Stop Drinking Start Living
Sobriety Offers Everything that Alcohol Promised...Sobriety Offers Everything that Alcohol Promised?
That is a quote that I had taped on the wall next to my computer when I was first trying to stop drinking. I got the quote from a blog called Unpickled and I prayed that it was true. I hated the idea of being sober. Drinking had been a part of who I was for as long as I could remember. No one really saw me as having the kind of problem with drinking that might require me to go sober. But as I neared 50, the call to pour a glass of wine at the end of the day had turned into a sort of Siren song that was luring me to crash against the rocks. One glass led to one bottle which was never quite enough so a second bottle was routinely opened.
When I was in my 20s and 30s there were many occasions that I remember waking up hungover after a killer drinking session with friends. Sometimes I was full of regret on those mornings, but usually, I was savoring great memories of connection with great people over great food and it seemed to me that drinking was an integral part of that connection. But the last couple of years that I drank alcohol was having a very different effect on me and on my relationships. My drinking stopped being about connecting and became about disconnecting. I would wake up hungover after a killer drinking session of me alone, me and my bottle, isolated and focused 100% on drinking to get drunk but having no control over how dangerously drunk I got ….
and I would wake up with no fond memories of anything
just an empty sense of doom….
When I was young I drank because alcohol promised connection, and eventually I drank because alcohol promised me comfort, but it gave the opposite in the end. It left me cold and alone and afraid, the relationship had become symbiotic, parasitic, dark and empty.
I read a great quote once that described it perfectly
The man takes a drink
the drink takes a drink
The drink takes the man
That blog I mentioned at the beginning, Unpickled, is written by a woman named Jean who also hosts a podcast called The Bubble Hour. It starts with an intro that is a song written and performed by her. That song, the words and the gentle strength of her voice, became the sound that helped me turn away from my alcohol siren, stop drinking, and finally break free. And at five years sober I got to thank her on her show Here
It is true! I have found that Sobriety does offer everything that alcohol promised - except the hangovers and shame. Sober I am vibrant, connected and fully alive in ways that I never was when drinking. At peace with myself and fully free.
Drinking alcohol has been sold to most of us as the elixir of life since we were young children. I remember as a child listening to the grownups downstairs having a GREAT NOISY TIME while I went reluctantly up to bed. I romanticized their drinking. To my mind as a child, the alcohol made the party. The drinking was social and it was “sexy” and the adults were doing one of those mysterious GROWN-UP things that I ultimately aspired to do too. I was sold a way to behave by their example.
I’m not buying the idea anymore that alcohol is the elixir of love and life and I haven’t for a long time. I had to fight to get to the point where I felt good about not drinking though. There is such a stigma around needing to stop drinking in our culture. People are made to feel less than if they cross that unclear line between normal drinking and drinking too much. It took years of questioning my drinking and worrying over whether or not I was an alcoholic before I was finally able to stop and when I did finally stop drinking I felt battered and insecure. I needed someone to encourage me to see my choice as reaching for hope rather than running from despair.
The blog Hip Sobriety, which was one of the many that helped me feel strong and positive, has done a fantastic job “Rebranding” sobriety. When I read posts from that blog five years ago, Holly’s writing, as well as the title of her blog, helped me feel ok about needing to stop drinking. She helped me feel empowered rather than afraid. She helped me feel strong and self-determined rather than “defenseless” and “ashamed”. She helped me look forward rather than back. Holly has recently published a book, Quit Like a Woman, that will reach many with the message that living alcohol-free is empowerment, not weakness.
Annie Grace, who wrote the books This Naked Mind and The Alcohol Experiment focuses on re-branding sobriety as well. With her books, and videos and the online program, she wipes away the cultural hard sell we’ve gotten since childhood. The conditioning that makes you think that drinking is essential to a life well-lived.
And then there was Hello Sunday Morning, the community where I blogged through my first year sober. Hello Sunday Morning, was started by a 21-year-old Australian nightclub promoter who decided he wanted to see what he could accomplish by taking a year off the booze. He decided to promote not drinking for a while as his avocation and by 2015, when I signed up, Hello Sunday Morning had grown into the world’s largest online community of people supporting each other to change their behavior around alcohol.
The newest “brand” message on HSM is wonderful.
” Our vision is a world where drinking is an individual choice, not a cultural expectation. A world where confidence and identity aren’t measured in standard servings. A world of better choices, fewer hangovers and unforgettable Sunday mornings. “
Hello Sunday Morning
When the Hello Sunday Morning community evolved away from the format that had helped me and so many others change their relationships with alcohol I started my own community to try to replicate the early HSM model. A community of peers with people in all stages of working through their own goals concerning alcohol. A community away from the frenetic often commercial noise of social media. A place focused on the empowerment of finding out who we are as individuals when we stop numbing out and dumbing down. A place that offers the possibility for tremendous growth in a quiet, supportive, creative space.
And my brand became ” Rethink the Drink. Open your Mind to the Possibilities. The Spirit is Not in the Bottle it’s in You ”
Alcohol is the only drug that people will question you for not using but we understand how it feels to lose your off switch. If you are drinking too much too often, maybe we can help. We are an independent, private, anonymous community forum. Working together to re-brand sobriety for ourselves in a world that sadly glorifies binge drinking. Talk to Us.
How do you go Sober?
B Be accountable Talk to Us We Understand
A Avoid alcohol like the plague Ideas Here
L Let yourself enjoy regular sober treats Ideas Here
A Allow yourself to cry when needed Ideas Here
N Nourish your body with good food Ideas Here
C Create happy & fun memories Ideas Here
E Enj#boomrethinkthedrinkoy the precious moments in your day Ideas Here
W Work hard to get what you want Ideas Here
O Organise things for less stress Ideas Here
R Realise you can’t control it all Ideas Here
K Keep going & prepare for success Ideas Here
S Sleep enough for body & mind rest Sleep Solutions