It’s good to be back.
As many of you will know, this is my second time of hitting the 50 days sober milestone. I’m back on the wagon, and this time is different. I’m staying sober knowing it’s what I want and I don’t have the ‘can I moderate/should I moderate’ hanging over me. When I decided to get sober on 29th October 2017, I knew I didn’t want to be sober forever. I knew I had to sort my life out because I was in this downward spiral, slowing killing myself and destroying almost every relationship that entered my life, but I also knew I didn’t want it to be forever. Maybe I was in denial, I don’t know. Anyway, I tried moderation for a year and I decided it’s not for me. This time staying sober is for real and although my recovery will always be taken one day at a time, I’m finding things a lot easier and the benefits are even more enjoyable than the first time round.
People often ask me if I miss alcohol and it always amazes me when people say they drink to get drunk and don’t find that slightly odd. With all the alcohol free options available now, it’s difficult to miss having a beer but obviously if you’re drinking to get pissed, you will miss alcohol, because that’s what it does. We’ve come a long way since AF beers tasted nothing like they’re supposed to and today, you wouldn’t know the difference with a lot of them. I tested my brother a couple of weeks ago. He loves Leffe and I poured him a glass of Leffe 0.0 and he had no idea until I pointed it out.
If you are drinking only to get drunk, whether you think so or not, that is definitely having a drink problem. It doesn’t matter whether you don’t drink every day, month or year. If you drink to deal with emotions/feelings or don’t know when to stop once you’ve started, you should seek help. You can find some links for organisations in my post Feeling comfortable with vulnerability.
I knew my drinking was a problem from around the age of 19. I would kid myself into thinking I didn’t have a problem because ‘I was only doing what everyone else was’ but I was using alcohol to cope with mental health problems, therefore I knew deep down that I had issues with alcohol. Also, I wasn’t doing what everyone else was. Other people didn’t stay out on their own, with strangers and they actually made it home before 3am. My other problem was, I didn’t know where to start with stopping or dealing with my mental health in the correct way.
So, when I had 14 months sober under my belt, I decided I didn’t have a drink problem anymore and I missed red wine too much so I thought I’d give moderation a go. I’d be very naive to think I’d manage this without any slip ups and I knew it wouldn’t be easy but I thought I was pretty much prepared for any difficult situation my knew challenge may bring. I’m not going to go into massive detail but there was a couple of occasions where things went back to the very dark days and I became the person I’ve fought so hard to get away from. On most occasions, I was able to have a couple of drinks and leave it there, feeling happy. That was mainly when I was with JT, close friends and my mum. Put me with my drinking buddies from back in the day and I’m straight back to where I was. I don’t regret trying moderation because I’ve been making positive changes to my life ever since I decided to quit drinking alcohol the first time around. I’ve scratched that itch now and I know it’s not for me. Also, I know exactly what to expect and what I need to do this time round. I’m prepared with the tools I need and I’m enjoying the highs that sobriety brings more than ever.
The benefits that staying sober brings will always outweigh anything that alcohol brings. My fitness has never been better. I’m 41 years old, loving my exercise (something I thought I’d never say) and in the best shape I’ve ever been! I wake up feeling great after 6-7 hours sleep and I don’t hit the snooze button several times making me 45 mins late. When I was drinking I always needed 10 hours sleep and felt horrendous most mornings which made my time keeping horrendous. I can run 10k no problem and I’m hitting PB’s all the time. Something else I thought I’d never say! I eat foods that are good for me and have the discipline to treat myself now and again. I say no to fast food. In my drinking days I would eat McDonald’s, Subway or KFC on a daily basis! The thought of it now makes me cringe. I’m enjoying the simple things that life brings and I take pleasure in what I’ve got, rather than being annoyed at what I haven’t got. Like everyone, I have my moments but without alcohol, life is really good.
I’ve tried moderation and it worked to a certain extent, but I actually missed the positivity that staying sober brings.
I still get anxiety but it’s manageable. My depression hasn’t been around for almost 2 years!
That’s me, on day 50.