“When you quit drinking you stop waiting.” — Caroline Knapp
On December 8th, with a tequila hangover, I decided to put the bottle down for 30 days of sobriety. Which meant I was sober over Christmas. Which means I was sober over New Years Eve.
With 21 days of sobriety under my belt, this is the longest I’ve gone without alcohol since I drank my first wine cooler at 17 years old. That sentence alone is enough to shock me into clearing out my liquor cabinet.
I’m not claiming addiction, but my relationship with alcohol was not getting me any closer to the person I wanted to be. Hangovers made me lazy and complacent. I would put off work until the headache went away, and I would use my weekends as an emotional crutch to the frustration and stress I felt during the workweek.
I used alcohol to avoid dealing with difficult emotions. I used it as a crutch when I got stuck creatively. It was the thing I went to when the words or ideas stopped flowing, or when the real work of being an entrepreneur began. When I kicked off my 30 days, I wrote an article about unfollowing any alcohol-centric Instagram accounts (you can read the article here). I can say this has definitely helped me in being successful at staying sober this time around.
Being sober has been life changing, here’s 21 reasons why.
1. I’m getting quality sleep
2. I’m more aware of my body
3. I’m hydrated, and it shows
4. Speaking of energy. . .
5. My diet has improved
6. I’m saving money
7. I’ve realized people and moments are more important than the booze you pair it with
This is a funny one. Alcohol is joyous, right? Well. . .in my case, no. Yes, there are joyous occasions in which we celebrate with alcohol, but if you take the booze away, it’s still a celebration. I’ve had a hard time feeling nostalgic for moments I’ve celebrated or cemented with alcohol. Like popping that bottle of champagne on a snowmobile after saying ‘I-do’ to my husband the day we got married. But I’ve realized in being sober that I’m more grateful for the moment and the people I’m celebrating with than the alcohol I’m using to celebrate with. Being sober in joyous moments has made me more present, more attentive, gentler and more patient.
8. I have more time (and energy) to do things that bring me joy (not just a buzz)
When you don’t spend your nights at happy hour, or your weekend mornings catching a buzz at brunch, you have a lot more free time to cultivate new hobbies, or habits that bring you actual fulfillment and joy. Instead of chasing a buzz, I’m spending my time on personal growth, cultivating a healthy marriage, experiencing life, trying new things, and diving deeper into my creativity.
9. My shame around alcohol has disappeared
When I’d wake up with a hangover, my shame would pound just as hard as my head. I would lay in bed thinking “real entrepreneurs don’t wake up with hangovers all the time, they would never waste time like this.” It’s no secret that the most successful entrepreneurs capitalize on being peak performers. You can’t access peak states when you feel like shit or when your brain is foggy. I knew alcohol was keeping me from performing at my best, and so I developed a pretty intense shame around drinking. But, now that I’m not drinking, this shame has also disappeared.
10. Sobriety has convinced me I can do hard things
I’ve tried to ‘get sober,’ drink less, drink once a week, only have one drink per night, etc., for the last couple of years. I chased my tail for a long time and would slip easily off the wagon at the first whiff of a party or glass of Malbec. My constant failure made me believe that I was in fact a failure. It’s what Benjamin Hardy calls self-signaling. Through my behavior of constantly failing at a seemingly simple task (not drinking alcohol), I was convincing myself that I was in fact a failure incapable of sticking to anything I set my mind to. Now that I’ve stuck to it, I’m rewriting my subconscious and convincing myself that I am in fact capable of doing hard things, of finishing what I start, of being successful. This effect is spilling over into other areas of my life as well, like in my writing career.
11. I’m learning to be me again
Alcohol does this funny thing where it lowers your inhibitions and makes us more confident in being or acting a certain way. When I stopped drinking, and went to my first party, I realized how awkward I felt, how boring and introverted I was sober. But in shedding this crutch, I’ve realized a lot of my life I’ve been living from a guarded and inauthentic place. I wasn’t letting the world see who I am, and I was stifling my personality because it felt too scary to be my vulnerable, messy, human self. Now that I’ve removed the alcohol crutch, I’m discovering who I am behind the wine and tequila. It’s difficult and incredible. It feels uncomfortable, but it’s the most sure I’ve ever felt.
12. I’m learning a lot of fun stuff
13. I’m learning to speak my truth
14. When I speak my truth, my relationships improve
15. I remember things now
Like the details, the small things that make up this beautiful life. Details like the constant hum of crickets, birds and geckos in the jungle. The small things, like the metronome tempo of the ocean breaking against the beach. All sorts of beautiful things that alcohol blends together into nothingness, those are the things I remember and live for, and I’m grateful to experience them every day.
16. I feel healthier
Alcohol is a toxin, as soon as you drink it, your body has to do the difficult work of cleansing your body of it. Which means while your body is busy flushing the toxins out, it’s not healing. Just knowing I haven’t put alcohol into my body makes me feel healthier, like I’m doing my beautiful body a huge favor.
17. Sobriety has put me ahead of the curve
18. My healthy lifestyle isn’t being immediately thrown in the trash by boozing
19. Sobriety has made me realize how distracted I was
20. Sobriety has proved to me that my identity isn’t fixed.
21. I wake up feeling great
The older I get, the worse my hangovers are. One glass of wine would give me a hangover, the shame-scaries, and make me sleepy by noon. Now I wake up at 5am with energy, purpose and a clear head. It’s the best way to start the day.
Take Action! Your writing career begins and ends with your lifestyle, environment and mindset. I created a free training, which distills my years of writing struggle, so you can create a life and environment that supports your writing dreams, without wasting years of your life.