So why Sober October (as it was deemed by my friends)? I think the obvious answer to anyone who knows me is that Beth+Beer is like peas in a pod, knives and forks, ketchup and grilled cheese, Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers.. you get it. I was getting to a point where my drinking was becoming an issue and it took some great friends and some honest family members to point it out in a not-so-gentle way. It wasn't that I wasn't going to work or was shirking my responsibilities, I was "functioning" as they say. It was more so that I had gained 50lbs in one summer, was incredibly unhealthy, spent way too much money, and was spending far too much time imbibing or recovering. So not drinking for 31 days seemed like the right thing to do at the right time. If I'm being honest, I was only going to stop for 28 days so I could celebrate Halloween with my friends.
Here are a few things I learned in those 31 days:
- It really helps to have a friend be sober with you.
- There is no shame in telling people you don't/aren't drinking. I thought people wouldn't want to hang out with me during my 31 day stint, but that just hasn't been the case.
- I saved SO much money! When we play trivia my tab is next to nothing because there's not expensive booze on it.
- I am still funny without alcohol (but I'm sure my comedic abilities were exceptional while intoxicated).
- I drink so much more water than I ever have, which I hear is good for you.
- I gained so much time to do things that are important. I think of all the time spent at a bar and how much more productive I could have been and I cringe a bit... maybe more than a bit.
- I feel 95% better. I sleep better, I wake up feeling better. I don't have hang overs. I get up early and get things done instead of lying around in a fog all day. Weekends are so long!!
- I feel less bloated and gross and I think I'm down 10+ lbs in just one month. Crazy.
I think the most important thing I learned in those 31 days, and something I was a little nervous about to be honest, is that I don't NEED alcohol. I think I used it as a band-aid for a long time and instead of coping with things, I just got drunk. Now I'm at a place in my life where I am content, ready to be happy and healthy, and am supported by a great network of friends and family. Drinking became a habit and I was a little worried I wouldn't be able to kick it. Most things in my life revolved around it (trivia, bonfires, dinner parties, going to the lake, etc. etc. etc.) and yet, here I find myself not missing it one bit. I won't lie and say I don't miss the bar scene, because I love talking to people, meeting new people, and the whole vibe. But, I don't have to miss that anymore because lo and behold, as the universe often seems to work, I started working IN a bar where I get the same opportunities to chit chat while serving alcohol instead of consuming it. A win/win if you ask me.
Well, I didn't drink on Halloween. I went and played BINGO, went thrift shop perusing, and went to dinner with my Sober Bestie and had a great time. I also haven't drank since, nor do I see myself picking it back up again anytime soon. 36 days going strong. That's not to say I won't have a few beers here and then, but I will never, mark my words, ever, go back to how it's been.
A huge thank you to everyone who has been super supportive during this time and put up with Sober Beth (I hear I was a little cranky for a bit)... and an even bigger thank you to Torrie who took this journey with me, has also stuck it out, and who I can still laugh uncontrollably with over the dumbest little things. To think we thought we'd be boring sober! Only great things to come, I feel it.