Earlier this week I was a guest on the Sober Mom Life Podcast (episode forthcoming) which was definitely the last thing I expected to be on my 2023 bingo card. When I decided to take a break from alcohol last October, the thought of me continuing sobriety into February and beyond was not at all what I was expecting. And now I’m being interviewed for it? Wild!
One of the topics I brought up on the podcast was how I used to play these games with myself about my drinking. I didn’t realize how much they weighed on me until now so I wanted to share them with you.
I always knew that alcohol affected me different than a lot of my friends. Whenever I had more than one or two drinks, I would get stuffed up and heachach-y almost immediately. The exhaustion while drinking and the next morning was real, and once I started, I’d often find myself wanting more and more.
To combat this, I would set “rules” for myself like no drinking during the week which would turn to Sunday through Wednesday but then maybe an occasional Tuesday night when I was extra anxious. Then I’d feel guilt and shame for breaking my rule and not having enough self-control and start it all over again only to cycle this pattern over and over again.
I would also tell myself that I wouldn’t order a drink when out to dinner if I didn’t feel like it that night but then when my friends would all drink, I didn’t want to feel left out. Cue the shame spiral the next morning.
Another fun game I played was only drink for fun, not when stressed… until I would get extra stressed and “need” a drink. And then beat myself up for breaking yet another rule.
Every single time I woke up with a hangover, I’d swear that I would never have more than 2 drinks in a sitting again… ever. Until the next time when I inevitably did.
These games and rules took up so much more of my life than I knew until they stopped. Not having those shame spirals in my life feels better than any cocktail ever could.
By the way, when I write about this experience it’s not intended to be a soap box situation. I know that sober life definitely isn’t for everyone (and 100% was not for me until it was), but I hope that sharing my experience opens up the possibility for you if it’s something you’re thinking about or need.
I’ll share the podcast episode where I go deeper into this topic once it’s live!
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. Unsure why it’s listed at $1.45 for the hardcover on Amazon which seems like a mistake.
5. The Sober Lush by Jardine Libaire and Amanda Eyre Ward: 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 Program
– The Unexpected Joy of Being Sober (Catherine Gray)
If you are struggling with alcohol and need someone to talk to or help determining your next step, you can contact SAMHA’s National Helpline at: 1-800-662-HELP (4357).
Thank you for all you’ve been sharing on this topic! Your experience made me reevaluate my own, and while I don’t think being fully sober is for me, I have been using an app called Sunnyside to track drinks/set drink budgets, and it has taken out any guesswork for me – like all of the “rules” you were talking about, it’s replaced all of that, and I really enjoy the experience more. It’s the right thing for me, but probably not everyone, so I wanted to share in case someone might be into it.
One thing I wonder about, especially as a similarly-aged women: do you think part of the social pressure to drink sometimes is so people aren’t speculating about whether you’re pregnant? I know there have been moments when I had a drink just because I didn’t want to have a too-long conversation with someone nosy about not being pregnant.
Thanks so much for your work! Live following you!