Sober or Mindful Drinker? 2 Years Later

by Upside Drinks

Recently, I celebrated my 2 years of Sobriety, or perhaps I should say Mindful Drinking. Sobriety typically implies abstaining from alcohol entirely, which isn't my case. A recent event compelled me to reconsider the terminology I use to describe my journey, and I want to share it with you.


By openly sharing the beginning of my sober journey two years ago, I was aware that I was adding extra pressure on my shoulders.  Not only did I have to prove to myself that I could do it, but I also had to prove it to others. I can't lie that this additional challenge often helped me stay on track. However, at one point, this pressure that started of as motivation became counterintuitive and caused soome frustration. The turning point for me was a night out a few months ago. As I was happily pouring myself a nice glass of red wine, a friend dropped a guilt-inducing "I got you Simon, I'm watching you." That's when I realized it was necessary for me to refefine my own sobriety. I am not Sober. I am a Mindful Drinker.


In my other life as an entrepreneur, I opened and operated coffee and tea bars for several years. I took tasting courses, tested thousands of coffees and tea and even visited plantations to understand the origin, process, and labor behind the product. Tasting new coffees, teas, pairing the right ingredients, creating recipes were by far my favorite part. You'll understand that this passion is buried in me and also reflected in alcoholic products. Now, when I consume a drink, it's to taste the history and its result, not for the 'feeling,' the main reason why I often drank before.


Satisfaction, Relaxtion, Relief.. these are the feelings that the first sip of a beer of a cocktail can offer after a intense day at work. We start with one drink... and we feel good, as if a weight is lifted off our shoulders. Then a second, the conversation flows even more smoothly, less awkwardness, more jokes. And a third, suddenly we no longer think about the stress we had when we woke up, the work anxieties caused by a new boss, the frustration we felt towards a friend who disappointed us, life is better. That's all the happiness alcohol can bring. A real panacea. Why work on myself when I can easily forget about my stressors momentirarly. The wounds won't heal, but at least the pain will subside temporarily.


I do not plan when I will get a drink. I follow my intuition and my inner voice that tells me when the timing is right. With longtime friends gathering and bringing a good bottle of whiskey, at a wedding with my buddy who's been keeping his wine bottle in his cellar for 10 years, or sometimes on a Saturday night when I decide to mix regular beer and non-alcoholic... These moments almost always happen spontaneously and very rarely, which makes them more magical and exhilarating.


My sobriety is not yours. I never believed in drastic approaches. 'Everything is in everything' - every situation is different, and it's important to respect one's own journey and that of others. A few months ago, I was in a bar with friends when one of them noticed that I wasn't drinking and asked me why. He confided in me, revealing that he was a functional alcoholic and that his ex girlfriend just left him for this reason. When I took him home, I dared him to buy a pack of non-alcoholic beer and replace one beer a day with a non-alcoholic one. Recently, that friend texted me to tell me he was proud to no longer drink during the week... only on weekends. One step at a time.


When people ask me if I will ever drink again , my answer remains the same: "I don't know." Right now, I feel good with this new lifestyle, I get more positive than negative out of it, and my decision stops there. We tend to overthink these kinds of decisions, to complicate them. Yet for me, it's simple: since I stopped drinking: I see more clearly + I'm more productive + I feel better physically and mentally = I keep going.


'Mindful Drinking' is an attitude and a mindset. Drinking mindfully involves actively asking yourself questions about why you drink, without judgment.

So, disclaimer, you might see me one day with a drink in hand, please don't judge me, I am a proud mindful drinker.

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