I don’t plan on drinking. It’s just not on my radar like it was before. How amazing is that?
I was always the party girl. I was the one who many times in my teens and beyond, had to be dragged home by my friends, with little memory of it the next day. Typical fun girl, right? So many have the same story. As life went on and I got married and had kids, the challenge and overwhelm and general stressors of life didn’t stop me!
Granted, my drinking changed socially as I took on adult living, but I found I would look forward to it more and more as added “life stuff” came into play. Countdowns to 6pm were the norm. I needed that escape from the day, mentally and physically. I would think to myself, “Hey, I’m not alone in this. According to social media, everyone else is waiting for wine o’clock too! So, I’m fine!”
Meanwhile, the amount I was drinking, and frequency of cocktail hour was just becoming too much for me to accept as “normal.” I was thinking about it to the point where I needed it to stop. I think I started following sober people on Instagram and became very intrigued by the “Sober Curious” movement that is continually growing these days, and OYNB started popping up in my news feeds. My curiosity was answered then and there.
When I first joined OYNB (2.5 years ago), I didn't really know what I expected. I think I hoped and dreamed that I would miraculously be free of the constant thoughts of when I can start my daily treat. I wanted to feel better physically, of course, but I wanted to just stop thinking about it all the time! ‘Should I drink tonight?’ ‘I’m not doing it.’ ‘Oh, just tonight.’ ‘I’ll get there eventually.’ The same thing, every single day. I was just so tired of it. I was surprised at how easy it was to give in at the beginning, and tell myself, I’m not that bad. ‘It’s Tuesday-the worst day of the week. I deserve it!’ ‘It’s Wednesday-Hump Day!’ ‘Thirsty Thursday!’ ‘I’ll just moderate (ha).’ It took me probably 30-day 1s and some reflection, for it to click. It was a long, slow process to get where I finally wanted to be.
The alcohol-free advantage
The biggest benefit that I have found from going alcohol free, is the natural joy we have the potential of feeling in the everyday life; the things that are so very small- my children making each other laugh out loud; my husband snuggling with the dog on the sofa; the mundane trip to the grocery store and finding new things to create at home – WITH my kids! All the little things are so much more gratifying now. And these are things that just passed me by 107 days ago. I haven’t lost weight. My skin is the same. BUT I hear that isn’t the case for many who go AF. The physical benefits are enormously internal, as well as the mental. The external benefits will come with time.
The OYNB support
There is absolutely no way I would be where I am now without OYNB. I have heard it said lately, there are not many safe places on social media anymore, and this group is one of the few places left. This is a group of everyday people, some who casually want to cut back on drinking, and some who desperately need to make a life saving change, yet we are all here with a similar goal and every one of us is completely judgement free and want to give nothing but support and love. It is an incredible community that I will keep with me for life, no matter where my journey takes me.
My perspective on drinking has shifted naturally with the time I have finally put into it. I always say that I will never say never again. It’s too big for me to commit to an alcohol-free life. But I can say right now that I don’t plan on drinking. It’s just not on my radar like it was before. How amazing is that? I went from obsessively thinking about it all day long, to the opposite. There is so much more time to put my thoughts to more valuable and rich use. I’m so grateful.