Saturday, 26 August 2017

Dealing With People's Perceptions of You During Early Sobriety

I've made the choice to not drink.

Well, let me clarify. Not drink alcohol. I will still be drinking lots of water, sparkling water, the occasional Diet Coke (harder to quit than booze!!!) and vanilla soy milk in my coffee.

It's a personal decision I've made after having struggled with alcohol mis-use for close to two decades.

My longest stretch "near-sober" was when I was pregnant with my first son. Although I would have the occasional glass of wine with dinner (and usually wouldn't finish the glass), it really was the first time I had gone close to a year without any type of alcohol-induced buzz.

Fast-forward to a month after my son was born.

I had a glass of wine with dinner, once I had stopped breastfeeding.

It felt weird.

I didn't love the taste anymore, and I was hyper aware of how the wine was making my head ache and giving me a weird spinning/out of body feeling.

It didn't feel good, so I didn't have a second glass.

But then, something happened in June and July of this summer.
We had weeks of back-to-back family vacation, where copious amounts of wine and cider were available.
I fell into the "it's vacation! It's OK to have a few!" mentality.
But after a few weeks of this, I remembered, with a longing, aching feeling, the way I had blossomed when I wasn't drinking.
The pride, control and sheer happiness I felt.
The clarity.
The health benefits I enjoyed.

Unless that's pure motherfuckin' Diet Coke, get it outta my face!


I wanted that again.
I still want that.
I am sober, now, for real.

No "just one drink" or "it's the weekend" nonsense.
That shit just doesn't work for me!!!

To be honest, almost 20 years of drinking is/was enough for me.
I (hopefully) have another good 50+ years to pump out, and I don't wanna waste them being all like...wine-stained, slurry and ridic.

 I've gotten off topic, because this post is not about what brought me to sobriety, it's about how other people don't always know what to say to sober people.

And why do soberistas have such a hard time validating their choices not to drink? It's not about the "others" it's about us!!! If we don't wanna drink, that should be totally coolio and not pose any problems to those who are drinking.

Here are some examples of what you'll hear when you say NO to a drink:

"But what about all the great wine/spirits/beer in (enter city where you're visiting/vacationing next)?" (What about it?! I would be losing more by actually drinking it than by abstaining)

"Just have one!" (ummm, no asshole, I can't)

"It's not like you're an alcoholic" (maybe not, but I have problematic drinking patterns, otherwise I wouldn't have spent so many precious hours trying to wrap my head around this unhealthy relationship that I have with booze, right?!)

"I could never give up beer/cider/wine!" (that's OK- I'm not asking you too! My choices are for me and I don't judge you for yours)

"Don't you find it hard when your husband drinks?" (No. His relationship with alcohol is his responsibility, not mine. His drinking doesn't make me feel tight-chested like my own did)

"So what do you do for fun?" (The same things that people who drink do? No drinking means that I can enjoy my body, my mind and my emotions purely and naturally. I don't have to hide away in bed on Sunday mornings, recovering from embarrassing fuzzy memories from the night before and waiting for my hormones to regulate and my blood to detox)

"Aw, you're no fun!" (I get it. You'll miss the "fun" party girl I used to be. And I really was fun. I was flirty and silly and open. I probably paid you a lot of attention, even if you were boring or lame. But guess what? I'm more fun sober. I make better jokes, I'm naturally high on life and I can still dance without booze- even if not very well)

AAAANNNNDDD big news. My book, which will be self-published by the end of 2017, will be about recovery and self-love. A lot of other anecdotes/personal stories will be included, but I know that what I need to do is write about these struggles and how I overcame them. For me, and for all of the people who have had similar experiences 

Oh, and here's something I wrote last month that I found on my phone and really like:

When you wake up and remember that you didn't drink the day before: now that's the best feeling in the world to anyone with alcohol problems.
It's a nice combination of pride, real happiness and clarity that makes the day shine bright - even if, like today, it's raining.
A natural high of real, home-grown  endorphins flooding your system saying 'this is better than the dark stuff-stick around a bit'
Patient. Calm. Grounded.
No anxiety.
It's gonna be a great day
One day at a time you CAN slay this beast.
Be a warrior for your beautiful self who is shining from the inside out, gently cradling you in security and flooding you with love.
Saying thank you.

<3


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