I’ve always liked to drink. My family served wine with holiday celebrations, I used to write for a beer magazine, sharing whiskey with friends was an experience. But, I’m officially closer to my 30’s now and in recent years I’ve felt myself slowing down a bit. I noticed that I used colorful cocktails and hoppy brews as a crutch for when I wasn’t feeling my best.
This observation became fully formed this summer when I unexpectedly lost one of my closest friends. In the wake of my grief I noticed how easy it would be to lean heavily on alcohol as a coping mechanism. After giving that some thought, I decided to stop drinking.
I didn’t put a goal on it, or say “I’m never touching alcohol again”. There wasn’t even a, “I’ll avoid booze for a month”. I just decided to test myself and cut drinking out of my life, for an undetermined amount of time and see how I felt.
Here’s what I learned by cutting drinking out of my life:
Waking Up In The Morning Doesn’t Suck As Much
I’ll admit, I’ve never really been much of a morning person. Like ever. I had always had the tendency to hear my alarm, roll out of bed, lazily get dressed, and run out the door. Since I quit drinking, the mornings aren’t nearly as treacherous as I thought they were! Waking up is easier, it feels refreshing. My body feels rested and refreshed, but when I was drinking more regularly I would wake up feeling groggy and desperate for an IV of black coffee. Being able to wake up with a better mindset has helped to make my days go more smoothly and I have more energy than I thought possible.
Stronger Yoga Practice
Once I stopped drinking I felt a shift in my yoga practice. I have more focus. Part of it is because I’m more rested. Another part is that my body is being nourished and not just filled with sugary or heavy drinks. I feel as though I’m able to partake in more challenging flows and execute poses that I never thought I could do. My body feels leaner and stronger, as a result. My body being physically healthier has led to more self love and a higher appreciation for what my body can do.
Improved Mental Health
I’m a big advocate for taking your mental health seriously and addressing things in your life that can help you to feel better. When I stopped drinking, I was finally able to take a good, hard look at myself and come to terms with some of my mental disorders. It’s something I’ll always be working on, but since starting my road to sobriety, I’ve been able to gain a better perspective and understanding of myself. A better understanding of how I operate and what makes me feel the best I can feel. It’s been an enlightening and helpful experience that I feel so grateful for.
Focus Through The Roof
If you’re a procrastinator, maybe you’ll relate to this. Once sober, I have had more focus than ever before. I wake up ready to tackle projects. My house is spotless. My email is up to date. I’m taking on more projects at work, jumping back into freelance writing because I enjoy it, and I’m working on drafting and editing my second novel. These are all things I WANTED to do when I was drinking regularly, but could never find the motivation or the energy or the inspiration.
I’m Just As Boring Sober As I Am Drunk
This is my favorite realization since being sober. When I decided to quit drinking, my significant other was, of course, supportive. However, a lot of our friends only hang out when they meet up at a brewery to grab a pint or swing by their favorite restaurant to bug the bartenders who have become our friends and get discounted canned beer. When I thought about that I wondered, “Well, how am I going to maintain these relationships when my friends meet up for drinks? What do I do with my hands? Will I seem weird?”
The short answer is no. No to all of it. When I go out now, it’s still really fun. It’s almost more fun actually, because I snicker to myself while my friends sink into their lazy chatter. I get to drive them home, make sure they’re safe at the end of the night. I get to Snapchat them pictures of me at 9 AM on Saturday morning being productive while they are nursing gnarly hangovers. It’s been a really great lesson and insight to my personality too. I’m just as exciting/boring sober as I am drunk. Either way, I’m asleep by 11 PM. People watching is more fun for me than talking anyway.
I hope that my insight about sobriety has been interesting or helpful for some people. I have met a lot of people in my approximately 150 days sober that say “Man I wish I could do that!”. And, I mean, you can. It’s not too hard. Getting through some of the first social events is the worst but all in all, I’ve felt some tremendously positive benefits from cutting alcohol out of my life. Will my sobriety last forever? I don’t know. But it’s good for me, right now and I like that! I like to like myself and I’ve learned to care for myself in new ways. Let me know if you have any questions! I’m always happy to discuss.