You can live a big, juicy life without alcohol.
I am 900 days sober and living a brave and adventurous life.
Day 1 and day 900 look completely different.
On day 900, I still drink. I still like to overindulge. I love going out and having a good time.
I just no longer need alcohol to do it. In fact, alcohol took away from all my fun for years. Getting rid of alcohol has been the most fun and liberating experience of my life!
Just last night, I was at a happy hour where I enjoyed two craft cocktails (free of spirits), followed by dinner with my husband, where I enjoyed a “hoppy refresher.” I was relaxed, free, and present.
Last weekend I played cards with friends and had two non-alcoholic elderberry gin and tonics with extra lime. I was not always comfortable socializing without alcohol.
I grew into my alcohol-free confidence.
In my first year sober, I had a lot of anxiety about going out and socializing without alcohol.
Sometimes I would choose to avoid the situation altogether.
Everything seemed to be a trigger for me because I was so used to revolving my life around alcohol.
If I did go out, I would sit and twitch until it was my turn to order and whisper to the waiter, “Can I have a nojito? Like a mojito, but no…ahem, cough, cough, a-l-c-o-h-o-l. Shhh.”
Then I would sit and pray to God that he heard me correctly and deliver an alcohol-free drink, without anyone knowing. I would also pray it would come in a regular glass and not a plastic toddler cup.
I would pray me not drinking alcohol would not be the conversation at the dinner table.
I always felt like the spotlight was on my not drinking.
If we were at a bar, I would demand my husband get me a club soda with lime, immediately upon arrival. I needed to get a drink in my hand stat. My whole sobriety depended on it. I didn’t know what to do without it.
Alcohol was the most important thing in my life.
Being without it felt like being without clothes.
So there I was, walking around raw, exposed, sober, and vulnerable for everyone to see.
Having a club soda tricked my brain into thinking I was safe. A drink in my hand equaled my protection, my security blanket, my alcohol.
It is not like that anymore because, at 900 days, alcohol is not important to me. I am not embarrassed that I don’t drink anymore.
I am proud of my choice and my ability to overcome dependence on a drug that kills more people than any other drug combined. I no longer see alcohol as my safety net.
I have rewired my brain, and I see alcohol for what it is—a poisonous substance that creates dependence.
Getting rid of alcohol was the most badass thing I have ever done, or will ever do, in my entire life.
Yes, I am still learning and getting comfortable in my sober new identity. Sobriety is a practice. I practice every day.
A few months ago, a group of sober gals and I went out for non-alcoholic drinks, to celebrate my birthday.
We let the waiter run through the whole menu before we sheepishly said, “what alcohol-free drink options do you have?” followed by nervous giggles.
Just last night I went to the same cocktail house, and when the waiter came to my table and asked if I’d like to hear about the specials, the first thing I said (proudly) was, “Yes, but first of all, I don’t drink alcohol, so I want to save your time. Tell me everything about the free-spirited options!”
After happy hour, I went to dinner with my husband. When the waiter asked if we wanted to start with something to drink I boldly inquired, “Yes! What alcohol-free beers do you have?”
I said this without shame. I don’t drink, and I love that about me. It’s not a secret. I can shout it from the rooftops. I am really proud of this lifestyle choice.
It’s like being a vegan, or an Ironman, or an ex-smoker, or a yogi. I am sober, loud, and proud.
My transformation happened over time.
Just months ago I whispered to the bartender, “Can I have an O’Douls, but can you put it in a regular glass?” We are conditioned to think people who don’t drink alcohol are sick, sad, or deprived. I thought the same.
I didn’t experiment with any NA drinks in my first year of sobriety for fear it would trigger wanting alcohol.
Since my one year sober date, I continue to evolve. I am enjoying going out and having adult drinks too.
I no longer want alcohol, so I no longer feel like I am missing out.
I enjoy new flavors and tastes. I like a pretty drink in a pretty glass. I like a spicy drink too. And a hot drink. And adding salt.
I love the atmosphere of a beer garden. I don’t care if my friends drink alcohol. It’s not about the alcohol, it’s about the company. I want to be included in nights out.
I like to laugh. I love to dance. I feel more wild and free without alcohol than I ever did while drinking.
Isn’t that the best surprise?
I love waking up and feeling great after a night out. I love knowing I am a safe ride home. I trust myself to remember the whole evening. I live without regrets.
For anyone worried that the sober life is the somber life, I hear you. That was my biggest fear when I quit.
I am happy to report back from day 900; the sober life is the juiciest, most adventurous way to live.
I coach others who want to go alcohol-free, and I’d love to help you too.