Sober-ish Freedom Found
Updated: Nov 3, 2019
One of the most surprising aspects of the past year has been the realization that I am so much happier living my life about 95% without alcohol. It makes me feel so happy and free to live without hangovers. I call this sober-ish.
I used to pretty much drink my way through every weekend. Whether it was dinner or brunch or lunch or even the beach, most of my social activities revolved around drinking. It was lots of fun! What I remember, at least. But what wasn't fun was the hangovers and spending most of my days not feeling that great and getting up for work Monday literally feeling like I might die from the exhaustion. I would spend the week trying to get my body and mind back to a functioning state and then by Friday would feel great, only to start the whole cycle again.
I never thought I would change because I loved alcohol and drinking so much! It was fun and seemed to make everything just a bit brighter and better. And even though the hangovers were painful, I thought they were worth it. I still did great at my job even when I didn't feel my best. I guess I thought that this was normal and how everyone lived their life. I didn't even realize things could be different for me. I wasn't always happy and knew I wanted some things in my life to be different but I didn't really what or how to change.
Then my body forced me to give up alcohol. I had given it up in the past for short periods before. But those always had an end date and I planned them specifically around my social functions so I was sure a festival, concert or wedding didn't fall within one. In that way I was able to be sober for a short time but always with the intention of immediately getting back to my "real life". This time around, I had no idea how long I was going to need to cut it out, and having end dates that didn't materialize because my body wasn't healed yet, just felt frustrating. So I had to start looking at sobriety as something that will last for I'm not sure how long, maybe forever?! But I really think that the decision to put my body and well-being first, and saying that my health is more important than all the fun in the world was a first step to my healing.
Now, looking back over the past year I've gone to concerts, weddings, parties, brunches, countless dinners and celebrations and even flown in an airplane sober. All things that the old me would have found impossible.
And the interesting this is that I was able to do all of those things, and actually enjoy them sober. Waking up the next day with the energy to do whatever I want without the cloud of a hangover hanging over me has literally given me a newfound feeling of freedom that I never had before. I don't have to plan for not feeling that great the day after a fun event. I no longer feel like alcohol has any control over me, my life or my decisions. I literally feel so free! It feels so good, like the possibilities are endless and I will never go back to any other way of living.
I do drink occasionally now, but I do so with intention. I can enjoy a glass of wine, slowly over the course of a meal. I can have a drink at a concert and then sip on water the rest of the time, enjoying it all just as much had I been drunk. But I do get a little drunk from even one drink, and that's fun too. If I want to feel 100% though, I know even one drink will make me feel a bit tired the next day, so I just abstain.
One of the downsides to my semi-sobriety is that my friendships are changing. I've realized that most of the social activities in my life revolved around alcohol and with me not drinking I am often left out of the fun. I have some amazing friends who meet me where I am, but that circle is smaller and so unfortunately, I do have some friendships that are becoming more distant. This is not easy, as I love some of those people very much but I can't stop doing what I know is best for me.
And while I do miss those friendships and our fun times. I don't miss them enough to go back to those drunken nights. It might feel like you are getting closer to someone when you are drunk, spilling all your thoughts and emotions out. But that is a false sense of closeness because the next day no one remembers or they each remember differently. Without that alcohol haze everything just feels different and that vulnerability and connection are lost.
Real, heart felt conversations that are had sober are so much more fulfilling for me. Both people are in the same place, connecting from the heart rather than the ego. These kinds of conversations I’m finding so meaningful. It's the same with sex for me- drunk sex is awesome and fun, but sober sex with someone you are really into is just so much more deep and profound. :-)
I'm not sure exactly what the future holds, but I am glad to be where I am. I am grateful for my health crisis that forced me to make these changes because it brought me to this place. I enjoy a cocktail here and there, but 95% of the time I'm abstaining. It doesn't feel limiting at all for me, it just feels freeing to do what feels good and what my body wants me to do. I don't have to drink just because everyone else is. Wow, mind blown, and big life lesson learned. So, here I am sober-ish and reveling in this newfound freedom. Freedom is so fun.