Why Did I Become Sober at 33?
Sober Curious is a movement that involves becoming more aware of your relationship with drinking . I decided to join in at 33. Here's what my 100 days looked like.
I never questioned my alcohol consumption. Why would I? I am 33, I have an active lifestyle, I eat healthy (yes, I like kale and quinoa!), and I like to have a few drinks on occasion. I mainly drink at social events such as friend and family gatherings or parties. Well...to be honest, any occasion that strays away from my daily routine is an excellent excuse to drink.
I try to drink moderately; maybe two or three a week? Of course, there are nights when my drinking can get a bit out of control, but those times are few and far between. The reality is I very much enjoy drinking socially. I am more talkative, spontaneous, and confident, with a few in me. I can get out of my head and relax. I fondly remember deep conversations and connections I’ve had and many fun and adventurous drunken nights.
A friend challenged me to join him in a Dry January. Those who know me know that I’m not one to back down from a challenge.
Luckily for me, January is usually a time when people are socially drained out of all the gatherings from the holidays – there is usually not much to miss out on, or in other words, I didn't have to deal with FOMO much!
January passed, and I realized that I had not felt this good in a while. I knew giving up alcohol meant no hangovers, thus better sleep and ultimately more energy. So I expected to feel physically better, but it was more than that. I felt clarity and reinvigoration almost immediately - energized, productive and emotional stability. Overall, I was in a better mental and physical space.
Why stop now? I’m doing a Dry February!
As many of the covid restrictions were lifted, and things started to go back to normal, my challenge got harder. The first nights outs with my friends who were drinking and I was the only one sober were the hardest. I felt like I was not fully living in the moment and that I couldn’t bond as strongly with them because we were in different headspaces. The thought of upcoming social events made me nervous, which was concerning to me. This forced me to question myself. Do I need alcohol to have fun? Can I make as many connections? How will my friends react? Will I be able to say no?
By nature, I am an extrovert who thrives and recharges by being around others. I needed to figure out how to feel confident going out because I decided my new lifestyle couldn’t and wouldn’t impact my social life. I needed help, so I reached out to a friend who’s been sober for a few years, read, and listened to podcasts. As a result, I felt more secure, and the anxiety that I felt turned back into excitement about seeing loved ones.
I'm up for Dry March!
After two months of non-drinking, I could already notice all the positive changes in many aspects of my life.I had to relearn how to spend time with the people I love because the dynamics changed. I made new friends, some of my past relationships got stronger, and there were fewer distractions and less chaos. As a result, my conversations were more profound, and my bonds stronger. I was feeling more present and more centred.
At work, I felt more productive and more efficient. I had more energy than I ever had, and I achieved things I didn’t think I could. I became more confident in my interactions. My relationships with my colleagues were better. My memory improved, and my creativity was at its peak.
Most importantly, I was pushing myself to step out of my comfort zone. I had to reimagine my relationship with alcohol. I got to know myself better. I felt happier.
2022 is the year I will be sober.
At first, I wasn’t a fan of the term Sober - I found it intimidating. To me, it was a loaded word. It meant I was recovering from something, and I didn’t know how I fit into that. Also, I didn’t want the pressure of closing myself off to drinking- that was not my initial plan. During the past few months, I realized that what matter to me the most was my intentions. Am I drinking and to appreciate the craft, the love and the passion that has been put into making this product alive or am I drinking to act as a social lubricant to numb pain and emotions that I don’t want to face?
I decided to redefine the word sober for myself and my journey. For me, sober means that I have no intention of feeling the effects of alcohol. In other words, if I choose to drink, which seldom happens, I am not searching to get tipsy or drunk. One glass is enough for me, and I will appreciate every sip of it.
4 months done - 8 more to go!
Here we are, May 1st. I write this while enjoying a glass of non-alcoholic prosecco on a patio with my wife and my dog. It makes me think about the upcoming festival BBQs, outdoor events and festivals and to be honest, I’m nervous. However, when I think about how far I have come, I know that I’ll be able to go through it. I keep reminding myself that I choose a lifestyle best suited to what I want and that, in the long run, will make me happiest instead of momentary pleasure. I know I am on the right path to a more meaningful and well-balanced life, and I’m excited for the next sober months to come.
To be continued...