Did you know alcohol is poison? Yes, that’s right the alcohol you drink is ethanol, the same type of alcohol you find in cleaning products, fuel, and feedstock. Most people would never guess this or know from the amount of alcohol advertisements we see every day that send the message that alcohol is fun, cool, and needed to get through life. One of the biggest misconceptions we hear about alcohol misuse is that you have to be an alcoholic to quit drinking. This is not true. Anyone can benefit from embarking on a sober life. If you’re sober curious, or just don’t like how alcohol makes you feel, sobriety can work for you. Here are 10 ways my own life got better without alcohol.
1. I no longer suffer from hangovers
I had nasty hangovers. I felt sick for days. I would vomit, have headaches, not sleep well, and feel foggy. No one can operate at an optimal level when this is their perpetual state of being. I skated through life in a fog for many years. When I finally kicked alcohol out of my life, my physical body finally stopped taking a beating.
2. I stopped putting myself in dangerous situations
Even though I didn’t drink every day, alcohol brought me to many scary situations and environments. I made decisions I thought were a good idea at the time, but were actually dangerous. I drove while intoxicated. I went places with people I didn’t know very well. I found myself in unknown areas in foreign countries. I woke up next to strangers, not knowing if I had been raped, taken advantage of or stolen from. When I stopped drinking I removed myself from all of these situations.
3. I no longer need to piece together the night before
When blackouts are common, you might not remember everything that happened the night before. This was the case for me. I woke up rocked with anxiety trying desperately to piece together the night before. I had to beg friends to tell me everything or anything that happened and on nights I got separated from them, I never found out what happened to me or my belongings. I can’t begin to explain the feeling of sickness that arose in me from not knowing what happened. Today I’m grateful I never have to feel that way again.
4. Shame and guilt are fading away
Blackouts, loss of control, irresponsibility, dangerous situations – these things all caused great feelings of shame and guilt in my life. When I got sober I was overcome with these feelings. I thought I was nothing more than a horrible person who deserved every bad consequence I got. Through my recovery, I’ve learned that I’m not a bad person, I was a sick person who got well. Shame and guilt can be worked through and have drastically faded from my life. Since I have removed alcohol, I no longer add more shame and guilt fueled drunken nights and hangovers to my life.
5. I repaired countless relationships and let go of others
I was able to repair the relationship I have with my husband because I eliminated alcohol from my life. I was also able to repair countless other friendships that were strained because of my drinking and they are thriving today. On the other hand, I was able to let go of several toxic relationships that were no longer serving me. Being sober has given me the ability to establish boundaries in relationships and understand more about what I need and want.
6. I became dependable
When I was drinking, no one could depend on me and I couldn’t depend on myself. I was not being a good partner, friend, daughter, sister, aunt, or citizen. In fact, I was contributing more worry and angst to my loved ones’ lives. Once I eliminated alcohol I was able to keep a clear mind and heart and I now have people who depend on me. I can show up for them when they need me the most and that feels good.
7. I had more time to concentrate on new hobbies
One of the best things about not consuming alcohol is the extra time I’ve had to devote to new hobbies and tasks. I’ve traveled more, visited more museums and have seen shows. I started CrossFit and now do competitions. I read and write more than I ever have in my life. I’ve made recovery a pillar in my life and have found connections and job opportunities that way as well.
8. I spend less money
I spent thousands of dollars on booze, drugs, going out, and cleaning up the consequences of my drinking habits. There were countless times when I had to replace cell phones, broken computers, and even broken bones! Once I quit alcohol I knew I wouldn’t have to worry about spending money on these types of things, aside from a random accident or fluke. I was no longer willingly putting myself in these situations.
9. I make deeper connections
I prided myself on having a lot of friendships and connections when I drank. I felt popular, cool, and important. But when I stripped away the alcohol, I realized I didn’t have many genuine connections. In fact, many of them were toxic. Today I know myself better and I am able to make real, deep connections with people. I have relationships that are reciprocal and that fill me up in the right ways.
10. I no longer have to worry about moderating
I spent years trying to find the right amount of alcohol to drink. I so desperately wanted to enjoy life with a glass of wine here, a craft beer there, and a shot of tequila now and then. I drove myself mad trying to figure it out. It was a huge relief when the day came that I finally decided I would no longer try to moderate. I was finally ok with sobriety, and for me it was a big relief.
About the Author
Kelly Fitzgerald is a sober writer based in Southwest Florida who is best known for her personal blog The Adventures of a Sober Señorita. Her work has been published across the web including sites like The Huffington Post, Thought Catalog, Ravishly, SheKnows, Elite Daily, The Fix, Brit + Co, Addiction Unscripted and AfterPartyMagazine. She is currently writing a memoir.