Originally published on Medium. I am reposting here on my 200th day since I stopped drinking.
I made this as a comment on a friend’s facebook status about their wanting to cut back/stop drinking. Today makes 125 days since I stopped myself, which is about 4 months. I’m sharing it here (with some edits) just in case someone else might be considering taking the plunge. I know that other people sharing their decisions helped me out a lot. I hate feeling preachy and by no means does anything positive I’m doing for myself or saying about it makes me feel that I’m better than anyone else. Far from it. I just got to a point where I knew this is what I needed for myself.
Everyone is going to be different in how they can make it happen but if you REALLY want to make it happen, you will be able to do it. I struggled for a long time telling myself to do it.
I started by telling myself and everyone around me I was just doing 30 days knowing damn well I wanted more than that for myself. I never thought I’d be able to do this but I did. I am. I still have no desire to drink. I’m very anti 12 steps for myself, personally. That part is a bit hard to explain.
What made things easier was not changing my day to day much and just truly wanting to be more present in my head and around others and face life with a clearer perspective. I continued to go out to bars and hang out with the same people who were my friends and supported me because I know that the things I want for myself will include nightlife and bars and people drinking. A lot of “friends” had already turned their back on me instead of recognizing my subtle cries for help and trying to encourage me to seek help. I understand that it was nobody’s responsibility but my own, but I was very surprised to see the people who turned their back vs. the people the stood by me and/or became even better friends in support of where I needed to go.
When you finally make that commitment to yourself, you’ll slowly start to appreciate not being hungover. You’ll start to see other people at the bar being sloppy. That made me recognize I don’t want to be that person anymore. You don’t need to be completely inebriated to start to show signs of not being in control. You’ll start to see who is out there handling themself drinking in legit moderation. You’ll start to admire those around you more who have chosen to stop drinking or those who CAN drink in moderation. The positive reinforcement from the universe takes a little bit to surface but if you search for it, it’s there and it only gets exponentially stronger as time goes on.
You’ll realize people will not notice you aren’t drinking when they offer to buy you a drink. You’ll notice they apologize profusely that they didn’t know you were now sober, only to turn around and offer that same drink 10 minutes later after just having the sober conversation with them. It will make you not want to drink or be that person even more. Most people’s own guilt surfaces pretty quickly even if you aren’t trying to guilt anyone. Once again, I don’t feel that this path makes me better than anyone.
I’m personally not good at moderation. What made it easier was, once I admitted that, I also admitted I really can take control of how my body feels the next day.
For the most part, I kept it to myself and my close circle of friends that were still there for me for the first ? days to make sure it was for me and nobody else. Once I was a little more public about it the positive reinforcement really flooded in.
I paid more attention to people in and around my life, as well as on Facebook, who were making those changes in their own life and chose to channel inspiration from them. It was eye opening to see so many people who I thought had life figured out and were doing great things open up and share their decision to take steps to face things in their life and share that they were silently struggling too. It made me feel a tiny bit less alone.
My FOMO (fear of missing out) is slowly going away and I’m still trying to find out how I had time to get anything done when I was drinking or hung over. I’m working on trying to be more of the person I want to be instead of getting drunk and pretending I’m doing all those things. Your sense of smell along with other senses will be tuned up a lot more and that is a very wild feeling I heard about from others. It was crazy when it started to become a reality to me.
I know this is a bit ramble-y and by no means a proper essay with proper grammar and sentence structure but nobody in this world is perfect. This is how I’m letting my message come out right now. You just have to really want to do it and then execute it.
If you are going to start the journey to sobriety, even if it is a temporary thing, start doing it and “Don’t talk about it, be about it”. I know this is me talking about it, but I HAVE been about it for this long and in hindsight realize that other people sharing has helped me get started as well as continue to keep doing what I’m doing. If this makes sense and inspires at least one person, then it was worth sharing.