Alcoholic. When you hear that word, what image comes to mind? Is it the drunk, out of control father sitting in his comfy chair in a wife beater pounding sixers and wreaking havoc on his wife and family? Is it the stumbling homeless guy who smells like pure ethanol begging for change on the corner and sipping something out of a brown, paper bag? Maybe it’s ...
The following articles deal exclusively with sobriety and sober living. From getting sober, to dealing with cravings, to staying sober long term, you’ll find a variety of tips to help you on your sobriety journey.
Congratulations! You're newly sober and absolutely killing it. It's been a few weeks (or months) and you're finding your sober stride. Things are looking up! You're working out, you're taking care of yourself, you're reveling in this new you that is radiating all over this blue planet of ours andddddd.... you've never been so lonely. As it turns out, this amazingly sober "you" is having trouble connecting to the people in your life.
You've finally done it. After months (years?) of going back and forth with yourself about your drinking habits, self-reflecting, devouring recovery memoirs and self-help books, and secretly joining Facebook groups for sober people, you've decided to change your life. You're going to quit drinking. Congratulations! You got this, and on those days when you don't, there is an entire virtual community of folks in the exact same boat who will support you and keep you on track. But what about the people in your real life? The ones who call you to go to the bar every Saturday or your significant other who owns half the bottles in that liquor cabinet in your living room? Or what about your work boo who likes to bring over a bottle of rosé and dish about all the people you can't stand at the office? How are you going to tell them that you're not drinking anymore?
Over the past few months, I've been struggling to piece together what in the world is happening with me and soda, in particular, diet sodas. When I quit drinking alcohol in December 2016, I realized that I was consuming way more soda and sugary foods than I had before. I was told that it's normal, that lots of people "switch" to sugar when they stop drinking. Switch? I've been thinking a lot about that word. If I've switched, that means I've taken one thing and replaced it with another. In this case, that thing is drinking copious amounts of alcohol (not great) with drinking copious amounts of diet soda (also not great). It was my last remaining vice and I desperately wanted it. But it also indicated that I hadn't done a single thing to heal whatever drove me to drink too much in the first place.
I’m now reaching the five-month mark in my sobriety (and, EEK, pregnancy) and there is one benefit that I am luxuriating in right now: reclaiming my formerly pickled brain. Even in the thick of pregnancy brain fog, I still find myself in awe of just how much room there is inside this dome that had been previously clouded by a booze, hangover, anxiety cocktail. Towards the end of my drinking days, I noticed that I had difficulty thinking clearly. I was no longer able to tap into my “zone” and produce interesting content when I sat down to write (which was almost never at that point), nor did I possess any motivation to try. I no longer got lost inside complex thoughts. In fact, I was actually starting to forget things regularly. I would have to write everything down because I was incapable of remembering something in the short term for longer than a few minutes. We often laugh about moments when we walk into a room and have no idea why we came in there, but that was becoming my normal. It didn’t scare me necessarily, at least, not as much as it should have. Instead, it just made me more depressed. Whoever “I” was, whatever construct of self I held previously, was slowly vanishing.
I’ve been doing a lot of opining recently for the days of yore. You know the kind I’m talking about. The days when you would sit outside at a bar or house party after a long week of work, perfect weather, drinking cheap brews, smoking cigarettes, and talking shit before heading out for some food and more imbibing later in the night. When opining, these nights are always perfect. Nobody got too drunk or made an ass of herself. At worst, somebody got a little too gracious buying rounds, but ce la vie. When the night draws to an end, we take our happily buzzed selves home, crawl into bed, and wake up the next morning fully able to function. Perhaps there’s a slight headache, but nothing a cool glass of water can’t fix. This memory is mostly false, as is the case with all memories. We pick the pieces that seemed good and fill in the blank spots with the fluffy half-truths necessary for a pretty picture. This unicorn of a night may have existed once, but what’s more likely is that somebody took a stumble, or had to throw up in the bar bathroom before heading back out for round seven. It’s more likely that the food run was some high caloric burrito you had no business eating and probably saw again after lying down and getting hit with a mild case of the spins. It’s more likely that somebody got talkative after a few drinks and said something embarrassing about herself or someone else. It’s more likely that a regrettable text message got sent or a number given out to a total stranger you had no intention of seeing again. Or maybe that stranger came home with you. It’s more likely that the next day didn’t start until after lunch and you couldn’t really get going until it was time to hang out again and you had your “get right” drink.