I cannot believe that I am writing these words, I am 6 months sober, 6 months without a drink. As I reflect back on the past 6 months I really can say that I have been through every emotion imaginable and it hasn’t been easy, but as time goes on it gets easier and I have to say, life does get a lot better.
I thought I would take a moment to highlight some of the biggest life changes I’ve seen since starting sober:
- Weight Loss – I didn’t set out to loose weight because I already weighed 55 kgs (which at 163 cm is a great weight!), but I have now dropped down to 51 kg’s. I didn’t realise how many excessive calories I was consuming with alcohol and also with the greasy food I would often crave to settle my stomach the next day.
- Mood stability – Whilst I have definitely had periods of depression and anxiety, overall my mood is a lot more stable.
- Relationships have improved – I thought I had pretty good relationships with people, but it turns out that without alcohol, these relationships are improving out of sight.
- Realised that I don’t need alcohol to be social – This caused me a lot of anxiety in early sobriety, how would I handle social functions being completely sober? Well it turns out that I actually do have quite an outgoing personality and despite my insecurities, I didn’t and don’t need alcohol as a social lubricant.
Whilst there are certainly a lot of positives I have experienced since quitting alcohol, I have also had a few challenges, these have included:
- Anxiety – It seems that overall my anxiety is alot higher since I’ve quit drinking. Perhaps it hasn’t changed, but being sober has made me more aware of it.
- Social Expectations – I won’t lie, there is alot of pressure to ‘drink’ in social settings. If you remain sober, you feel like you have to justify yourself to other people, it’s silly I know, but it is true.
- Missing a celebratory drink – I really wish I could be a ‘normal’ drinker and just have one or two drinks on an occasion, unfortunately I am not. There have been times when it would be nice just to have a glass of wine, or a glass of bubbles to celebrate an event. But I just have my water and
I certainly have to say that the past 6 months haven’t been all peaches and cream, I remember vividly the pain I felt when my body went through the acute withdrawal stage, the anxiety I felt every night when I was due to have a drink, and the massive anxiety attack that I had when I went to my first social event sober. But overall the positives have far outweighed the negatives.
To anyone out there who is thinking of drinking, you certainly do have to work at maintaining your sobriety, however you will never look back mentally, physically or financially for finally riding yourself of alcohol.
If you want the kick and motivation to start your own sober journey, look up your local Alcoholics Anonymous office, find a meeting and go. You will find that meetings are full of people just like you and me.