Here’s how Dry January 2019 changed the course of my life, my outlook, and my vacations. three years later, I’m proud to say I’m still alcohol-free!
Originally Posted on my 1-year sobriety anniversary in February 2020:
One year ago, on our flight home from Italy I had my last glass of wine. At the time I didn’t know it would be my last. I just knew I was tired.
Drinking was something that had been so fun at one point, now it just wasn’t anymore.
Society tells you to drink when you’re happy, drink when you’re sad, drink when you’re bored, drink the minute you get on a plane for vacation. Society assumes being sober makes you boring or that you have a serious problem with alcohol.
So, I drank.
After trying dry January I hadn’t felt so great in a long time, both physically and mentally. But I never expected how much that decision to quit indefinitely after our Italy trip would change my life.
In reflection, I didn’t even really like drinking in my 20s, I was an active, happy person with a drive to do big things in life. I actually thought the taste of wine was disgusting! As I began my career and pressure to attend post-work happy hours and celebrations became my regular social outlet, somewhere along the way I lost my motivation, my zest for life. A glass of wine once a week turned into a nightly routine while watching reality TV, a happy hour was never just an hour, turning into a 4 hour long weekday bender leaving me groggy and gross the next day. Days turned into weeks and years and left me feeling unsuccessful and unaccomplished in my career and in life.
Over the past year as I’ve learned to navigate through life without the help of alcohol, I’ve mostly kept my decision to myself unless people ask. I never wanted to jinx myself by talking about it much or stick out by being different. I took it one day, week, month at a time. Social situations were at first intimidating but then became a fun game of duping people around me with my cocktail glass of soda water and lime. Friends who did know I wasn’t drinking were supportive. I discovered it was never alcohol that made us have a good time together.
A few months before I started my journey, I recalled a family friend talking about brewing a beer named “The Motivation Killer”. Funny name, I thought. I filed that away and didn’t think much else about it. Looking back, I realized incredibly realistic that name is!
As I found my sober footing in social situations and the courage to go out without the crutch of a can of Rose or White Claw in my hand, I found a motivation in life I hadn’t experienced in years. That “someday” list of accomplishments became a reality.
Among these I:
- Applied and began an MBA program
- Paid off all my credit card debt
- Finished MANY house projects that I won’t bore you with the details of
- Saved a bunch of money (who knew drinking cost so much!)
- Traveled to 8 countries
- Lost 15 lbs
Through setting these goals and achieving these accomplishments, I’ve regained clarity in life. I know what I do and do not want. I’m less worried about what people think. I’m no longer allowing my life and circumstances run me, I finally feel back in the drivers seat.
Several people now know I don’t drink, so on my 1 year alcohol-free, I thought I’d share the why behind it. I know being sober isn’t for everyone, and it doesn’t bother me when people have a bottle of wine or glass or two of scotch. I don’t even mind if people get a little silly and sloppy around me.
But for anyone who might be sobercurious, I wanted to share my journey. If you have thought about it but aren’t sure where to start, I’ll always be happy to share my insights or helpful tips.
I couldn’t have made it a year without the support of my boyfriend, Prash, or good friends. It means so much that they allowed our plans to evolve into going on afternoon runs instead of the rooftop happy hour. Or making changes to our vacation plans. Thank you for your encouragement and patience as I embarked on an uncertain journey. I’m so grateful to have meaningful relationships.