Some of you may know that as of February 2020, I stopped drinking. At first, it started out as a challenge for myself to see how long I could go. I didn’t plan on it being permanent. I didn’t set up strict rules for myself, or involve any shame around it. I was mostly just wanting to see if I could, how long I could not drink, and if it would help me on my fitness journey.
I had been drinking a couple times a week since, minimum, for the past 3 years. It was my normal. I was young, trying to have fun… or at least that was the story I told myself. The truth is, I was extremely unhappy. I felt like that was the only way I could have fun. It was the only way to connect with others and have friends. I would drink to hide my real feelings. I would drink to escape my painful reality. I would make mistakes, and be hungover, unproductive, and wake up the next day even more sad. It was like I was living for the next party, because in the moment it felt better than I felt inside. After several really bad weekends in a row, I just decided I had enough and wanted to make some changes. Or at least try to. I was Sober Curious.
Unlike sobriety, which is often a lifestyle chosen as a result of alcoholism or alcohol use disorder, sober curiosity is often defined as having the option to choose, to question, or to change your drinking habits for health-focused reasons (mental and/or physical). The sober curious movement has encouraged individuals to recognize the often-unhealthy habits that are associated with alcohol.The Definition of the Sober Curious Movement
With the COVID shut down happening in March, I quickly found myself bored at home with no where to go and no one to be around. This helped me on my sober curious journey. Instead of socializing, or partying, I poured all of my focus into fitness and nutrition. Dialing in, working out for 2-3 hours a day, meal planning all of my meals. The thought of drinking useless calories for no reason, was just silly to me.
I soon found out how much better I felt overall. I had no more headaches, and I didn’t crave sugar or carbs. I lost about 15 pounds in just 3-4 months. I hit a lower weight than I had ever been, even in high school. I had abs!!! (RIP abbies…. they are no longer with us LOL) P.S. I will share more about my fitness journey in the future!
The fitness pushed me to keep up the sober streak. My 25th birthday rolled around, and my parents threw me a party. My parents really enjoy social drinking, and I knew I feel pressured to indulge. I thought that if I planned to pace myself, I would be fine and nothing would go wrong. I woke up the next day and couldn’t remember half the party, was so hung over, and really sad. I HATED how I felt.
I told myself I’d never drink again.
“Sobriety was the greatest gift I ever gave myself.”-Rob Lowe
Over the next year and a half, I have drank maybe 2-3 other times. Only once getting drunk, while on vacation in Florida. I think that was the first time in my life, where I didn’t overdue it.
I mainly wanted to share more details of my journey, because sometimes when I tell people I don’t drink, I get one of a few responses:
- “WHAT?! Come on just have a few!”
- “Oh, I didn’t know you were *sober*?”
- “Oh, sorry.” *Insert Awkwardness*
“WHAT?! Come on just have a few!” – This used to be my reaction. Shocked, because I really didn’t know anything different. Everyone around me drank, and it was kind of weird if someone didn’t. This reaction doesn’t bother me, because I’m good with not giving into peer pressure. I know why I don’t drink, and I don’t AND won’t explain it 3000 times to convince you to be okay with me. I’ll just politely say no thanks. I’m comfortable being around those who do drink. It doesn’t bother me, and I don’t want anyone to feel any type of way for my choices.
“Oh, I didn’t know you were *sober*?” – I REALLLLLY hate this response. I don’t believe I have a problem. I don’t identify as an alcoholic, or as SOBER. I didn’t go to rehab. It’s okay for me to just not want to drink, for literally any reason. AND it’s okay for me to decide to pick up a drink for whatever reason. I don’t need to explain myself. Side note: I realize some people do have problems, and I pray they find help and find the strength within to do what’s best for them and their families. But don’t project that onto me.
“Oh, sorry.” *Insert Awkwardness* – I can literally feel people feeling shamed because of my choices. Like they think I’m judging them or I think I’m better than them for choosing not to drink. Which is not the case at all. If you can have drinks and enjoy yourself, more power to you. I simply cannot. I don’t know how to stop at just a few. I can’t wake up the next day feeling good about myself. So I choose not to because of how drinking makes me feel. Not because I think I’m better, or because I think drinking is bad.
If you don’t want to drink, don’t! If you do, then go for it!
I have found that since quitting drinking, I don’t get invited places as much. People don’t want to spend time doing the things I like to do. It’s way harder to make friends, or find activities to do with new friends. “Meeting up for a drink” was the easiest way.
So now I try to do coffee dates, hikes, or just have gotten used to doing things alone. (My boyfriend is also sober curious. He drinks more often than me, but still rarely – which may I add, is his own doing, not mine. He hates being hungover.. He’s a bigger baby about it than me. It ruins his day, and then usually mine too. LOL)
I just wanted to go into further depth on this topic, because I know I’m not the only person who may have thought once or twice about quitting drinking. And if you look online, there is often a lot extremes, and a lot shame around it. If you decide to drink again, then you fucked up. You failed. You’re bad… But you’re not. You can literally do whatever you want. Allow yourself to explore. Quit putting so much weight on your choices. Stop caring about what people think or say.
If you want to try to have fun without drinking, you might surprise yourself. If you’re at all curious, I would really encourage you to try it. Society puts so much pressure on drinking as the only way to have fun, but in my own experience, I enjoy actually remembering the concerts and parties I go to. Plus I have more money, and just FEEL BETTER. If you try it out, see how long you can go, and however your experience goes, you can decide what you want to do. Challenge yourself, challenge your beliefs, get uncomfortable and try new things. You might be pleasantly surprised with what you might find out.
Let me know your thoughts on this hot topic. Or if you have questions or just want to share your experiences, I’m always open to hearing from and listening to others stories!