My Sober Journey - 1 Year Later
January 17th, 2022 is a date I will always remember. More than a year of Sobriety. What started as a Dry January challenge is now my chosen lifestyle. I now consider myself as being a Mindful Drinker. I never thought my journey would turn out this way. But I am very happy and proud of that decision.
I’ve gotten used to hearing: Why Simon? Were you an alcoholic? Nope. Isn’t it Boring? It’s not. Don’t you miss drinking? Not really. Why can’t you have one drink? I could, but I’m good – thanks.
The first month was the easiest. As someone who thrives on a good challenge, I was excited and determined to begin and I surfed on that emotion and enthusiasm until the end of January. I experienced so many benefits from giving up on alcohol before that I believed it was worth continuing this path. My life was more fulfilling, rewarding, and authentic than ever and it pushed myself to grow in new ways. So, then came the real test; transitioning from a one Dry month to a lifestyle without alcohol.
Celebrating my 1 year anniversary with baby Ross
What really hit home and pushed me to continue on this journey was I felt all these positive changes, but I never considered my relationship to alcohol. Consequently, the most difficult and painful part of my sobriety was the introspection. I had to have this internal conversation with myself and find the answers to my questions: Why am I drinking? Am I drinking to socialize with friends and lift the experience? Am I drinking to cope with stress or negative emotions? Am I drinking because I feel pressured to do so? Am I able to control my drinking and stop when I’ve had enough? Do I regret some of the choices I’ve made while drinking? Are there other ways I could achieve the same benefits of drinking, without consuming alcohol?
Finding answers to all these questions was a very challenging and uncomfortable experience. I had to confront aspects of myself that I didn’t like or felt ashamed of. It was painful. I had to seek support from my close friends and family who offered their perspective and guidance to navigate through this process. With their help I gained a better understanding of myself and my behaviors.
Another aspect of sobriety that I didn’t expect is the reaction from certain people. Don’t get me wrong, most of my friends and family are really supportive. But, there are definitely some instances where I feel pressured or am teased for my choice. It seems like people are being confronted with their relationship with alcohol and that makes them uncomfortable.
So, If you are navigating with the idea of quitting drinking I’d like to share a few tips, that helped me go through a mindful drinking journey.
1) Set a Smart Goal. You don’t have to quit drinking totally. For example, you could start decreasing your alcohol consumption from 7 drinks/week to 3/drinks a week or decide to stop drinking on weekdays. You have to set a realistic goal that is challenging enough to be meaningful and motivating, but not so difficult that it becomes overwhelming or demotivating. You should reward yourself with something that is meaningful and enjoyable when you achieve small milestones.
2) Find your Why. It is crucial to have a strong and clear sense of your why: the purpose behind your goal and write it somewhere. You will be tempted and confronted along the way and it will be easy to lose sight of your why. By keeping your why at the forefront of your mind, you will stay connected to your purpose and continue feeling focused and inspired to work towards your goal.
3) Do not Compare Yourself. Everyone’s journey is different and comparing yourself to someone else can be a slippery slope that can lead to negative feelings and be counterproductive. Instead, embrace your own unique path and stay focused on your journey.
4) Keep your social life. Do.Not.Isolate.Yourself. Maintaining your socializing habits and friendships are key. Your social circle can encourage and support you through this journey and provide opportunities of having fun to relieve stress and enjoy life more fully. When going out, be ready to be confronted and questioned. To prevent a lot of non-solicited conversation, I would always hold a drink (non-alcoholic of course!) in my hand and prepare an auto-answer for people that I didn’t know/want to share my journey with: I can’t drink, I am on medication. Choose your battle they say!
5) Find a Community. Find a Sober community to join. There are plenty of Sober Instagram Influencers* and Facebook Groups* where you can meet incredibly genuine, humble, and non-judgmental people. Listening to podcasts can also be very beneficial and helped me through my first 6 months of sobriety.
I’m often asked if I will ever drink again in the future? If I’m being honest, I don’t know. I don’t want to have to answer this question and add that weight to my shoulders. I feel content with my current lifestyle and have found a way of life that works well for me. However, I keep in mind that circumstances can change over time and will do what feels right and comfortable when the time comes.
Cutting back on alcohol doesn’t have to mean becoming fully sober. Your relationship with alcohol is your own. You can try it for a week, for a month, for a year, you can choose whatever works for you and feel good. Why not just try!
Would love to connect and hear about your stories! Feel free to reach out to me at email@example.com.
*My favorite Facebook & IG accounts
- Instagram: @donewithdebauchery @happiestsober@somegoodcleanfun @thezeroproofclub
- Facebook: @non-alcoholic beer @non-alcoholic spirits @the mindful drinkers