the time I reached 30, I’d all but had it with the work hard, play hard routine. I was ready to figure out my next steps and find a career path that felt inspiring and aligned. I started digging deep into the world of personal development and self-help, often binging podcasts and audiobooks, desperate to figure out my next move.

Somewhere along the way, I began to sense that my weekend drinking habits might be — somehow — getting in the way of the transformation I was seeking. Although I couldn’t prove it, I had the intuition that my completely normal, social drinking routine was actually doing more damage than met the eye.

There was only one problem: I didn’t have a problem. I was no more than a normal social drinker. I didn’t embody a significant number of behaviors to label myself with alcohol use disorder (alcoholism/addiction). And, nearly a decade ago, there weren’t people talking about going sober outside of the traditional model of recovery.

I felt stuck. I worried that I’d become a social outcast if I quit drinking. I couldn’t fathom how I’d navigate the booze-centric work events that I was obligated to go to. And, don’t even get me started on how impossible it felt to be on the singles scene as a non-drinker.

The path of sobriety looked like a dismal one. And yet, I couldn’t help but feel pulled to take a step back from the party scene. I had a growing intuition that my wildest dreams were just on the other side of a break up from alcohol.

Spoiler: I was right.

Somewhat reluctantly, I decided to participate in a 30-day sober experiment during January, 2017. The popular challenge, otherwise known as “Dry January” felt like a less-intimidating time to commit to a break from alcohol because I knew several other people like me who were doing the same.

That 30 day break led to breakthroughs, which eventually culminated in an unintentional, yet completely miraculous break up from booze.

In fact, January 1st, 2017 was the last time I drank alcohol. I’ll save all the details for another time, and cut to the results.

Within 90 days of ditching the drink, I started to feel more clear headed and creative. I began to see possibilities that before didn’t seem available to me. I was also sleeping better, eating healthier, and working out super-consistently; which only contributed to my good feeling.

At the six month mark, I noticed a major shift in my mood and self-esteem. I’d begun to conquer things sober that I’d needed alcohol to survive before. That felt good. I started thinking more clearly and even more creatively. I had more energy, enthusiasm, and emotional resilience. At this point I began to invest in education for myself to prepare me for whatever was coming next in my career.

After a year of abstaining, alcohol had basically become insignificant in my life. I’d invested a lot of time in working on myself to dismantle the limiting beliefs that caused me to stay attached to alcohol for so long. Although my life wasn’t perfect, for the first time in a long time I felt hopeful; as if I were really on the right path.

Around this time, I started miraculously attracting new opportunities into my life. Whether these were professional partnerships, connections, mentors, or random financial abundance; my life seemed like it was really in flow.

In the Fall of 2019, 2.5 years after I quit drinking, I made the move to leave my corporate job to pursue my growing passion for supporting women as a holistic life coach. By the Spring of 2020, I felt motivated to start explore the possibility of writing my own self-help book. I hired a coach to support me and by January 2021, I’d signed on to have my dream literary team represent me in getting my book idea in front of publishers.

With my agents’ help, I landed a book deal with a top publishing house and my first book (Unbottled Potential: Break Up With Alcohol And Break Through To Your Best Life) was published in October, 2023.

In just seven short years, I went from pretty miserable and unmotivated in my career to ticking off almost every professional goal I’ve had up to this point (don’t worry, I’m working on my new visions now!).

Here’s what I have to tell you: All of this came to me with relative ease once I made the decision to get out of my own way and stop wasting my time with alcohol.

(Note: I’m extremely spiritual and I believe that quitting alcohol and doing personal development work helped me raise my energetic vibration so that I was more aligned with my desires, which caused them to come to fruition with greater ease, but that’s a concept for another post).

Being free from alcohol gave me precious time and energy I needed to pour into my goals. An unexpected side effect of ditching booze was that I also grew my self confidence and sense of worth because I was forced to tackle limiting beliefs and life challenges that I used to attempt to forget with alcohol. Further, with alcohol out of the way, I began operating at a higher level creatively. Suddenly, my mind was a treasure trove of ideas and possibilities. What’s more, because I have more energy and confidence, I actually believed that my wildest dreams were within reach…they were.

If you’ve made it this far and you identify as someone with big dreams and professional goals, I can tell you this: Your dreams were meant to be yours. They were put on your heart for a reason and even your wildest dreams are small in comparison to what you are actually capable of.

Of course, I’m not sure how much you drink or how often. But, I can say with certainty that if you consume alcohol on a regular or consistent basis, it is absolutely holding you back from achieving those dreams. Even if you have managed to have some wild professional success thus far in your life (and I imagine you have), that success pales in comparison to what you would be capable of if you were always operating at maximum capacity.

What I want you to know is this: Now, more than ever, we need you operating at maximum capacity. No, not so you can hustle and grind harder (ew!). We need the version of you that is operating in their Zone of Genius. We need that special gift you have. We need to see your dreams and desires come to life. Why? Because your self-expression and actualization is going to have a tremendous impact on those around you. We absolutely need that.

If you feel called to take a break from alcohol as a way to accelerate your dreams and desires, I’m here to cheer you on. I know that you have big things to do in this world, and I know that you will accomplish your dreams faster and with more ease and flow with alcohol out of the way.

PS: You can learn more about living an alcohol-free lifestyle over on my IG page. I also host an annual Dry January Challenge you can learn more about here.

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Amanda Kuda

Author & Alcohol-Free Lifestyle Expert. A 30-something sharing my journey of personal development, spiritual growth, & authenticity. IG: @amandakuda.