It’s been a while since I posted a little sobriety update so given that we are deep into #DryJanuary, I’d throw out some nuggets of support to anyone limping through the next ten days or so about what life is like since I put down my wine glass and decided to knock drinking on the head for good.
This month is dry for me too. But, at five hundred and twenty (ish) days without booze, I’m probably a little more adjusted to not drinking than might be.
My second sober Christmas was a non event – I bought up a shed load of alcohol free alternatives and managed to survive the festive period unscathed, with not a jot of FOMO or regret. I danced my socks off at my work Christmas party and was the last one standing which given my past track record, isn’t surprising once I removed the alcohol. It was always my downfall (literally) after all.
But aside from all the positives, there are still times I have to channel a little more focus as to why I quit drinking. In a world full of alcohol related memes, gifts and greeting cards, booze fuelled social events and never ending drinking opportunities there is no escaping it.
I’ve opted to go for the get stuck in method of being sober – hitting the dance floor, wearing loud colours and perhaps making up for the confidence boost of booze in other ways. But the social anxieties that had me downing my first three drinks haven’t left the party – they are still there, still uninvited and asking me head on what I’m going to do about it.
I suppose what I have learnt through reading and through therapy is that it’s okay to have those feelings – the butterflies and the nerves. It’s way WAY better for me to notice them, acknowledge how I’m feeling and wait for it to pass, as opposed to poison myself senseless to erase them in a haze of craziness, vomit and regret.
The funny thing is, I don’t shy away from drinkers. In fact whilst I don’t really dig glamorising irresponsible drinking any more, I love being around drunk people. Those lucky buggers who know when to stop, respect their limits and who unlike me, never seem to end up in a pickle. They’re great fun to be around, and I only wish I had their stamina and control.
Of course I do not miss the hangovers – that is a given. But being drunk by osmosis also comes at a cost. Late nights, dancing feet and soft drink sugar overload bring on a sensation of hangover hell that is as close as I ever want to feel again. Strange – who knew. Perhaps half of a hangover is attributed to those things anyway?
My friends and family have certainly accepted the change in me, and it’s no longer a big deal. Folk brought stuff in specially for us (Dad Muddling Through is now pretty much tee total too) over Christmas and they have found the joy in finding a good AF drink almost as much as we have.
I can’t help but wonder though that I’ve placed way too much emphasis on the replacement booze market? It isn’t cheap, it’s all too often full of sugar and it’s been a strange prop in social situations that even I realise s a little weird. I mean who goes to the bar every ten minutes and downs another tonic water, clutching it on the dance floor like some kind of safety blanket? Well me apparently, and perhaps in 2020 that’s a habit I’ll try and tease myself out of. After all, wouldn’t it be great to not feel the need to have an AF beer, and just take a water? Well, one step at a time.
The greatest revelation of all remains that I am still very much me without alcohol. I still love music, going out with my friends, dancing, karaoke and late nights. I don’t miss out on anything (other than the hangovers) and I am still the same Sarah to be around. Or perhaps, a better Sarah to be around as you are more likely to find me smiling at the end of the night – getting others safely home and maintaining my self respect and dignity. I’m not sure the old Sarah was ever too good at that.
So if you have enjoyed the taster of clean living and fancy keeping going for the 100 days that is reported to be the game changer (I’m testament to that), what’s stopping you? Head over to the health > going sober category for my whole story, giving up drinking advice and how it changed my life for the better. You can always follow my instagram sobriety account @_Last_orders_ for some daily booze kicking inspo too.