It’s now been one year since my last drink. One year since my last hangover. One year since I last woke up at 3 a.m., staring at the ceiling with my head pounding, wondering why I kept doing this to myself.
If you had told me then that life would be better sober, I wouldn’t have believed you. How would I have fun? How would I relax? How would I socialize without wine?
But my relationship with alcohol was becoming increasingly dysfunctional, and I knew it had to stop. At 39 years of age, and a health coach no less, I knew better than to down several bottles of wine per week.
So on one of "those" mornings filled with regret and tears, I decided to conduct a sobriety experiment that would transform my life. And one year later, so much has changed. Here's how my life has become better since I stopped drinking:
1. I have more clarity in my business and life.
Let’s get real. A year ago, I thought about drinking a lot. Every day, I experienced an internal battle between wanting to be healthy and wanting to drink more. It was toxic and exhausting.
With drinking occupying so much of my head space, I didn’t have the capacity to focus on what I truly wanted. I didn’t have energy to pour into my passions. Looking back, I didn’t really know myself and I definitely didn’t trust myself.
Now, I experience the kind of authentic confidence that comes from keeping promises and being able to rely on myself. I have true clarity on the type of life that fills me with joy — and have no hesitations about going after it.
2. I feel liberated.
My mind is no longer preoccupied with thoughts about how much I’m drinking or who might notice if I refill my glass. I feel delicious, blissful freedom!
I don’t waste energy giving myself lectures about drinking so much, or worrying about whether I made a fool of myself again. I don’t experience anxiety over whether anyone can tell that I’m hungover, or what I might have said to people (if only I could remember).
A lifestyle change of this magnitude challenged me to do a ton of internal work. It shone a light on beliefs that no longer serve me, and forced me to heal and release destructive patterns. It cracked my heart wide open and pushed me to be truly open and vulnerable. And with each passing day, I felt a little stronger.
3. I'm healthier — in body and mind.
I look after myself more now. With my increasing self-worth came a feeling of being protective of my energy. I learned to skip events that don’t feel right for me. I’m less of a people-pleaser. I see what’s real, and I refuse to tolerate drama.
I also understand that self-care is non-negotiable if I want to feel happy. I eat well, exercise, take vitamins, and get enough sleep. I declutter often and stay organized to avoid feeling overwhelmed. I gift myself time for play and fun.
4. I have deeper connections with those close to me.
I’m not gonna lie. Social events felt awkward at first. I was always the life of the party, and without my bottle of faux confidence, I felt shy and unsure of myself.
But slowly, it became easier. Like any new lifestyle, with enough time, it becomes normal. It was a new kind of bliss to feel in control of myself, and to be able to drive home whenever I felt like it.
I’ve discovered new activities that light me up, and unearthed beautiful new connections. My friendship circles have changed and evolved as I’ve redefined my vision of "fun." They’re smaller now, but they are true and deep, and fill me with joy.
5. I grew up.
Overcoming a challenge like this forces you to grow in ways you never could have imagined. When I was drinking, I wasn’t the best me. I was insensitive and self-involved. I didn’t know how to deal with emotions in a healthy way because I never had to. I just had another drink!
With that crutch removed, I was forced to become self-reliant. I had to learn how to self-soothe and take responsibility for my decisions. With this came a higher level of emotional maturity.
I’m more self-aware now and a much kinder and more considerate person to be around. I finally feel like the confident, empowered woman I always hoped I’d be.
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