I bought this pin a while ago from Sober Girl Society.
I was riding high from a 100 day alcohol-free stint and my time without it had completely changed the way I felt about drinking. I was determined to no longer use it as a coping mechanism for avoiding the difficult emotions I was facing.
When the 100 days were over, I didn’t go back to the level of drinking I had done so over the years, but I did have alcohol.
This pin sat on my desk and served as a reminder that I achieved something really important, but I was still afraid of committing to swearing off it forever.
I was afraid of having this teetotal label and literally wearing a badge to show that this was a permanent choice; but I still couldn’t shake the feeling that I couldn’t go back to the way things were.
My eyes and mind had been opened and were finally clear – clearer than they’d been my entire adult life – and it was all because I’d stopped numbing myself with drink.
This was obvious, but why was I so afraid of committing to this change long-term?
I’m fine with labelling myself a vegetarian without worrying about judgement; I write openly about depression, in order to help those going through similar issues, without fear – but this? This was a tough label to accept.
Honestly, it all came down to people’s perception of me. I was worried that people would think I was an alcoholic if I said I didn’t want to go back to it. I thought they would look at me differently; I worried that people would call me ‘boring’ or ‘dull’ because I was no longer the one forcing everyone around me to get wasted.
Basically, I had chosen to have alcohol in my life again because I wanted to fit in.
The fact that I’d rather face crippling anxiety, which comes with my drinking, in order to be one of the crowd; instead of just admitting: I hate alcohol and who I become, with it in my system.
At the weekend, I had a wake-up call. I was in London and had a drink of cider. We were having a wonderful time but I could feel the trickle of anxiety gathering in my stomach starting to spoil things. Nothing had happened, nothing was going to happen, everything was going the way it was supposed to, but because of wanting to get into ‘holiday mode’ and having a few drinks, I was in danger of ruining the evening (or potentially the trip) because I thought something bad was going to happen.
It passed, like it always does, but I finally just said ‘no’.
No to fitting in
No to imagined danger
No to shame and guilt
No to me being complicit in my self-sabotage
I spoke with my husband, and a few of my close friends, and explained that something had to change, for good. I asked for support, not their approval, to kick alcohol to the kerb, permanently.
They were all on board with the idea – because despite what fear was telling me: no one actually cares if I drink or not, and all their shaming was completely in my head.
The whole point of sharing this decision isn’t for a ‘good for you’ type response, it’s an invitation.
If you ever want to talk to someone about life after drinking then I’m here for you.
If you’re sober curious, fancy taking a break from it or just want pointed in the right direction towards some amazing writers (who are much more knowledgeable on this subject) or great accounts to follow for inspiration and a sense of community then drop me a message.
There’s no judgement here and never would be, because:
- I’ve probably done worse
- Everyone makes mistakes – seriously, everyone.
- None of us are getting out alive anyway.
So, I guess this is my breakup with alcohol; a sentence I never thought I would say – let alone share with a bunch of strangers on the internet – but there you have it.
One final thing: if you do feel like calling me ‘boring’, make sure it’s for a legitimate, non-alcohol, related reason. I can assure you, there’s plenty to find; but living an alcohol free life definitely isn’t one of them.