Thursday, 18 January 2018

Four unfamiliar aspects of going alcohol-free

Following on from yesterday's blog 'Same same but different - part one' where I looked at the aspects of going alcohol free that I have found similar to my previous attempts at sobriety, today I am looking at the differences.
Bye bye booze!

So, what is different this time around?

Putting my story out there - BrenĂ© Brown states that 'owning our story can be hard but not nearly as difficult as spending our lives running from it. Embracing our vulnerabilities is risky but not nearly as dangerous as giving up on love and belonging and joy—the experiences that make us the most vulnerable. Only when we are brave enough to explore the darkness will we discover the infinite power of our light.'  So, I have taken the decision to share my story - warts and all - and out myself as a fledgling member of the sober revolution.  Through revealing my vulnerabilities I am connecting with a staggering number of people who can relate to where I have been and where I want to end up.  I also hope to recruit a few others to join the revolution so they can share the same positive changes as me.

My support network - This comment was posted on Facebook about my blog this week - 'Stopping is one thing. Staying stopped is another. It is the hardest, yet most rewarding journey ever. I hope she finds the right people to support her'.  I wholeheartedly agree with this sentiment as I am pretty good at stopping but pretty poor at remaining stopped and I know the importance of finding a supportive tribe to fight my corner with me.  This time around I have taken a different approach and I am shouting from the roof tops that I am no longer drinking, to rally the backing of friends. I am also using sober support networks to keep me on track.  For anyone interested in adopting a similar approach, Club Soda seems to be home to the most like-minded ex-drinkers for me.  What I love about these alcohol free groups is that they are ridiculously supportive and non-judgmental because we've all been there, done that and got the T-shirt.

Overcoming the stigma of being a non-drinker - Clare Pooley, author of The Sober Diaries writes on her blog'When I first quit drinking, I told no-one... I imagined that if I told my friends that I'd quit that they would judge me and assume that I'd been a terrible lush (partly true) and a terrible mother (not true, at least not most of the time). I thought they'd label me boring and stop inviting me to parties. I thought they'd worry that I'd become all preachy and judgmental (as if I'm in a position to judge anyone!)..'  Most of these thoughts have been running through my mind and it's apparent that there's something wrong with our society for us to feel marginalised for giving up an addictive substance! The more I have read, written and published, the more I realise that these prejudices and stigmas stem from systematic brainwashing and fear.  I am starting to see that there does seem to be a growing army of us who are calling bullshit on the 'boring'/'judgmental'/'raging alcoholic' labels attached to non-drinkers and I want to be on the front line of that army obliterating those stigmas and making it easier for others to make the same choice as me and to be able to talk about it with pride.

My resolve - I have stopped drinking a gazillion times before, but mostly as a temporary thing with a fixed end date so from day one I was always counting down to when I could drink again.  I know now that I don't want to leave the door ajar to the possibility of drinking and my resolve is set very firmly on this final break-up with alcohol.  Jason Vale states that 'once you make a firm decision [to stop drinking alcohol], you cut off any other possibility and doubt; so whatever happens in your future life, drinking alcohol is not just not an option but something that you have no interest in doing.  You have moved on and are free.'

And that really sums up how I feel about drinking right now.  It's over, once and for all, and I've already taken the first steps into my new life without booze and I feel free.

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  1. I started a/f as a Dry January bet with myself. Now I find that I’m not counting the days until I can drink, I’m looking forward to counting the days when I don’t. February means a holiday with friends and I am looking forward to sharing a glass of wine with them but and it’s a big but, have I learned anything about moderation? If I haven’t and I slip down the slope of excess that’s when I need to challenge me about “now what”. Thank you for sharing your thoughts and experiences, it helps to know that you aren’t the only person going through these changes.

    1. Thanks for taking the time to post Elaine. I have found in the past that when I start drinking again I can do moderation for a while but bad habits slowly creep back in. That's why this time round I'm going for it. I hope you can manage moderation better than me and you have a fabulous holiday with your friends. :-)


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