The is a column entry from an anonymous contributor battling with alcohol dependency.
This is the first time I’ve completed 30 consecutive days sober for at least 5 years. At first, being sober is like being drunk. Through daily drinking, I came to believe that feelings of relaxation, contentment and happiness were only achieved through alcohol. It’s bizarre when you stop drinking and experience these feelings through organic rather than chemical stimuli.
The first few days were the worst; I was a ball of nervous energy. It was hard to find a new evening routine that didn’t revolve around drinking. I also couldn’t sleep without alcohol and as soon as I would begin to drop off I’d startle awake multiple times. I persevered though, and within the second week, I had settled into a routine of relaxed evenings with cups of tea or productive evenings where I worked on my previously neglected hobbies.
It’s not second nature yet; it’s still a conscious effort but I’m getting there. You can see I’ve quit drinking by my home – it’s cleaner and tidier, because now I’ve reclaimed my evenings from alcohol, I can do a little bit every day, rather than saving all the chores up for weekend mornings.
Dining out is difficult. I crave alcoholic drinks a little but the biggest problem is that it’s awkward being the sober one. I feel like I make others feel awkward because I’m not drinking. As those drinking become tipsy, I start to feel out of place – I don’t get swept away in the moment like I once did.
The drinks choices add to the problems, too. While you can stock your home with a variety of non-alcoholic options, restaurants and drinking venues are hit and miss with their sober selections. Some places still only offer a limited range of soft drinks. Others offer incredible mocktails, spritzes and pressés along with no alcohol brands such as Becks Blue and Koppaberg. But even among those that stock these, you might have to look hard to find them – in a couple of places, I’ve noticed that Becks Blue, for example, is available, but isn’t listed in their drinks menu.
Days 0 to 30 have been a learning curve, but with the exception of the initial shock of abstinence, it’s been an overall positive experience and I’m definitely feeling healthier and happier. I’m not sure what other challenges still lie ahead in this new life of sobriety, but let’s find out together, shall we?