Learnings From A Year Of Sobriety

Last Friday,May 24th, marked a year of sobriety for me and i would like to share with you my experiences during the time.

I had actually contemplated quitting a few months prior to the day i actually decided to do it but kept on procrastinating because,well,being drunk feels so freakin' good. The reasons for quitting then were that for starters,i hated waking up every next day feeling like shit. It did not make sense to me to continue spending so much money on something that makes me feel like death is near every morning after a night out.

The second reason was that i had just had a daughter so i had to find a way to accommodate the new bundle of joy and the expenses that she came with. I had to find a way to shed off a couple of expenses in my budget and for the aforementioned reasons,alcohol was up there.

The third reason,and the most significant in my opinion,was that i felt like my drinking was gradually getting so bad that it was getting to a point where i could not control it anymore so i wanted to stop before it eventually got to that point. I had not been the kind to get sloppy drunk but the months prior to quitting,those cases of drinking so much that i did not remember anything about the night before were getting more frequent and that was a red light for me.

It was of my opinion that getting that drunk was fun back when i did not have someone whose life was completely dependent on my presence and since i had that person now,it would have been selfish of me to expose myself to the dangers that came with being sloppy drunk and risk her having to go through life without me because i chose a good time over her.

So after pondering over those factors,i came to the conclusion that it was better for me to just quit. The first attempt failed dismally because after only a month,i fell off the wagon. As if it were the universe lending me a helping hand in my mission,the first time i got back to drinking after that very brief hiatus,i spilt wine on my laptop and fucked it up. After that, i was so annoyed that i swore to myself that i would never drink again. That incident was the last nail in the coffin of my drinking and from that day,24 May 2018,i never drank again.

The first 3 months were for me the most difficult and for a reason that you wouldn't instantly think of. It was not because i found it hard to keep the urge to drink away.Nope.I hated the smell and sight of alcohol and i still do. It was because, for the first time, i realized how much my social life revolved around drinking. I would go out and feel awkward standing around, not knowing what to do with myself without a bottle or glass in my hand.From time to time i would resort to buying some juice just so i can have something on my hand but there is only so much Appletiser one can drink in one night.

The other annoying thing was the constant quizzing from people about why i was not drinking. I did not mind it when one or two people asked but when it became the norm and not the exception on nights out, i just fell like punching the person on the throat every time. The sneers and comments about emasculation that came with  tee-totaling were a constant source of annoyance but i was determined to go through with the sobriety mission hence i eventually learnt to not let them deter me from that path.

After the first 3 months,it became much easier for me because i had managed to build a social life which did not revolve around drinking. To be honest,the social life actually built itself. I stopped hanging out with some people and some stopped hanging out with me because,i realized,and i guess they realized it too,that the common denominator we had was no longer existent. I found new hobbies like reading, writing and working out which i allocated the time i used to spend on drinking and that helped me build a new lifestyle which did not revolve around alcohol.

This year of sobriety taught me a couple of things. The first one was that i am not as broke as i thought i was. Ok i am broke yes but it is not as bad when you are tee-totaling because you find that you can actually afford a lot of things from the money that you used to spend on alcohol and that feels really good,little victories.

The other learning is that our definition of a social life is so flawed. So much of this social life is just you going out,getting sloshed,waking up feeling like shit and doing it all over again. Remove the alcohol from these occasions and you realize how bland and monotonous your "social life" actually is. You get to realize that you actually don't have that many friends,most of them are just drinking mates who won't hesitate to move on to another pack if you quit doing the activity that normally brings you guys together.

The most important thing i learnt,i have to say, is that the hardest thing about quitting drinking is not quitting the actual drinking itself. What is hardest is actually having a social life which does not involve getting sloshed when your previous definition of a good time was exactly that,being sloshed.

So my advice if you are trying to quit is that first,you have to have reasons why you are doing it and be resilient on your intentions to not doing because you are getting to get not only societal pressure to drink but pressure from yourself too.

I do not think there is anything wrong with drinking if you feel like it is not having any negative impact on you either financially,mentally,socially or otherwise. As long as you can handle your liquor,keep having fun but the moment it gets to a point where you feel like it is having a negative impact,its best to consider maybe putting that bottle down and contemplating other options of "having a good time".


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