My Sobriety Journey: Part 1

In recent years I have not been a hard drinker. (Insert cough.) Just before I completely went sober I was into what some may call "sophisticated drinks." Like cocktails and craft beer and my favourite, a spicy merlot. However, I must mention that I did go through the gin phase and I’ve indulged merrily in the 1-liter beers that came onto the recent scene. 

OMG, who am I kidding I loved alcohol and there was always something for every occasion. Something tangy and crisp on a hot summer’s day and something stronger like a premium brandy on a cold winter’s night.

I started drinking around the age of 16 and gave up alcohol at 34 and the only time I went sober before that was when I was unemployed during my early 20’s and then again when I fell pregnant. The first time I went alcohol-free was for 8 months, and like mentioned - I was unemployed and without any clear direction at that point. Early 20’s summaries a time when I had lots of heartaches in the romance department, in which case every rejection felt viciously intense. But I was also young without any major responsibilities, and so when I found a job and things were looking up for me I started drinking again because that’s what young people do. They like get-togethers and they basically cannot socialize without any booze.

However, when my sister died 3 years ago my alcohol consumption went through the roof! During that time my heart was drenched in wine, to numb the pain, to cope, to just manage I guess. But I did not manage. I remember during the first 6 months I would lay awake at night and get up to pour myself a large drink. I remember getting up early in the morning to pour myself a large drink. I would drink and feel guilty, sad and angry all at the same time. I didn’t take any other medication, alcohol was my drug of choice.

The sadness totally consumed me when I was under the influence. Here I must point out that I would never drink to the point of being staggering and pathetic, nope I was always groomed, composed and in control. Here I should also point out that writing this is extremely difficult, delving into this period of time is always grim. I guess I want to tell you that I didn’t see myself (and I don’t want you to see me) as an alcoholic, during the last 2 years I would only drink 4 moderate glasses a day and I would only drink 3 days a week – depending on the alcohol availability in which case there was always more on weekends. (Such denial, I know.)

I stopped drinking 3 days after my sister’s birthday, it was on the 23rd of March 2018. On that day I read something on Twitter around suicide prevention and went ballistic! I was in such a rage. Why wasn’t there any intervention, why didn’t I give more attention to my sister’s mental state? (She committed suicide at 19, read more about that here.) Why didn’t I see it coming and why didn’t anyone else? It could’ve been prevented! I was in a state and also under the influence. Because you see, every year around her birthday the days would turn into a destructive pattern of visiting her grave, buying her favourite drinks and having a “party” because she would’ve wanted us to be happy. 

So as you can see, me going sober was basically born out of grieve. I just couldn’t handle all that sorrow anymore and desperately needed another way to deal with everything. And so, today it has been just over 4 months that I’m sober and thus far it’s been going alright. I can be part of birthday parties and other events with alcohol and be completely fine with that. Well, maybe not completely, I had to be very strict with myself in the beginning, using a lot of willpower and such. 

But however tempted I may be, I’ll still choose to be sober as I don’t have to deal with those intense feelings of heartache anymore. Don’t get me wrong, I still get sad but because I’m in a clear state of mind I’m more at peace. I know that I need to move on and that there’s nothing I can do about what happened. 

I know that I need to focus on creating a happy and healthy life for myself and my little family. I don’t want my precious daughter to grow up and think that drinking will ease the pain in her life. I have nothing against alcohol and I don’t judge people that drink but for my personality and the things I’ve had to deal with it is just way better to live an alcohol-free life. It is a personal choice.

I’m working on a post about how my new sober lifestyle has bettered my skin, gave me more energy and helped me to lose weight. I’ll also be sharing my fave nonalcoholic drinks, so keep an eye out for Part 2 of My Sobriety Journey.

Image: My Own 

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