Suddenly She's Sober
As I near my seventh month sober, I can’t really believe I have come this far already! The beginning was rough. It was like that time you gave up sugar and wanted to quit every single day. It was like that time you said no more spending money on random stuff and worked at the mall. It was hard.
Sobriety is nothing more than breaking a bad habit. For some there is a lot more to the story than that, and there can be physical withdrawals that do happen - but still at it’s core there is a bad habit that needs to be broken.
Holding a wine glass became my habit. It became one that I did not realize how much so, until I was trying to not use one. Changing your habits can be a huge leap out of your comfort zone! That vice can be a steady reliability that will always be there, even if everything else is falling apart.
Here are some of the top things I realized when I chose to put down the bottle and say yes to myself:
1. You are going to feel. A lot!
Depressed, angry, emotional, upset, empowered, pissed off, confident, annoyed and probably cranky.
The thing about alcohol is it has masked a whole lot of your feelings over the years. Think about every time you have picked up a drink over your lifetime. Most likely it was because of a celebration, or a breakup. Or maybe the relaxation you are looking for after a long day. Whatever the case may be for why you drank - know that alcohol tends to be the queen of numbing down your emotions. Once you remove your drink of choice you begin to feel it all! Every single last emotion.
This was something I think I expected but not to the extent that it happened. My anxiety and my frustrations at myself became louder especially in that first month. So many times I would mentally ask myself …
“Why can’t I just have one glass?”
“This is stupid, I don’t even have a real problem.”
“I just want to be normal. Why am I not normal?!”
The list goes on and on about what goes on mentally. Becoming more in tune with your emotions can be a big hurdle to get through and I highly recommend asking for some support through this time. This is where the support of a loved one, therapist, or group meeting can come in handy. Learning how to feel every emotion can be overwhelming and talking to someone who can relate or can at least attempt to will help get you through those first few weeks.
2. Friendships change.
As the drunken blur starts to fade away and the sober glow begins to show you may find yourself no longer relating to people who you have considered to be close friends. This personally was a slow transition for me but one that fully happened over a long period of time. My desire to cut back on drinking stemmed pretty far back - but the reality was that I was living a lifestyle that was always revolving around parties, BBQ’s, happy hours and not at all about real connections.
Alcohol tends to give you the “confidence boost” that you need to talk to others. As someone who is actually more introverted without alcohol - it made me the “life of the party” and the friends that came along with that title. Once your priorities shift and you begin to want to avoid happy hour and start waking up early to go for a hike - you may notice some people begin to fade. While this can be a hard thing to accept, it can be a wonderful sign that you are truly finding your own true self. Buzz free.
Loneliness and isolation can be a real part of addiction and sobriety. While I am not one to sit here and push AA, I will tell you that without support in some way this will be a difficult habit to break. A huge part of the social norm is planning your weekend around activities that include drinking. Find your sober tribe. Look into meetings. Get a therapist. Find online resources and groups. Ask for support - you will be surprised who is willing, and who is not.
Once you cut out the hours being spent around drinking you may notice that you have a whole lot of extra time on your hands! The thing we are always complaining about is now sitting at your lap and are you actually… bored? That’s a new feeling!
If you are someone that came home from work and made dinner with a glass of wine, went to happy hour after work, or spent your weekends on brewery tours - you may begin to realize there are hours upon hours now in your life that you have no idea what to do with! I see this as nothing but a positive thing, but it can be a real hard adjustment to make as your are transitioning into a sober lifestyle.
Find hobbies, read books, do all the things on your bucket list! Time is something we never seem to have enough of in this life - so don’t let this get you down for long! Start a blog, start that business, clean out that garage - do whatever it is that you always said you would before you had the extra hours handed to you!
4. Holy Identity Crisis!
This one was a big deal for me. And now even almost seven months sober I still struggle sometimes with my new identity.
If you have been walking around for the past decade being the “party girl” or “life of the party" and now you are no longer relating to your circle of friends, you are feeling every single emotion and you are waking up headache free with energy - no wonder you are asking yourself - who the heck am I?
Each person has there own journey with alcohol and how much it defined your personality but when you decide to start telling others you no longer drink - there are going to be questions. It may make you feel uncomfortable, or embarrassed - just begin to own your new story! If you aren’t comfortable talking about it yet, simply drop the conversation. Set an internal boundary with yourself that you will talk about your journey when you are ready. Not when your buzzed friend decides to ask you why you would do such a thing.
Sobriety tends to bring up the things that we have buried deep down. It tends to bring things to the surface that you may have thought you had gotten over. Insecurity may become part of this new phase and doubt in yourself may appear over and over again. Getting into personal development in this phase of your sobriety can be a great help. Look into authors and leaders that you can idolize. Search for relatable sober women on Instagram and follow their journey.
Try new things that you may have never done before because “you don’t go camping.” A few years ago those words came out of my mouth and let me tell you while camping is still not my favorite - hiking has become one of the most grounding, self reflecting practices in my journey. And my old identity screams back at me sometimes - hiking? Really?
Allow yourself to have a new identity. Allow yourself to break down the things you thought you were. Allow yourself to be open to the new you. Tune into what sets your soul on fire and what you can let float away.
5. You will learn to love your body more.
Once you get rid of the poisoning liver agent and replace it with fresh water, it is inevitable that you are going to have a natural glow! Exciting right?! Alcohol can play a huge role in so many health related problems such as dry skin, hormonal imbalances, and the lovely extra belly fat. Now that you are replacing all of your wine glasses with water bottles it can be amazing to feel the difference in yourself!
This took me at least the first month or two to really notice a shift, but then my skin became less red. My eyes less bloodshot. No morning headaches and a whole heck of a lot more energy! Slowly the pounds began to fade away, and more love for the skin I am in appeared.
There is more of a respect for what you put in your body that I believe naturally occurs. You start to realize how amazing you can actually feel when you start to fuel it with the right nutrients. You may notice more of a sugar craving in the beginning, I did not worry too much about it and let it naturally run it’s course. Since we can now feel everything why not feel healthy, vibrant, glowing and strong too!
While these may be the things that really stuck out to me there are plenty more that may come along for the ride of sobriety. Some may struggle more than I experienced, some may have a much easier transition. It really is all a personal journey and one that only you will be able to truly navigate.
The biggest thing that you can do is just DECIDE. Decide that it is time to give up the bad habit, the vice, the crappy hangovers and the regretful mornings. Imagine a life where that no longer happened? Growth is not easy, fun or enjoyable at times. But the only way to get there is through the uncomfortable choice to just go for it.
While these months have had their trying times, moments of frustration, anger, sadness and total breakdowns - it is truly all worth it. Every morning I am grateful that I decided enough was enough for me. You can decide it also. In the end it is your choice.
Looking for some more helpful resources? Considering giving up alcohol but don't know where to begin?
Check out SMART recovery online.
Connect with me on Instagram for more inspired content.
Ask yourself the question - is alcohol making me the best version of myself?
With love, light and positive vibes,