In the past year I started telling my family and friends about my decision to stop drinking.
There are still some folks I haven’t had the nerve to talk to about it, but as I’ve shared my journey with those close to me something special started happening.
People wanted to talk.
Some friends wanted to talk about moderation–which if that works for you, that is awesome! It was great to have conversations with these friends about examining the why of drinking in their lives.
Some friends wanted to talk about how I knew it was time to stop. Those were harder conversations because I had to be honest and vulnerable with them about the ugly personal truths I had found out about myself like my depression, my self-loathing, and my anxiety.
About a year ago I got to have one of the most beautiful, open, and difficult phone conversations of my life–it was with one of my best friends who decided she wanted to stop drinking.
We had started drinking together around the age of 17. We’d lived in different cities together over the years. Together we’d become adult women.
And now, we were both getting sober together, long distance.
I asked her if she’d want to do an interview for the blog about her journey this past year–because I think the path to sobriety looks different for everyone.
Please enjoy the below thoughts from her as she approaches the one year mark!
I hope this may help you feel empowered to talk to others about your sobriety choices.
I can say from personal experience you never know who will join you on the journey.
It may be some of your oldest and best friends.
How long have you been sober?
Coming up on one year on June 29, 2018
What made you decide to stop drinking?
I had known for a long time that drinking was a problem for me, but I finally had a night where I had had too much to drink and couldn’t hide it from my husband and knew I had to stop. I was putting important things in jeopardy.
Had you ever tried before? And if so, what made it different this last time?
I hadn’t tried to stop before, but I had definitely tried to moderate and failed for a few years. It was exhausting. Needing to stop was a relief in a lot of ways.
What has been the biggest reward from ditching alcohol?
Being able to trust how I’ll feel in the morning and my memories from the night before, and sleeping better. Letting go of the shame and guilt I was secretly putting myself through.
What is your favorite non-alcoholic drink these days?
Sparkling water (sometimes with apple cider vinegar and lemon juice) and Gingerade Kombucha
How do you handle stress in your life now without alcohol?
What would you tell someone who is in the early days of their sobriety?
The guilt was hard for me to deal with. Judging myself for my actions, even though I’m not the only one that alcohol doesn’t work for and it’s not a strange thing to end up addicted to an addictive substance.
Be gentle with yourself, keep breathing, and be honest with the people you love.
The online community is so strong right now, hearing other people’s stories through podcasts and memoirs was very helpful in seeing the pattern that progresses with an addiction over time and realizing that you are not alone or unique in what was going on with you and alcohol.
What are you favorite things to do now that you don’t drink?
I like to have game nights, having an activity for a hang out instead of just drinking is wonderful.
Being outside in the park, really eating good food and enjoying it since the focus is on that now instead of the drinks.
Anything else you’d like to share with the Sober in Vegas readers?
If you have someone in your life who you know is sober, reaching out to them can be a powerful tool.
I had a few friends who I knew had made the sobriety choice in their own lives and calling them and telling them the truth and asking advice was the most powerful thing I did the morning I decided to stop, and has only brought us closer as friends.