Dawn discarded alcohol as her comfort blanket and gave up drinking on 27th November 2016. After having a sober Christmas, New Year and smashing Dry January, she started writing a blog to chart her year of sobriety. Here are some of her sober musings about leaving alcohol behind and rewarding yourself in other ways.
Have you ever?
Have you ever got up in the morning and tried to do your routine backwards? Even if it’s just something small, like having breakfast before you shower, or putting on your socks before your jeans? Have you tried strange food combinations? Or landed in a foreign country with no idea where to go? Or worn something all day that just felt ‘wrong’?
This is what it is like to become sober. It means stepping out of your comfort zone. Discarding the trusty old comfort blanket of booze.
Feeling like your glass is half full
Initially, it feels like there is definitely something missing. Something big. There is a gaping hole in your soul that can only be described as an intense internal nagging. Something is very wrong. You feel incomplete. The nagging is there, day and night, even in situations like work where alcohol never featured. It’s the little tiny voice, highly irritating, reminding you of what you think you need.
In fact, the truth is you are actually whole without it and that alcohol is the master of deceit. You can survive without it. You just have to learn how and part of that is breaking habits and riding the triggers like waves.
It never ceases to amaze me how habitual we really are. How a song on the radio can flood the mind with memories from 20 years ago or how a smell can remind you of something you hadn’t thought of since you were small. Or how a situation can really make you want a drink.
Not to treat alcohol as a treat
As well as drinking to oblivion, a lot of us drink/drank as a reward. We drink/drank because we were happy or sad, bored, had survived an hour/day/week at work, got a promotion or got dumped. Any excuse.
Being rewarded starts very early on in life and therefore is cemented in our brains by adulthood. Last week, the sun came out. Wow, that was a trigger! Combine that with a full moon and we all went slightly crazy!
I was dreaming of a large glass of chilled rose wine. Why??? Why on Earth is that all I can think about because the sun came out? Why not BBQ food or watching the sun go down or getting a tan? Well, those things did creep in but the first thought was most definitely alcohol. Why do we romanticise it so much? Why do we have to celebrate every little thing with the poison?!
Fast forward a week and I survived. I didn’t succumb. In fact, I haven’t given the blush a second thought. The sun has risen and set every day and I haven’t felt the need. I am learning how to live and enjoy life without washing it down with a glass or two of poison. I thought this weekend would be hard but as my thought patterns are adjusting and the habit is gradually being broken, the tiny voice was actually inaudible. Or perhaps I just chose not to listen.