Health & Wellness

The Benefits of Being Sober Curious

August 15, 2022

Serenity Here
I devour health and wellness information, and love to share everything that works in my life, so you can use the same self care and lessons in yours!
TOp categories

My 6 month alcohol free journey 

It’s the end of summer, beginning of Fall 2021. I just finished reading a book – Alcohol Explained by William Porter. I picked it up to help with my Self-Care health program I continue to put together, but it motivates me to take a serious look at my own alcohol patterns. Something I’ve done before, but this time, I understand much more in depth the damage that continuing to drink is creating. And even better, why I choose to continue to consume it, knowing there really isn’t any great health benefit. 

I decided that I’d stop drinking. 

I’m going to significantly cut back, limit alcohol to social events only and make sure there isn’t anything to drink in the house, because you know, out of sight out of mind – right! 

I sustain this for a couple of months. It’s hard but I’m feeling pretty good about it. I go out with my guy for date night. It’s a gorgeous night, the air is thin, the sun is out, it fills me up. We have dinner and order a bottle of wine. We’re having a great time so we pop over to a little pub and have more drinks there. 

I’m thinking this is fine, it seems like the alcohol isn’t hitting me too hard, but I fail to realize that I haven’t drank that much for quite some time. I later learned that we don’t always feel the effects right away, it takes time to catch up. 

We pop over to another pub, and I still think I’m pacing okay, but I suddenly start to feel fuzzy. Something is said in the conversation and it goes from light and loving, to a burning inside me. I get up, and start spewing from my mouth what feels and sounds like a nasty mixture of hate and fear. 

I’m immediately taken back to memories of 2 plus decades before, and start mixing those feelings with present hurt. I’m walking and yelling, and overwhelmed with emotion. This goes on for probably at least 30 minutes, before I start to gain some grounding back from a bystander. 

The next day I realized that my alcohol tolerance changed significantly and something triggered me. A very real, defining moment. I try to separate myself from whoever that person was that appeared the night before. It was like someone else took over my body. Of course, I now realize how much alcohol changes the structure of our brain when we drink. It’s why we feel more relaxed, free, talkative. 

Parts of our brain are shutting down, for lack of better words. That wasn’t me, not the whole of me. Things started to shift more for me after that. I made sure if I was drinking in public settings, it was less, or drinks lower in alcohol. I figured I could control the alcohol, and keep at a pace that it would never take control of me like that again.

But the reality is that we don’t control alcohol. It controls us. 

It creeps in wearing a disguise, of whatever you need it to look like, and it stays that way, fooling you. Pretending to be there for you, like it cares. No one is born an alcoholic and anyone can be one. Once I realized I could be on a journey to that destination, it was a huge wake up call, but a terrifying one. 

I have a family history of alcoholism and addiction, so it’s always something that I have paid close attention to. Questioning  how much is too much and at what point do you cross the line. Like so many of us, I have trauma strung throughout my childhood, and into adulthood. I’m now fully aware that of everything available, alcohol is my top pick for numbing. I realized about six years ago that there’s so much that I need to work through, that I need to release, which is how I landed here – 6 months free of alcohol. 

Not because I’m an alcoholic, but because I don’t want to be one. 

I know that in order for me to be fully present for life in the most beautiful, brutal way, I have to do it fully, and whole. Alcohol gave me nothing, but took so much. 

When alcohol became more easily available to me at 21, I’d experienced significant acute and chronic trauma by that point. It seemed to detach me from it all. 20 years later it seemed like the only thing that could relax me, and when triggers or stress would rise, it was always there for me. 

I went about 3 times, when pregnant and then nursing after my kiddos were born, that I sustained from alcohol completely. I nursed all three for up to a year, so pumped and dumped when needed, but eventually worked my way back into using it to “deal” with life. Then I would cleanse once a year, and go a month with no alcohol. 

It always seemed to be some reassurance to me, that if I could go that long, then surely I didn’t have to worry about becoming an alcoholic. 

About a decade ago I picked up Allen Carr’s book: The Easy Way to Stop Smoking. I wasn’t a smoker at the time, but wanted to support people in my life from continuing to smoke. I read the book and then gifted it to others. I felt certain that it would have a profound effect on them. Recently, I ran across The Easy Way to Control Alcohol, and decided to give it a whirl in educating myself further about alcohol. 

I’ve not had a drink since finishing it. The first couple of weeks were easy. I felt good, motivated, and strong. Then there’s all the first’s. When I think about that it reminds me of when someone loses a loved one. I remember someone saying it’s the first Christmas, the first Birthday, etc. that are the most difficult, and then it gets easier. Not easy, but easier. I’ve been able to relate to that with drinking. 

I’ve noticed how ingrained it is into our culture as acceptable, and the norm. 

And not even occasionally, but all the time. Recently watching shows on tv in those first couple months, I couldn’t help noticing that everyone had a drink in their hand, all the time. At get togethers, dinner with the family, lunch with friends. It didn’t matter what I was watching, there was alcohol, ALL THE TIME!

I’ve had my first wedding reception, vacation, social event, date night, holiday, etc. alcohol free and it was really f*ing hard. I scoured resources of others sober and curious to get confirmation about how hard it is, often met with hearing that it’s not been that hard, so I wanted to put it out there, that for me it’s been hard. I don’t crave it, but it became such a part of life with every event, that it started to feel like something was missing. 

The good news is that on about month 5, it started being less hard. Maybe it’s something about getting through the summer. Or even that I realize that my body is starting to release what seems like more of its own feel good chemicals that I am fully enjoying, and present for. That I’m drinking in sleep like I’m a teenager, and waking up every morning feeling refreshed. My memory and ability to retain information is getting stronger too, which has been an added bonus!

I’ve made some other big changes over the last 6 months too, leaving my career of 15 years, and making my side hustle my main hustle. It’s hard to pinpoint joy directly to sober curiosity, but between the two: doing what I love and not relying on alcohol for anything (numbing, stress relief, fun) I feel the most joy this year, than I have my entire life. I feel everything, and when the feels come, I sit with them. 

When it’s hard, I still think about grabbing a glass of wine, but less and less does that even pop in my head. 

I’m enjoying my Kava tea every day, and paying attention to self-care and what I need to take care of me in a healthy way. I feel like I am starting to completely love myself, knowing that putting poison into my body is the furthest thing from loving. And, in the moments I might think that’s a good idea, I remind myself: it gave me nothing, but took so much.

+ show Comments