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Today on August 2, 2021, I gratefully celebrate my sobriety birthday. I am 4 years sober from alcohol! Finally coming to terms with my dangerous, abusive drinking habits and high functioning alcoholism allowed me to pursue a life free from alcohol.
It was the best decision I have made, not only for myself, but for my family as well! Here are 25 reasons why sobriety rocks, and why I am so proud to be living a life free from the grips of alcohol addiction.
1. I am more present.
I find it easier to be in the moment and truly enjoy simple pleasures. This summer, we have taken several day trips to the beach, and I absolutely enjoy being able to enjoy watching the waves ebb and flow, and to watch my kids enjoy building in the sand. Before getting sober, my focus would have been on how much I could drink to enjoy my down time, whereas now, its enjoyable to simply be fully present (and enjoying those moments that happen from allowing myself to be present.)
2. I am more in tune with my body.
When I’m tired, exhausted, or feeling overwhelmed I am better able to pick up on this. I’m normally a night owl, but if I’m feeling run down from lack of sleep, I’ll make sure to get to bed (slightly) earlier, or skip my workout so that my body can rest. If a day has been particularly overwhelming for me (and as an introvert I acknowledge that even positive events can be overwhelming!) I try to do some quick, focused breathwork to recenter myself.
3. I find it easier to manage my feelings.
Again, the mindfulness is there to acknowledge my feelings, and to be aware of feelings of overwhelm or anger or whatever might be causing me to feel stressed. I’m better able to accept how I’m feeling, rather than trying to drink those feelings away.
4. We have more money!
According to my NOMO Sobriety Tracker app, I have saved $10,435.99 over the course of the last 4 years by not drinking, though I personally feel like this number should be much higher. When I first started using the app, I added up how much money I was spending weekly to drink, and it just seems like it should be greater! At the time I was mainly drinking at home, so this number didn’t account for the random drink or 3 that I would consume with a dinner out….Either way, saving over $10,000 over 4 years is nothing to sneeze at!
5. I have more time.
I have more time. I don’t have to obsess over how much I am or not going to drink that day. I don’t have to devise a plan to somehow pick up more wine or rum because I somehow already crushed the bottle that I just bought a day prior. I have the time to focus on living and not obsessing over alcohol
6. The decision not to drink has already been made.
And it’s so freeing! This idea also ties in with having more time. When you make the decision to not drink, it frees your brain up to focus on all those other decisions that you need make throughout your day.
Between my 4 kids, I get asked about 1,456 questions daily (I’m not kidding.) The simple decision to not drink, every single day, is liberating! (And it at least frees up my brain space to help my kids ponder why the sky is blue and what causes the earth to spin and why are there seasons and why do we float in space???? All. The. Questions!)
7. I sleep better.
Like many people, I have my ups and downs with sleep. However, I sleep MUCH better overall than when I was drinking every night. Yes, I used to pass out most nights from the amount I would drink, but then I would wake up at 3 am with the spins and regretting my decision to continue to keep drinking in the manner I was, every single night. Sure, I still wake up occassionally at 3 am, but I find it much easier to get back to sleep when this happens. My sleep is more restful.
8. Food tastes better.
I LOVE food. I love cooking and baking. I enjoy trying my hand at new recipes with my family and I enjoy dining out for a delicious meal. A dream of mine would be traveling the world to try all sorts of vegetarian meals from different cultures. To think of all the years that I sacrificed my taste buds just to get drunk is pretty depressing to me…Everything tastes more flavorful and enjoyable now!
9. I am open to trying new experiences.
I am an anxious, Type A personality and I tend to weigh risks versus rewards of certain activities. But since getting sober, I have become more open to trying new things I would have immediately dismissed. Below is a picture of me water skiing two summers ago. Before getting sober, I would have either already been too drunk to attempt this, or I would have just immediately turned down trying this out.
10. I have picked back up some old hobbies that I missed.
I played the alto sax from 4th thru 12th grade, and I would say that playing in a band or orchestra over those years was just as much of my identity as playing basketball. I stopped playing my sax when I went away to college because my focus solely turned to basketball and maintaining good grades since I was there on a basketball scholarship.
Refurbishing my sax and playing it again recently has brought me a joy that I missed all these years!
I also LOVED rollerblading as a kid and bought myself a new pair to skate with my kids, which has also been a fun bonding experience.
11. I am (slightly) more patient with my kids.
I’m not perfect…far from it! But overall I am more patient with my kids. Being a parent is hard work, but I have more patience with my kids when they fight, scream, disobey, throw temper tantrums, never eat the food I cook for them…you know, all that fun parenting stuff!
I still blow a fuse occasionally (I AM human!) but it doesn’t end with me claiming I need a drink to calm down.
12. I feel more connected to my family and less distant.
This ties in with the fact that drinking alcohol is a time suck and all-consuming. The energy that was spent fixating on drinking or how much to drink (or what to drink) is now focused towards connecting with my family and no longer being distant. Trying to moderate your alcohol intake is emotionally exhausting and draining!
13. I am no longer fueling my anxiety.
Hanxiety is a thing and alcohol does nothing but to fuel it. Being a naturally anxious person, drinking alcohol never helped and many times made my anxiety crippling. And so the cycle would keep going….anxiety being fueled by addiction.
14. I’m better able to tackle challenges.
I have always been a goal setter, but long-term goals are something that I struggled with working through and achieving. One challenge in particular, running and training for a race, was something I would have never done before getting sober.
Although I love to exercise, I NEVER loved running, so the act of training for a race was nuts to me! I have since developed a love for not just running, but the patience and determination it takes over several months to prepare your body and mind for a race. I have since completed several races, including a marathon!
15. I have more perseverance and grit.
This ties in with being in a better headspace to tackle challenges, but my perseverance to see a goal through has increased considerably. If the going gets tough, I’m less likely to give up or give in. Losing the crutch of alcohol has allowed me
16. Alcohol is so much bigger than me, but so is my sobriety.
When I was getting drunk every day, I thought my drinking was mainly under control and only affecting me and no one else. I got drunk, but for the most part, I kept it together, or so I thought. I never saw the impact my drinking had on my family until I quit alcohol. Alcohol was indeed engulfing me as well as my entire family. When I got sober, I knew the decision would have a huge impact on my husband and my children, and perhaps even their children.
17. I don’t care (as much) about what people think of me.
Oh, this one brings me so much joy. I care less about what people think of me and it’s AMAZING! I am a good human, trying my best every day to raise kind kids. At the end of the day, that’s all that matters! People will always have opinions about what you do or don’t do, and that’s fine. But as long as I’m living up to my own morals and standards, I’m GOOD!
18. I am better able to manage boundaries.
Saying no to alcohol has made it easier to manage my boundaries. As an introvert, it is easy to allow people to overstep boundaries that we are not comfortable with, but since giving up alcohol, I am better able to make those boundaries known. I speak up for myself when I am not okay with something.
19. I have more confidence to say no to other things.
This ties in with the above statement, but I have the confidence to say no to plans, events, and requests that I am not interested in or do not feel like engaging in. Having the confidence to say no has been empowering!
20. I don’t have to struggle with feelings of regret because of my drinking.
My abusive drinking was my deep dark secret. I overcompensated for it by exercising daily or trying the latest diet craze or juice cleanse. I thought clean eating during the day would undo all the damage of heavy drinking at night.
But I knew better, and most nights at 3am, my conscience would awake me and I would just sit (still drunk) with feelings of grief and despair over the fact that I couldn’t control my drinking. Why did I have to get drunk every singe night despite trying not to? Why couldn’t just stop at one? How much longer can I continue to drink like this?
21. I’ve been told I’m a happier person.
Happiness is relative, right? But I feel as though I am happier now than when I was abusing alcohol. Being able to manage my feelings and stress without alcohol has been integral to seeing a shift in my overall mood and disposition.
22. I’m able to better manage my anxiety.
Anxiety is and will always be a battle for me, and I realize this. I come from a family full of worriers. Worrying about worst possible outcomes has been ingrained in me and the resulting fear has been crippling at times. And drinking alcohol only made my anxiety worse.
Since getting sober, I am better able to deal better with my anxiety. I now ascribe to the ideal of “plan for the worst but hope for the best.” I realize that this still has a negative aspect to it, but as a worry wart, knowing that I have at least considered some negative outcomes WHILE hoping for the best is a HUGE step forward for me.
23. I’m more appreciative of simple things.
It’s easier to see the beauty in simplicity, such as enjoying a sunset on the beach, or seeing a cool shaped cloud, or even enjoying a walk through a park. It’s easier to appreciate these seeminlgy simple events being sober.
24. I’m showing my children that life doesn’t have to involve drinking alcohol to make it worth living.
I hope that I am able to convey to my kids as they grow up that alcohol isn’t needed to enjoy life. It doesn’t have to be a rite of passage into adulthood!
25. Living a sober life is just the beginning!
Getting sober is only the beginning. I’ve realized that reading, researching, discovering and growing is needed to keep me sober along this journey. But along with staying sober, I can reach for my dreams and be the best woman, mother and wife that my family needs, along with growing as a human to continue to support other women along their varying paths, whether on the mat in the studio, or here online with encouraging words of support to help with their own sobriety journey.
If you are curious about freeing yourself from alcohol, read This Naked Mind by Annie Grace. I read this book early on in my sobriety journey and I was able to form new truths about alcohol which helped me to break free from addiction. Even if you aren’t sure if you are ready to ditch the alcohol, this is still an awesome read, especially if you are questioning your relationship with it. I highly recommend!