Sober For 2017 was just that. An experiment for a year, to give my body a break from the constant cycle of poison and hangovers. I'm not sure it crossed my mind at the beginning that I possibly wouldn't drink again .. the intention was always to celebrate the completion of a sober year by getting pissed up on Prosecco!
I knew I could abstain from alcohol for short periods of time. I'd completed Dry January before. I'd even pushed Dry January into mid February one year, but never got further than that. My thinking was that, in the grand scheme of things, a year isn't that long right?
By the time I'd hit January this year, I'd already been sober for 5 weeks. I'd survived Christmas and New Year and had lots of Dry January contenders on my wagon. It was comforting to know I wasn't alone but I must admit that January made me assess the enormity of the task ahead.
A year now felt like a very long time and made me start to question just what I'd taken on. I started thinking about alcohol free holidays and weddings and sober parties and gatherings. And it scared the shit out of me. I mean, can you actually have fun without getting absolutely annihilated? That's what social occasions are all about right?
I began to understand that Sober For 2017 wasn't just about choosing soda instead of Sauvignon. It wasn't just about saying no to Prosecco and gaining a love for coffee. No, it was a complete lifestyle change. Saying no to booze was literally the tip of the iceberg.
Becoming sober changes everything. It affects your sleep, your energy levels, your friendships, your work, your social life, your opinions, your conversations, your tolerance levels, your happiness, your emotions. Once you stop harming yourself, you can see exactly how much damage you were doing in your little bubble of doom.
I think my peak of excitement and pride was hitting 90 days. I was high as a kite with happiness! It felt like such an achievement. I'd gone further than I'd ever been before and I was starting to see the benefits. The blog was growing at amazing speed and the weight was falling off. I think it was around this point that I started to realise that Soberdom was for life, not just for 2017.
Today, I've achieved the next milestone of 6 months sober. I'm still astounded this is me. Party animal, night owl, pisshead extraordinaire. My life has changed beyond measure.
It is truly unbelievable how much influence one substance can have on your life. Alcohol is a believed to be a fundamental part of adult life, of British culture. When are we going to wake up and understand it is an addictive drug that ruins lives? When are we going to start teaching the next generation that there is life beyond alcohol, that we are ok as human beings and don't need a crutch to enjoy ourselves?
When is there going to be a campaign against alcohol like there is about other drugs? When are we going to explain that alcohol doesn't make you sexy/happy/rich/slim? In fact it makes you the complete opposite.
My intention is not to drink again however, as a former drinker, I am realistic enough to never say never. My ambition to remain sober is strong and I am a firm believer that if you want something enough, your dreams can become a reality. Soberdom is not easy but neither was my life before. At least now I get quality sleep & my skin looks good!
The universal rule for Soberdom is 'one day at a time'. It's a great rule. Apply it to everything. Enjoy every moment. Life is too short to spend it in an alcoholic fug. Stop waiting for Friday and treat Monday like it's the best day ever. Jump on my wagon and enjoy the ride. It will be the best decision you ever made.