What I've Learned Being Sober
It's been four weeks (a little over actually) since I gave up booze. For a whole month plus two days I haven't touched a drop and, in all honesty, I haven't found it too hard. This probably has something to do with the fact that I scared myself shitless and keeping the memory of that feeling close to me means that turning a drink down is easy peasy. But, there are times when it's more difficult and after a month without booze - the longest I have ever gone since I tasted my first drink - there are a few things I've learned...
My grocery bill is much cheaper. Wine is expensive.
Meals out are half the price. I spent a lot of money on wine.
Booze really affects your sleep. Since giving it up, I've slept deep, deep sleeps (when I get a bloody chance to sleep between waking babies and a three year old with night terrors).
Regardless of whether I drink or not, I'm still exhausted every morning. That hasn't changed.
What has changed is the total lack of fuzzy head, furry tongue and foggy brain.
I've lost half a stone...
...even though I eat more crap. The evenings are the worst and instead of a glass of Malbec, I can be found shoving sugary shit down my gob box. You win some you lose some.
My patience has improved immeasurably. This could be because I'm more well rested, my mood is affected by the booze, I'm not rushing the kids through the day to get to the glass of wine at the end of it...who knows.
My kids like me more.
My husband also likes me more. We've had less fights. I like him more too.
I've been more productive - my evenings have been filled with work, writing, reading (mostly while watching The Walking Dead) rather than drinking a bottle of wine (while watching The Walking Dead).
I have done no more exercise. I thought I'd want to jump head first into a new healthy routine but in reality, that hasn't happened. Yet.
Although I am making healthier eating choices.
Having the option to drive somewhere in the evening, or for lunch, is a freeing experience and it's nice to not have to throw cash away on an uber.
Going out without booze was scary at first.
Going out without booze is actually ok now. I don't have the staying power that booze gives me but there's nothing wrong with being home by 11pm ('m so rock n roll).
It took a while to find my feet socialising without the booze but I've realised that I'm just as funny sober as I am drunk (which wasn't mega funny to start with).
Waking up after a night out without a hangover is a fucking marvellous experience...and one that I can't help but feel a bit smug about (I know that's totally not on brand...sorry).
Annoyingly, I've realised that if you do stay out late and sober and don't make it home until 1am or later, you still feel like shit the next day. Hangovers are at least 50% about the lack of sleep as much as the amount of booze.
There are no surprise transactions on my bank account for spontaneous rounds of drinks made up of two bottles of champagne and a round of shots. That's a pricey order right there.
I drink way more water (good) and shit loads more coffee and tea (bad).
A month in, I still don't know whether I'll ever drink again but right now I'm happy being dry.
I'd love to be able to drink again without putting myself or my kids at risk...who knows?
I've discovered that tonic and fresh lime is the bomb.
As is the orange and lemon San Pellegrino.
I'm not interested in 'fake booze'. A non-alcoholic beer doesn't taste as good as a tonic and fresh lime. If I was a vegetarian, I wouldn't eat Tofurkey either. Just sayin'.
Going public about your alcohol issues is really, REALLY, fucking scary.
Going public about your alcohol issues makes your journey much, MUCH easier.
Going to an AA meeting was the damnedest scariest thing I've ever done. I sat in the car for about twenty minutes building up the courage to walk through the door.
I was really unlucky with the meeting I chose - I was the only one there.
I haven't been back to another meeting partly because I'm on my own with two kids while the husband is touring and partly because I haven't felt the need.
I've been overwhelmed by the response to my blog - it's very, very possible that unhealthy drinking habits are rife amongst women, amongst mothers.
Losing control of your drinking habits, being an alcoholic, having an alcohol dependency problem is nothing to be ashamed of.
Taking back control is something to be mega, mega proud of.
I received over 140 emails and messages from men and women saying that they had the same issues.
I received as many from people telling me I was brave and courageous and strong (although auto-correct has a habit of changing 'brave' to 'brace' so that was funny).
I received zero negative emails. Zero.
Nothing but support and love has come from me spilling my booze-hound beans.
Life is better without the guilt associated with every glass of wine I had at night after the kids had gone to bed.
Life is just a bit better.