I am 8 ½ months sober! I don’t know how that happened?! Lately the time just seems to fly…
Somehow I got here to this place where I am comfortable with not drinking, have found my sober feet and am in a contented state, well, most of the time.
Sometimes, there’s lots of fun stuff going on, I am in a really good mood and I feel like there’s nothing I can’t do. Other times it’s a bit flat. There are still moments when I really want a drink, or simply miss my old habits, my escapism…being able to check out of my own life for a while. But they do pass very quickly now.
Recently, I had a spell of nights out and was surprised at how much I enjoyed every one.
I don’t feel the sense of dread that I used to, when I thought about socializing without alcohol. I used to think it would just require so much extra effort on my part to either be or appear to be having fun. I am much more chilled about it all, my attitude has changed and I am just more confident with showing the world my sober self. It feels like I have been hiding away, working out my sober muscles and rebuilding my confidence, getting to know myself again.
I’m really enjoy experiencing the different scenarios in a new light though my sober eyes. I like seeing the evening or event for what it actually is and not trying to force fun to happen artificially. I enjoy trying to have a good time without getting hammered. I embrace the challenge of finding new stuff to do socially and feel like there’s a whole world out there that would have just passed me by had I still been drinking. I no longer have a one track mind and that is cool!
Sober really is the new black in my world. For the last 8 ½ months I have been on such an emotional but unplanned adventure. I thought that getting and staying sober was going be miserable but it’s just different, that’s all and I am a much happier person than when I was stuck in the endless cycle of drinking, shame and regret.
I don’t think that being sober is boring. Life can be boring, you can just be or you can stand up and challenge why it’s boring. I swapped my desire for chaos and drama for this sober adventure. I don’t know where it is going to take me or what shape my sobriety will take long term. For me, I believe that to stay sober my way (ie. Without AA, 12 Step, organised support groups) I will need to keep myself in check, and keep surrounding myself with the sober network that helped to get me this far. Whilst I feel super happy and excited about staying sober and what else will unfold if I let it, I am aware that there are easy pitfalls too.
The further away from the decision to quit that I get, the harder it will to be to remember why I had to quit. I worry about becoming complacent and thinking that I have changed so much that I could handle drinking again. I know all of this good stuff has only happened as a result of giving myself back the controls of my life. I didn’t have that control 8 months ago. I was always trying to give up, failing almost nightly.
Two things reminded me of that tonight.
A display of French beer in the supermarket, reminded me of the Christmas I decided that banning wine and only drinking beer was how I was going to address my drinking issue. In fact, I bought a crate of that low alcohol French beer, which is about 2%. Well, obviously, I just drank loads of it and when I started to feel a bit bloated and unbuzzed, I ran to the local shop for some shit wine, leaving my husband to polish off the rest of the crate over Christmas because it just didn’t hit the spot! I decided to give up in the January. I think that was about 4 or 5 years ago. Frightening.
I was out running just before dinner (wouldn’t have done that before, didn’t really do anything productive after 5pm!) and thinking how if I was still drinking, I would spend the whole run obsessing. I would be totting up units, trying to factor in the upcoming weekend but feeling so healthy for being out exercising. I’d feel so strong at the time and would make promises to myself that I would never keep. Then I’d get home and within an hour undo all the good by opening a bottle and beating myself up all over again. Even while I was drinking it, I would feel weak, fickle, crushed…
Oh how I don’t miss those feelings and debates. I went out last night and it there was music and booze and it didn’t bother one bit that I wasn’t drinking. Most people were driving and taking it easy, it’s a Tuesday night! I was always up for a party, any excuse. That’s how I know that I am really not any different deep down…I still look in wonderment at how they have one, or even none, on a night out. Why would they do that? What’s wrong with them? Aren’t they enjoying it, don’t they need more? How do they switch the need off? I still don’t get that. I don’t crave, or envy, because I don’t want any of it now, but cannot fathom their willpower or blatant indifference!!
There are still lots of difficult situations to face, Christmas parties, Christmas generally…lots of people who don’t even know I have quit! That scares me a bit because I’m sure that they are going to be shocked, suspicious as to why anyone would not want to celebrate Christmas without boozing. I think that it’s hard to just brush it off over such a large scale at this time of the year. Certainly my attitude when telling people has recently been more like..I’m trying this not drinking lifestyle and getting shit done and all and I have found it’s really cool. I have just lowered the priority drinking has in my life and I am finding that I can..
a) Still have fun on a night out and look fabulous while doing it!
b) Discover a whole new world I didn’t know existed outside of the binge drinking social scene.
c) Get so much more from the rest of my weekend
I figure the only ones who seriously quiz me or give me any grief are the one’s who themselves have drinking issues and I am proud to be a positive advert for sober living in their eyes anyway.
So, I will be out and about, here and there wearing my much cherished new sobriety like it’s the latest must have. And when I don’t feel like doing that, I will be topping up with support, hugs, treats and whatever else I need to stay sober this Christmas. It’s my first and as with any adventure, I am both terrified and excited…