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Giving Up Alcohol: A Year Sober

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Flowing out of my pen like a burst water main, the list of pros to sobriety far outweigh the cons. In seconds, I’d listed 7 good reasons why sobriety this year was fantastic. Whereas the cons, even after a few minutes of contemplation, still only has one point. The goal of going sober for a year was never to completely banish alcohol indefinitely. The challenge was to change my relationship with booze and relearn how to live without it. In short: mission accomplished. Let’s dive into those 8 points, shall we.

1, 3 & 4: My biggest fear

One of my biggest fears of giving up alcohol was the excess energy I’d have. Now, as my 366 day challenge draws to a close, my biggest fear is that I’ll lose that energy surplus. The very first thing to fall out of my pen and onto the page was energy. 2 points along; endurance & stamina. Basically, my biggest fear has become the best thing to come from staying sober.

2: Keeping the edge on!

Many people say they use alcohol to ‘take the edge off’ and it was always successful in doing so for me. That edge however, that’s where the beauty of life is found. By staying sober this year – especially now that it is my normal state – means the clarity slider has been bumped up significantly. The world is clear, in focus and in full HD, something that has been missing for years. I mean don’t get me wrong, I still have difficulty maintaining focus sometimes due to a few reasons but for the most part, the crispness of my days is phenomenal.

5: Positive Relationships

I didn’t think I was an overly negative person. I know I’m very critical of myself and the work I do but that’s more to be the best version of myself. But many times – more so in the later months of sobriety – a comment would regularly pop up. “You seem so much happier now!” And that’s just the beginning. I maintain that I’m still a little bit of an unapologetic asshole but relationships with friends, family and almost everyone in between have improved significantly. Conversations are deeper, longer and – for me at least – more interesting.

6: Driving

Although that global pandemic has taken way too much from our daily lives, the few times we’ve been allowed out for socialising have not been the normal battle to find somewhere to sleep for the night or consider risking the drive home. Instead, I’ve been able to choose my home time and be the safe and free lift home for others. I am a little shattered that I’ve not been ushered in to take a breath test so I could boast about my sobriety though.

7: The Elevated Status

In so many articles I read, there was a common theme of been shunned for not drinking. A negative stigma around people who don’t drink alcohol. My experience has been quite the opposite. Perhaps a sign of how much more I was drinking than I realised? But I was held in high regard by my peers for being able to not drink. To go to gatherings and opt for the water instead of the tasty, blurring bevos. I was the example used when there was talk of hangovers and admiration on many fronts.

8: The one negative I could find

Here it is; the only negative I can find is the ‘Off Switch” I found within booze just isn’t the same – or even present. I DON’T F&*KING STOP! There’s a hundred things happening in my head at any one time and it’s hard! I’m awake most days by 6am (thanks to the puppies) but up and out by 7am. Then will be mostly non-stop until 11pm, 12 pm or sometimes 2am! Urgh. But, if I get in a good workout or at least a day in the garden, I can get to sleep early and rest properly. So, barely a negative.

So 2021, here we come, ay!

For the past couple of months, I’ve been working out what to do from here. Whether to have another drink or continue this sober journey. Perhaps you’d like to help?

Number one is, I don’t want to return to drinking how I was. That is not healthy nor financially viable. Two, I like the goals I have and achieving them is going to be so very much easier without a constant flow of alcohol. But, I really used to enjoy a beer, whiskey or casual wine. I also don’t want the reason to not have a drink to be that I haven’t had a drink in xx number of days. I want it to be a conscious decision every time. To steal a phrase from Etch Sparkling, I want to Every Time Choose Health.

Herein lies my dilemma. Can I trust myself to not fall into old habits if I have a drink? Have I changed my alcohol relationship enough? Are my dreams, goals and aspirations strong enough to allow me a small drink with friends here and there while remaining on course to achieve them?

What do you think? 

– To test myself with a drink, break the sober run and (hopefully) confirm my changed and improved attitude?
– Or not risk it? Stay sober forever?

Comment below & let me know.