A few thoughts on being sober. Maybe you find some of it useful. May it inspire.
I love being sober. I love my clear head, my gorgeous deep sleep, the time I now have to do things that I care about.
Being sober is easier than I thought. After a few relapses and false starts in my attempts to end my drinking, this time I feel I'm on the right track. From Day 1 I have felt very positive about getting sober. My sobriety is my gift to myself. I can now look forward to another 20 years of life, enjoying what I do. I now know that I won't have to keep drinking, feeling dreadful and wasting away the last few decades of my existence.
I don't miss alcohol. It may be surprising but I really don't. I went from 2 bottles of cheap red wine a day to nothing and I did not have any cravings. I don't think I even had withdrawal symptoms. The witch/wolfie/beast did not whisper in my ear much. I just stopped. And now it seems the natural way to do things.
I have not changed my routines. I still drive past the same bottle store, I still shop in the same supermarkets. I still buy my husband's beer (a six pack lasts him a week or more). I still cook dinner at the same time of day in the same kitchen. I have simply stopped buying and drinking alcohol.
There is no social pressure to drink. There are fewer drinkers in the world than I thought there were when I was still drinking. Not "everybody" drinks. Quite the opposite. I can have a lot of sober company. I don't get nagged to drink in the ah-come-on-just-the-one-who-is-counting-everybody-needs-to-relax kind of way. Never have been.
I have not outed myself completely. I tell people that I'm on the One-Year-No-Beer (includes wine and any other alcohol) challenge and that I'm loving it. The reactions I get to this have been 100% positive. Many of them with a hint of jealousy or admiration, e.g. "I don't think I could do this.", "A whole year, really?!", "Good on ya!" (this is New Zealand, after all!) People don't look down on me for not drinking. They don't pity me. Some even envy me. Imagine!
Social events are better now. I don't go out less than I did as a drinker. My drinking was mostly done home alone, anyway. But now I enjoy social gatherings much more. I don't have to plan anything to organise and hide my alcohol intake. Like, how much to pre-load, so I don't look greedy at the event, how much and how fast I can drink, whether I will make a fool of myself, realising that I've had too much but continuing to drink and starting to do embarrassing things. Not remembering much about the night before after waking up the next morning. That's all something that has been replaced by a calmness I never possessed before. I can now talk with people without trying to work out how soon I can slip away to refill my glass. I no longer check if anybody has registered how many times I already did go to refill. Because my refills now are all healthy.
Finding yummy alcohol-free drinks can be hard. Alcohol is in abundant supply and alcohol free drinks are often harder to get by at social functions, especially non-sweet, non-alcoholic drinks. Almost everything fizzy is also sweet, either with a boatload of sugar or with low calorie sweeteners -- but it is mainly sweet. I wish there were a more taste-neutral options. I don't like the "diet" or "zero" fizzies and juice is just too thick. Yuck. At home, I don't have that problem. The SodaStream machine gets a good workout. Spritz of lemon juice, dash of home-made ginger kombucha. Better than any G&T ever can be.
I had some help. I've had a few conversations with Jackie from Sober Sassy Life. She listened to me and made me feel understood, which helped me a lot in the early days. Just having someone to hash out how you feel, why you feel that way, what you can do, what you're afraid of, what you're proud of -- that made a big difference. I did not have someone like that in my every day community, but internet chats worked just fine for me. She gave me the boosts I needed to keep my rocket on course. Thank you, Jackie!
Blogging is useful. Writing about my experiences helped make the thoughts and feelings more real. Getting comments and encouragement from strangers and people I had read in other blogs is great. That encourages me to stick to my commitment and keep thinking positive.
I'm sober and I love it. Today is my sober Day 101.