I want to begin this piece by saying thank you to everyone who helped me get to this point. I wouldn’t be able to sit here typing this up without the help of my incredible support system. I’m hopeful that the progress I’ve made will show you just how grateful I am to have all of you in my life. I’m not taking your support for granted!
Sobriety is a unique word as it can come with an assortment of emotions. For this article I want to highlight the positives because while most people have negative reasons for putting down the bottle, the results of your decision can and should be nothing but positive. This is all about what happens when you take the plunge into the world of sobriety.
Your body will thank you
When I started this journey I knew I would have to change my hobbies, so I stopped going to the bars almost entirely and began finding myself in the gym more. Working out became the escape my mind needed. Instead of worrying about grabbing a beer after work, I focused my energy on meeting my fitness goals. Because my body wasn’t dealing with the added calories that after-work beers provided me, I was able to see results at a faster pace than ever before. In just over a month I had lost over 20 pounds and my body was working much more efficiently. I was sleeping better, I was sick less, and the headaches that haunted me vanished completely.
Your hobbies will change in a big way
Let’s face it, most of what we do as young adults is centered around drinking. Whether you’re watching a game, grabbing drinks with coworkers after work, or even meeting up for a first date, alcohol is probably going to be involved. I knew I wouldn’t be able to continue the same activities that had previously filled my time, so I began searching for some new ways to be active and social. The gym was the first change, but I still needed to find something to do with my newfound energy and empty schedule. I started reading and writing more, have gotten back into softball, volleyball, and Spikeball, and do my best to explore Colorado every chance I get. You’re going to have some serious FOMO, but as frustrating as that may be, the point of sobriety is to give yourself the attention you deserve in order to get your life on the path that you want it to be on. Once you find that for yourself, the rest of the chips will fall into place.
Your wallet will get fat
Drinking is expensive. People like to ask me how much I’m saving now that I don’t go to the bars every weekend and while that number is large, what they don’t consider are the beers after a stressful day at work, the case you take to softball with your coworkers, or the drinks you enjoy during date night. These things can add up quickly so removing them will have an immediate impact. Use your newfound cash to fund some healthy hobbies like camping, traveling, or getting a rescue puppy!
Drinking buddies vs. friends
This is the topic that people don’t like to talk about but I promise it ends well. Once you remove alcohol you find that many of the people you bar hopped with won’t be around as much as they were when you were drinking. Remember, this is not a bad thing! These people aren’t at fault for distancing themselves, it happens. The amazing thing about this is that the people who do stick around are the ones you know you can call your friends. I’m lucky to have people in my life that have not only stayed by my side through this experience, but have actively helped me beat temptation no matter the distance between us. These are the friends who wouldn’t let me buy them shots at their bachelor party, who invited me to a concert knowing there wouldn’t be alcohol around, and asked me to play volleyball on Friday nights instead of going to the bars. You know who you are and you know how thankful I am to have you by my side.
Your personality will change
This was the hardest part for me and I’m not going to lie, it was a bit scary. Alcohol was my mask. It turned me into someone who wanted to be the center of attention and gave me the comfort and confidence to talk to strangers in any setting. It was near the five month mark when reality hit me and I finally accepted that these things just weren’t me anymore. I’ve come to find that I have more fun escaping in an album than a bar crawl, and that my confidence comes from the gym and in my own accomplishments rather than a temporary mask provided by a drink. Finding out who you really are can be a scary ordeal, but it can also be an amazing experience as well. My life really began again when I separated myself from the person I thought I should be and became the person I wanted to be. Find the things you enjoy in life, take some chances, and stop worrying about the things you can’t control!
Starting a life of sobriety isn’t easy, but it was worth it for me. This is no small undertaking, you will run into some adversity and will want to give up, just remember what you’re doing this for and make sure to reward even the smallest of victories. If you want more information about my personal experiences or want to talk about some concerns that you have about cutting back or quitting altogether please feel free to reach out anytime and I’ll do my best to help. You’re never in this alone!