Sober-Curious? Lose the Booze, Let Go, & Love Yourself.

She was a good friend for a long time. She gave me confidence. She encouraged me to dance. She helped me cope with loss and to celebrate success. She was comfortable in lonely times. She was always there for me. Until she wasn’t. Eventually, she brought me shame and anxiety; guilt and regret. She seemed to be friends with everyone and she was everywhere. She’s still everywhere. And I miss her. And I don’t.

I said goodbye to alcohol on January 4th, 2020. It was only meant to be for 90 days. I just needed a detox. I didn’t have a problem. I don’t have a problem. An alcoholic is a nasty word. I am NOT an alcoholic. Or maybe I am. Maybe a lot of us are.

I was a binge drinker. A sometimes-every-night drinker. I was a social drinker. I drank to celebrate. I drank to commiserate. I drank to grieve. I drank as a reward. I counted calories for years. I NEVER ate dessert. I took many “breaks” from alcohol to show that I could. I made all the rules; never during the week (unless there was a birthday…or work event…or fill-in any social obligations); only three glasses of wine max; a glass of water with each drink; never on a school night; Bla, Bla, Bullshit.

I’ve heard it all. “You weren’t that bad”, “Did you hit rock bottom?”, “What Happened?” All with good intentions; all with hidden agendas. What they’re really asking is “am I as bad as you were…are you judging me…should I stop?”

Yes, I said goodbye to alcohol. No, it wasn’t easy. Yes, I sometimes grieve my previous life. Yes, sometimes I wish I could just have one. But it’s not worth it. So instead of thinking about why I stopped, I think of what I started.

I started living my best, truest life. I worked on the root of my anxiety. I sorted out my finances for the first time in my adult life. I released shame. I started (and finished) my master's. I ate desserts….all the desserts. I became more patient. I listened more. I started saying no.

Most importantly; I started loving myself. Like actually, truly, loving myself. I focused on the good qualities I bring to the world and the ways in which I make a difference. My goal in life is no longer to be happy but to be happy with myself. Staying sober gives me that grace.

Saying goodbye to my old life was not easy. The first weeks absolutely blew. I was tired and avoided social interactions. I was emotional. I couldn’t imagine a full life without a drink. And I guess that really says it all.

Life was unequivocally rough the past year. Between living alone on the other side of the world during a pandemic to attending virtual funerals and finding different ways of processing death; grieving the loss of alcohol allowed me to find moments of peace. Amidst the grief and anxiety of living abroad during a pandemic, I found more joy in the little things and more pride in myself than I’ve felt since I was a little girl.

When I drank, I robbed myself of self-love. I convinced myself I was more fun with it, but in my heart, I knew I was masking some deep insecurities.

I am enough; every day. I am strong, I am capable. I am imperfect. I do hard things. I am flawed. I am consistent. And I am enough; just me. Sobriety does not grant me a perfect life, but it allows me to take care of the things that I can control and to ease the burden of those that I cannot.

From being sober-curious to starting a 90-day challenge to committing myself to a lifetime sans booze, I have opened up the door to living an authentic life. I do not drink because I love myself; today and every day. How can you love yourself today?

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