If some of you follow me on instagram (@sassysobermum) you will have seen I am posting a lot of content at the moment driven by follower messages. One of the most frequent topics I get asked about is how I managed to get sober.
First off, it feels almost impossible to imagine a life without any alcohol at all. How do people enjoy life without booze? What will events look like for you; weddings, parties, dinners with friends, Christmases, how on earth are we supposed to navigate all these scenarios without a glass of alcohol in our hands?
People share their personal stories and concerns over getting sober with me daily and I remember feeling the same way myself. Its completely natural to fear everything when you’re thinking of launching yourself in a life of 0% beer and saying no thanks to wine at every future occasion. It is overwhelming to make a decision you want to quit and then actually just, well, quit.
The truth is you have to buckle up and brave it. You have to walk the walk before you know what the walk even looks like, otherwise you never get into sobriety at all.
What I would say to people fearing the sobriety unknown is to change the questions you ask yourself. Ask some of these questions instead, or at least as well as all the other typical fear driven questions:
What would life look like if you quit booze?
What would life look like for you if you didn’t stop drinking?
How long can you go on feeling guilt/shame/anger/frustration/hungover?
Is there a better life out there for you and if yes, what would that feel like?
What opportunities do you feel like you are missing out on because of your drinking?
What do you think you will learn about yourself if you got sober?
When you play out the ‘fun’ of a night out, what are the bits that are really the *fun* bits (be really honest)? Is it the anticipation of going out or the company you are with, rather than the actual drinking itself?
Do you know of anyone who is living a fabulous life sober? What do you want that they have?
What is the true cost of your drinking to your health, your life and your relationships? Think about time, money, the aftermath, the embarrassment and organ damage etc.
Imagine how you might feel and look in 12 months of sobriety. What does this picture of your future self look like?
If you don’t try sobriety now, then when do you think is the ‘right time’?
Are you concerns about sobriety shared by others in the same position? i.e. are you concerns unique, or does everyone entering sobriety have the same worries? If yes, this is brilliant, as it shows we have all waded through the same issues and concerns but still ended up with a fabulous sober life!
The thing is, there are always going to be events to get used to without drinking. Christmas, birthdays and easter won’t go away just because you’ve stopped drinking. However, there is a big light at the end of the tunnel; you learn to live and really enjoy these types of occasions without alcohol. Not only do you genuinely feel connected and enjoy these moments, you lose the worry of how much you’re going to drink and whether you’ll make a fool of yourself, or feel horribly hungover afterwards.
We can all ask the scarier questions to ourselves, in fact the brain quite likes you to remain stuck in your bad habits and makes it easy to sit trapped in denial. BUT, and it's a big but, you have the power to change everything. You have the opportunity to become free and that starts with a single decision to try. You can replace every negative thought about sobriety with two positive ones if you apply yourself to it.
If I were you, write out the list of concerns and then the list of benefits from being sober. Keep that list and review it often.
I am yet to hear anyone say 'I wish I had never got sober’, but I do hear all the time ‘I wish I could live an alcohol free life’. Try it, and be prepared for lots of ups and downs. Make sure when you are asking yourself the bad stuff that you balance it out with all the good stuff that's coming in sobriety.