I passed my six month mark of not drinking right around Christmas, and spent New Year’s Eve hanging out at my sister-in-law’s playing games. A very nice thing was that I was looking forward to the evening, with no trepidation at all about not drinking.
Of course this might have been different if I’d been at some alcohol-saturated New Year’s party, or just sitting on the couch at home. But I think that the reason why I had a particularly warm-and-fuzzy evening last night was because I was conscious that new perspectives and experiences can open up once you get past the idea that you can’t enjoy anything without drinking.
And boy is that “No Drinking = No Fun” thing real. When you are contemplating quitting, or even when you know in your guts you should, you must quit, one of the biggest stumbling blocks is the dread that rises when you think to yourself, “I will never have fun again.” It’s a bullshit story (you know in your head that it’s not rational), but the feelings that come with it are big, and real, and you can’t underestimate them.
That’s why I thought early on that I would have to pay a lot of attention to people who said “Hey it was my first sober wedding/sober vacation/ sober birthday/sober New Year’s and it was AWESOME. These same people told me that they had once believed sober fun was impossible too. Then of course you go, “Okay well if they can do it I can do it.” For me, I couldn’t beat this message into my own head enough. It’s starting to stick now.
For all the times I can think about where drinking has left me feeling somewhere between vaguely empty and powerless, actually enjoying life without alcohol is an amazingly empowering experience.
Gee it’s nice to start 2018 sober. Not every day feels like a celebration. Not every day is easy. But this morning I am not hung over, and I’m happy. Happy (Sober) 2018 everyone.