“I’ll have just one more drink.” an hour later, “yeah, sure. Just one more.” And the cycle goes on.
What are we covering up? What are we scared of? What’s being hidden by a glass of Merlot or my favorite IPA? That’s what I’m figuring out right now.
Roughly, 30 days ago, (February 11) to be exact, I told myself that I wanted to try out sobriety from alcohol. Now, I’ve played around with this concept (of giving up alcohol) before (June 2018) when I was going through an online course and I had a group of women who also wanted to be sober from alcohol. We chatted, in our group chat, about the struggles, successes and mindset shifts that we had to complete to really be the sober version of who we are.
Then, before you knew it my birthday came, in August (hello, fellow Leos!) and, oh sure, I’ll have a beer on my birthday (cheers!). Then a friend came to town who I’ve always drank with and of course, we had drinks at the beach. Then Christmas and New Years came and we just had to buy our favorite champagne from New Mexico (yeah, from NM, but it’s quite delicious from what I remember). But why? My drinking, at age 31, consists of fun while it’s happening, like, so much fun from my beer goggles’ perspective, followed by days and days of feeling hungover. Of feeling guilt about how much I drank and why didn’t I drink more water and feeling bloated and puffy and all around not great. I could feel the booze oozing out of my skin and just looking really drab. Not cute.
I noticed that when I drink, I’m less productive at work, I’m less likely to work on my biz (there have been more Saturdays than I care to admit, of popping champs at 10AM and drinking all day, watching TV and really doing nothing productive within the last few years), I would completely write off Friday nights for working on anything because that was when we drank beer. I would always wake up in the middle of the night with my skin feeling all oozy and weird, my mouth tasting stale and rancid, feeling like shit, wondering why the hell am I putting myself through this when I know there’s a way to NOT feel this way. To be Sober Curious.
So I went to the Facebook (yes, I call it THE Facebook. Remember when it was, thefacebook?? circa 2005… but I digress), where I belong to many groups and I asked, or maybe I saw someone talking about books to read for when you’re ready to get sober, can’t remember, and Ruby Warrington’s book, Sober Curious was at the top of the list. I read it last week and what I really like about this book is that she mentions the difference between being sober curious (meaning if you want to have a drink, you will, but you’re mostly sober) to being sober sober (you don’t drink AT ALL). I choose to say that I’m sober curious because I don’t want to limit myself to saying never ever because in my world, that’s not the best way for me to live. So for now, I’m 30 days sober, from alcohol, and it feels really fucking good!!
What do we drink now? Well we’re really into kombucha, likely going to start brewing our own here in a few months! Since we’re currently buying from the store, our favorite is Health Ade and our favorite flavors are Ginger Lemon, Cayenne Cleanse, Pomegranate and Jalepeno Kiwi Cucumber. It’s a great bubbly alternative since my alcoholic drinks of choice are beer and sparkling wine.
It wasn’t always this easy to stay sober…
Rewind to college (I didn’t drink in high school) in fact, during my freshman year of college, I went to an event and had a little flyer hanging up in my room that said “sober is sexy” and I really thought so. I went to a large public institution (always ranked as a top party school), so of course alcohol sucked me in. All my friends and sorority sisters drank and it wasn’t forced on me but I was alcohol curious at the time because drinking was so frowned upon at my house and none of my friends drank in high school so I thought that college was the right time to try.
And boy did I try. In college the norm was drinking Thursday - Saturday nights, sometimes Tuesdays and Wednesdays were thrown in there with the bars that were right on campus having drink specials specifically for the college students. It’s no wonder the college has the party reputation. No surprise that I gained the freshman 15 (more like the freshman 20-30!).
I got sucked in. Partying all the time. Making bad decisions. Blacking out. Kissing strangers, many times doing more than that. Basically, anything I could have done to treat myself like shit, that’s what happened. I was even SUPER hungover at my college graduation. I’m sure many people were, but it still doesn’t make it any better.
Then I moved to CA…
Right after college and the cycle continued. I always found the crowd of people who drank because it made us all be friends and fit in with each other. The one thing about my situation in California is that you have to drive everywhere. I cringe when I think about how many inebriated drivers there are on the roads out here all the time. I was one of them.
One night, I was on my way home from hanging out at a brewery and bars with a few friends and I was really drunk, like there’s no way I should have been driving, and I totaled my car, crashed into a lawn, passed out in my car until the police showed up. I went to jail that night. Not even my closest friends know about this. I had never even had a speeding ticket, parking ticket, nothing until that night. It happened on my grandpa’s birthday and I know he was looking down on me that night like, “Missy, what the fuck are you doing? This needs to stop.” I’m fairly certain I had an out of body experience, I thought it was a dream. I willed it to be a dream. But it wasn’t. It was real. That’s what I thought about in jail that night. That’s what I thought about when my mom picked me up and shouted her disappointment at me, when inside, I was beating myself up more than anyone could know. I think I held a lot of shame at first, sometimes I think I still do because I don’t talk about it with anyone other than my hubs, ever.
I gave up drinking for a while after that. When I went to my final DUI class/check-in, I’ll never forget the counselor looking at me and saying, “I never want to see you here again.” I went right into my car and cried my whole 20 minutes home and even when I got home for a while. It struck me so much that I never wanted to be in that situation again. I never wanted to feel the guilt (I didn’t feel shame about it because I know that I’m not a bad person for getting a DUI, I just made a bad decision). I’m pretty sure I numbed that pain with some funny TV before I went to bed.
What am I trying to run away from by drinking alcohol? I drank because I had a bad day at work. I drank because I had a good day at work. I drank to celebrate. I drank to drown my sorrows. I drank to cut loose. I drank to de-stress. I drank to feel like myself and I think it has taken me more away from myself than closer to myself.
Fast forward to 2018 - 2019 time frame
I’m in my 30’s, hangovers last for DAYS… I always feel intense guilt around myself when I drink. I feel like I didn’t do the things that I said that I was going to get done. I feel drained. I feel like I’m not taking care of myself. I find myself drinking out of habit vs. drinking because I want to or because I get joy out of doing it.
It is interesting that years ago, around 2012, I gave up soda because of its harming effects to the body. In 2017 I gave up meat and dairy to become vegan because of animal cruelty but also for my health. Both of these were very easy for me to do and I’ve slipped up but to be honest. The only time I have soda is either when I’m really sick and need a ginger ale, or when I’m hungover and really “need” a sprite. If those two life changes can happen for me with such ease and with really great side effects, then alcohol is no different. Plus there more are added benefits to not drinking. After 30 days, my skin is already clearer, my sleep is blissful and it feels so good to be productive on the weekends and not be hungover.
Sober curious doesn’t just start and end with alcohol.
We’ve also been getting sober curious about sweets (dessert, not just sugar) and TV. For me, strangely, TV has been the hardest one for me to give up. I’m not saying that I’ll never watch TV (just like I’m not saying I’ll be sober sober from alcohol) but the just sitting on the couch and watching countless hours of the same TV show over and over again has got to stop. For me, it’s not just watching TV, but it’s mindlessly watching while also being on my phone and watching my IG stories, rather than actually being present with the TV show that I’m supposed to be “watching.” Last year, we decided to get rid of our Netflix and Hulu accounts because, as I stated in the last sentence, we tended to watch the same 5 shows over and over and over and we wouldn’t just watch the show, we would have the TV on and be scrolling through social media or looking stuff up online or anything else but actually watching the TV. Now, when we watch TV it is while connecting with each other through foot rubs that Josh and I do together every night. We watch one TV episode per foot and then either go to sleep or start doing something else.
Sweets has also proved to be difficult since I like to end the day with a nice, small, piece of a dark chocolate bar. In Sober Curious, Ruby suggests not to give up alcohol and sweets at the same time, so I’m being kind to myself when I want a small piece of chocolate, I just try not to have a large piece of cake. I haven’t gotten far enough along in this one to really notice changes in my body or mind, but I hope to get there soon and have something to share. I’ll keep ya’ll posted.
I track my sober curious journey for alcohol, sweets and TV on an app called “I am Sober” it’s free on the app store and I highly recommend it!
Now, I’d love to hear from you!
What are you getting sober curious about? What’s one thing that deep down you know is holding you back from the life of your dreams? You know what it is. Are you ready to confront it? My guess is, if you made it until the end of this super raw post, you are ready. Write a comment, send me an email (firstname.lastname@example.org) or DM me on Instagram (@missymscott) to share your story!