This week it has been six months since I started my experiment in sobriety. It has been a weird but positive journey that has changed my life for the better in more ways than I expected. I’ve stopped playing drinking games, and I wake up without a headache every day. My sleep has improved, the purple bags under my eyes are gone, my anxiety is better, I’ve been able to take on a lot more with work, and I feel healthier and more alive than ever.
At first, I felt weird telling people about this new way of life but now it’s second nature. One of the biggest lessons I’ve learned is that no one cares if you drink or not at the end of the day. And if they do care and try to pressure you, maybe they’re not the right people for you to be spending time with. I talked about this a lot on The Sober Mom Life podcast I recorded a few months ago. Definitely give it a listen if you’re sober curious!
I stopped drinking 6 months ago because my relationship with alcohol was no longer serving me. It was causing unnecessary anxiety and I felt like garbage. I didn’t hit a rock bottom by any means but I wanted to nip it in the bud to become a better mom, wife, friend, daughter, and person in general. Sharing my story and experiences is in no way me trying to pressure anyone else to do the same.
1. What advice would you give yourself on day one 6 months ago? Don’t count the days. I’ve had drinks here and there and beat myself up about it for ending a “streak” for a while but have learned to just accept that I’m human, not a robot. What I’ve learned from these one-off drinks is that they always solidify my decision. But it’s pretty cool to be able to say that I can count the number of drinks I’ve had in 6 months on two hands!
2. What has surprised you most about your sobriety journey? Probably the fact that it has become second nature to me so quickly. I thought it was going to be really hard but my body and mind were ready for it.
3. Is Anel doing it with you? This came up a lot. He’s not! Anel isn’t a big drinker but once in a while he’ll open a bottle of wine and when we go out to dinner he almost always orders a drink. He’s definitely drinking less, though, because I would open bottles of wine regularly during the week and he would join me because it was there.
4. Do you think it’s a forever change or one day at a time? I honestly have no idea. I’m taking it one day at a time, but at this point can’t imagine going back to the way I was before.
5. Do you ever feel like having a “big night” just to see if it’s still fun? Definitely not! The thought of a hangover is now terrifying to me. That said, when we have big get-togethers with friends, sometimes I’ll take a “special” gummy and have just as much fun and wake up with no hangover. I probably do this once every month or two.
6. Have you seen a difference in your body? I thought for sure I would lose weight with less calories but in ditching the booze, I’ve gotten a mean sweet tooth! I’m working on getting that under control but body-wise I’m about the same as before or maybe gained a few pounds even. I do think my face looks different. My skin is clearer and my under eye skin looks tighter and brighter.
7. Will you have a drink again and not be upset about it? I hope so! I still beat myself up when I stress drink which, luckily, has only been a handful of times. On my dad’s birthday I had one drink in Punta Cana and it was a really fun night so that was the first time I had one and didn’t feel badly about it. That said, my sleep suffered and I didn’t feel great in the morning!
8. What do you do when you go out with friends who drink? Separate check? I am not a nickel and dimer so I prefer to just split it but usually my friends suggest that they pay tip and I just skip it and that works out really well.
9. Do you find yourself declining invitations to things since you’re sober now? No but I do find myself going home earlier which isn’t terrible.
10. What is the best way to support someone new to sobriety? I think it depends on their situation. I don’t care if someone drinks around me but I know people who suffer from alcoholism that have a very hard time with being around it, especially at the beginning. No matter what the situation is, ask them about their decision and try to understand why they’re doing it. And please don’t pressure them to have a drink! Ask them how you can support them instead.
One thing Anel does that is really helpful is when I get stressed or anxious and tell him I want a drink he will say let’s go through your list first and I try my CBD, going for a walk, stepping away, etc. Every single time it helps and I end up not wanting that drink after 30 minutes.
More Sober Curious Resources
1. What Alcohol Does To Your Body (Podcast): I highly recommend listening to the Huberman Lab podcast episode. It’s long (almost 2 hours) but worth it. I learned a lot about the physical and mental effects of alcohol both short and long-term.
2. Sober Curious by Ruby Warrington: I haven’t read this yet (I plan to), but it was recommended by multiple IG followers. According to them, it’s a non judgmental, positive book about sobriety in a drinking culture
3. Quit Like a Woman by Holly Whitaker: If you watched And Just Like That, you have heard this title before. Miranda drunk buys it on Amazon then blacks it out.
4. Open Book by Jessica Simpson: Hear me out on this one. I read this memoire last year and was surprised at how much I loved it. Part of her story is getting sober.
5. The Sober Lush by Jardine Libaire and Amanda Eyre Ward: I ordered this book but haven’t read it yet although I’m excited to get started. The follower who sent it to me gave this review- “This was good to read because it focuses on fun, fancy alternatives to drinking which I needed and it frames sobriety as a badass choice rather than a buzz kill. Not sure many people have the budget for their particular brand of sobriety but it’s helpful in getting you to hone in on what you truly love about life in situations where alcohol may have normally been your default but didn’t need to be because fun things are fun without it.”
Even More Resources
– This Naked Mind (Annie Grace)
– Easy Way For Women to Stop Drinking (Allen Carr)
– The Unexpected Joy of Being Sober (Catherine Gray)
– Nothing Good Can Come From This (Kristi Coulter)
– A Happier Hour (Rebecca Weller)
– Quit Like A Woman (Holly Whitaker)
– The Sober Diaries (Clare Pooley)
– Unwasted: My Lush Sobriety (Sacha Zimmerman Scoblic)
– Dry (Augusten Burroughs)
– Blackout: Remembering the Things I Drank to Forget (Sarah Hepola)
Photo by Julia Dags.