The Benefits of Giving Up Alcohol (+ Why I Went Sober)

A few years ago, giving up alcohol (for good) isn’t something that I really considered possible.

Drinking and getting incredibly drunk was a cornerstone of my life and my relationships with people. It’s sad but true. I thought I was drinking to “relax” – not realizing that I was actually just shoving my emotions down and making things much harder than they needed to be.

Deciding to go sober (and actually following through with it) is honestly the best thing I have done for myself.

I’m still pretty early on in my sobriety journey, coming up to the six month mark. However, I’m already seeing and reaping the physical, emotional, cognitive and spiritual benefits of the decision to stop drinking and don’t see myself going back anytime soon.

Although I’m going to be cautious about how much I actually share, a little bit of ~vulnerability~ is probably good for me at this point in time. SO, here we go.

My Journey with Alcohol

The first time I had an inkling that I should probably give alcohol a rest was around November 2016. After waking up with another soul-crushing hangover, I reasoned that I should at least cut down on how much I drank in one go.

However, there were plenty of occasions prior to then which, on reflection, were Jupiter-sized red flags that me and alcohol weren’t ever going to be a great match. It took an embarrassingly long time for me to realize that we weren’t working – that I was better off without it.

Truthfully, it didn’t seem like a realistic or achievable option to not drink. My paradigm included the idea that drinking alcohol was a basic function of being a normal human. Not drinking would mean I didn’t have a life (when actually it’s totally the opposite).

Even though I wasn’t physically addicted, I was definitely dependent. My emotions drove my drinking habits. Head first into a wall, most times.

Giving Up Alcohol 1.0

Long story short: during my second year of university, I decided I was going to go sober for 100 days. I managed it with relative ease, actually thriving off the pure relief of giving my body and brain a rest from the torture of physical and emotional hangovers. It felt good to make a solid, finite commitment so the people in my life could support me, but knowing there was an end in sight.

I managed around 110 days sober before the romanticization started to creep back in. The dreamy nostalgia of hazy summer nights and freer inhibitions and carefree relaxation started clawing at my brain. And I started drinking again. At first, I was sure that after my 100 days of sobriety I’d have a better grasp over my drinking. That I’d be more in control this time around.

I was not. In fact, it was possibly worse than before. I was blacking out most times I drank.

The same bad habits, the same lack of control, the same debilitating shame and anxiety persisted. For a good couple of months.

Going Sober 2: Sober Harder

In August 2020, I decided to go sober again – this time for one year. 365 days. Somewhere along the line between then and now, I committed to not drinking again – ever.

It hasn’t been long, but I already feel a clarity, freedom and relief that I didn’t know existed. It’s like living in HD. And I’m getting to know who I actually am, what I like, who I want to spend time with, what I do and don’t want. You’re definitely forced to reconsider a lot of things when you go sober and a big life-shield is taken away. You can’t really hide behind a fake persona and fake emotions in the same way.

It can be a bit uncomfortable – but that’s where growth and magic happens!

Why I Stopped Drinking

My main motivations for giving up alcohol were:

  • Cut off that source of fear, shame and self-hatred
  • Put an end to excruciating physical hangovers and allow my body to heal
  • Stop wasting valuable time and losing entire days due to being hungover
  • Stop doing things that I would never dream of doing sober
  • Learn how to process my emotions healthily and properly
  • Make sure I don’t hurt people I care about (including myself)
  • Become aligned with my true, highest self
  • Be proud of myself

Alcohol is never going to bring anything of quality or meaning or authenticity to my life.

It’s only ever going to push the real me further and further down into my body. And leave this autopilot avatar of myself going around as me in the real world and infiltrating people’s perceptions of me.

Honestly some of the worst things I’ve ever experienced have been directly caused or exacerbated by alcohol. I’ve done some incredibly stupid and dangerous things because of it. And even then, it still took me so long to ditch it. That’s how insidiously normalized it is.

As a culture, we are so obsessed with and dependent on alcohol that many of us don’t even consider a life without it until we’re at rock bottom.

Living hangover free never gets old

Top Tips for Giving Up Alcohol

I’m not saying that giving up alcohol is easily done. I did find it it easy at first, in the honeymoon period, but around the 4/5 month mark, the romantic fantasy comes back and it’s difficult to fight. The things alcohol promises you – the quiet in your brain, the happiness, the confidence, the float-y feelings. It’s all harmful lies.

At this stage, I feel comfortable and confident in my decision and ability to stay sober. But having resources, support and inspiration on hand is always incredibly helpful and motivating.

Here are a couple of things that have helped me:

  • Finding sober communities online such as Sober Girl Society (SBS consistently puts out helpful, valuable and informative content over on IG and helps sober and sober-curious women to connect and support each other!)
  • Watching videos from online creators who share their sober stories, such as Melanie Murphy (just generally giving your attention and energy to sobriety content so you don’t lose sight of why you’re doing this)
  • Meditation and visualisation techniques (SBS talks about “playing the tape forward” – not getting caught up in the romantic fantasy and allure of alcohol, and really envisioning how the entire event will play out, up to the horrible hangover you promised you’d never have again)
  • Letting the people in my life know about your decision and goals in order to set clear boundaries around drinking, social occasions etc.
  • Sparkling water and kombucha (in a fancy wine or gin glass
  • Journaling! I use journaling to continuously remind myself why I’m doing this and what I’ve learned from the past
  • Responding to my thoughts and emotions using my compassionate voice rather than my critical voice
  • Putting my other self-care strategies in place
  • Talking to my friends and partner about how I’m feeling, allowing myself to be vulnerable
  • Spending more time doing other things I enjoy, like blogging, going for long walks, watching cosy vlogs, cooking, volunteering my time, planning and making vision boards, binge watching my favourite comfort shows

Share Your Story

If you want to reach out to me, share your story, offer and receive any words of encouragement, you can email me at saltandcircle@gmail.com. It’s always wonderful to connect with other young sober people!

[Important disclaimer: I am not a medical or mental health professional! Just a gal sharing her experiences]

I’ll probably talk more about my sobriety and relationship with alcohol in the future – there’s lots to unpack. Haha.

I hope you found this valuable! Stay safe and take care of yourselves <3

Pip

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Meet The Blogger

Hi cherubs, I’m Pip ✨
Matcha and solar-powered eclectic witch from the north coast of Wales.
Welcome to my digital living room, pour yourself some tea and get comfy. This space is all about spiritual wellbeing, self care & lifestyle for magically-inclined misfits ☕🌙✨

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