What started as Sober January has lasted for months and today, Monday April 10th, 2017 marks 100 days sober.
(*Please scroll to the bottom of the page for a clarifying footnote on the subject of 100 days sober*)
Why did I stop drinking?
I have never been a big drinker, but over the years, my job and lifestyle brought wine, beer and scotch into my daily life in a way I never imagined or planned. It comforted me in times of grief, buoyed me in times of celebration, settled me in times of stress, and became a ritual when cooking dinner at home.
Over time my body started sending messages to my brain that drinking – even the little I did – wasn’t for me. I didn’t excel as a drinker. I wasn’t a happy drinker (beyond maybe the first hour into a beer.) Drinking didn’t improve my sleep, or help me meet my fitness goals, or help me overcome seasonal depression. I certainly didn’t perform at peak ability the day or days after a night of drinking and since most drinking happens late at night, it correlated directly to bad food decisions, weight gain, destructive thinking, shitty sleeping and anxiety.
So I stopped on January 1st,and just kept on quitting. And for the first winter since I was fifteen I didn’t experience a terrible bout of Seasonal Affective Disorder. I kept my head above water, I learned to cope with difficulty without a drink in my hand, and I continue to socialize and reach out to friends and strangers, despite my tendency toward withdrawal and introvert behaviour.
Below, a photo of me enjoying a cup of strong, black coffee – my favourite drink of the day.
This is working for me so I’m going to keep doing it, at least for 2017, probably longer. I do it with the support of my husband, family and friends, I do it because I like discovering what I’m capable of, and I will keep doing it to make sure I develop more coping skills AND celebration habits that aren’t related to food and drink.
Final Thoughts and Frequently Asked Questions
1) Just because I don’t drink doesn’t mean I think you shouldn’t drink. I do this for me, and I say it out loud and write about it to normalize the group of people who choose sobriety who are tired of being ostracized as tee-totalling-no-fun-Squares.
2) I am still fun. As fun as I’ve ever been (fill in the blanks as you feel necessary as to my level of fun-ivity.)
3) I would still like to be invited to your evening parties and I promise I won’t make your guests uncomfortable with judgmental non-drinking eyes.
4) Though I may not be up for a night of drinking, I am obsessed with hiking, traveling, coffee dates, connecting via Skype dates if you live far from me, biking, running, writing, playing music together, going to shows, festivals, drinking fizzy water.
5) I am not pregnant and not trying to get pregnant. This question is so ballsy and blunt I can’t believe people still ask. Still, my answer is there.
6) I do not feel deprived of anything having cut out wine, spirits and beer. I am happy, I am fine, I celebrate anyway, with fried eggs, cups of coffee, buying nice flowers for myself and going on trips (I am going to Morocco in two weeks) I am full.
7) I have other vices and I’ll write about those at another time.
As always, thanks for reading to the bottom of the page.
I’d love to hear from you, on this subject, or anything, really.
*Note To Reader: I think that by declaring in the title that I’m 100 Days Sober has misled many people into thinking I was drunk all the time before January 1st. To clarify: I have never been a big drinker. Even when casually and habitually drinking, I didn’t drink to get drunk. This is one of many experiments I am trying to figure out how best my body and brain function. Since I removed alcohol from the equation, the results have proven I operate better without even a drop in my body.*