This isn’t one of those articles that sounds bad in the title, but turns out to be a feel good about all the great stuff that is going to happen. Nope. I don’t blow smoke, this is real talk.
1) You Will be F*cking Bored:
Yep, bored, and probably lonely. The realization of the sheer amount of TIME you have will hit you like a ton of bricks. All that time you used to spend planning your next drinking event or get together, plus the time to get ready for said event, and then of course, pre-gaming for that event if you’re really a drinker.
Not to mention working out transportation, who will meet who where, maybe standing in a line, or going to a store. Then there is the time spent drinking, and the big one, time spent recovering.
All that back and forth communication, all those tasks, ALL THAT TIME.
Yep here come the bricks, are you ready …
YOU HAVE HAD ALL THE TIME YOU NEEDED TO REACH EVERY GOAL AND DREAM YOU’VE EVER HAD AND YOU CHOOSE TO WASTE IT.
All the hours you’ve poured into your drinking life are all of sudden available, and the glaring realization that you haven’t been doing anything of any value with your life sucks.
You could have been volunteering, starting a business, going back to school, investing in your marriage, doing personal growth, traveling, making new friends, changing lives, or just playing with your kids.
Thinking about starting to do any of that now sounds scary, and exhausting, uncomfortable and risky.
2) You Will Question Things You Don’t Want to Question:
Being around your partner, your friends, or your job is going to raise some questions for you. You might find the things they talk about to be boring, or their little character flaws to actually be major deal breakers. You might look around at your job and wonder what the hell happened. None of these are fun things to question. No one wants to face them.
The clarity you experience is freaking terrifying. Facing how much of your life is a delusion you are creating is very off putting and emotional.
Things like: Am I just with my husband because it’s the best I think I can do? Do I not want to try for a better job because I don’t think I’m worth it? Are my closest friends holding me back? How will I ever make new friends, find a new partner, or get a better job ? Who else will accept me if they really get to know me? The broken flawed me…
That is some heavy shit and you have been working super hard to ignore the nagging voices in the back of your head about this. The sobriety isn’t the reason for the questions, it just gets rid of the clouds that have been dulling them.
3) You Will Want to Drink Again. Really, Really, Badly:
As you have the realizations that you have actively chosen not to “be successful” or “live life to the fullest” etc. it will seem SO much easier to just go back to your old ways. Thinking about changing relationships and jobs will make settling seem like the best possible option.
You may even drink, and that first drink will quiet the voices a bit and everything will seem right with the world. You will wonder what you were ever worried about, but they’ll only be quiet for a bit.
At least if you go back to drinking you can pretend like all those realizations never happened right? I’m afraid it doesn’t work this way. The thoughts were always there, you’ve always know, and now that the voices have had a nice clear path to shout at you, they’ll always be a little bit harder to drown out.
So, I’m really selling this no drinking thing huh? Just ready to jump on that bandwagon any second now I’m sure LOL.
Here is the thing, YOU CAN CHANGE. You just can’t expect it to all be sunshine and roses. Improper expectations are the root of disappointment and failure.
The truth is that people don’t just wake up one day, after a lifetime of drinking for fun, and decide they love to go hiking on Sunday instead of hang out at a bar for Sunday Funday. It isn’t easy to take the steps to find the right things to do with your time.
As you try out new things, they aren’t going to seem as “fun” as drinking did. You may do 10 things before you find something you want to do a second time. I urge you to commit to relearning how to spend your time and choose things that align with a dream or goal you’ve ignored.
Choose things that will bring you growth in your life and align you with positive and grateful people. With that will come new friendships, new experiences and a new perspective. It will take time, but everything worth having does.
Don’t be afraid to reevaluate, or reinvest in, important relationships. You never know what kind of changes may end up doing everyone around you some good. Distance from certain people may show you that you aren’t as dependent on them as you thought. Space from others may reinforce your love. Only one way to find out.
I have been sober for varying lengths of time as an adult and I’ve learned a lot. I think support and resources really help. Right now I’m working my way through two books that I highly recommend you check out if you’re considering taking some time off from, or completely quitting, drinking:
The 30-Day Sobriety Solution: How to Cut Back or Quit Drinking in the Privacy of Your Own Home
The SMART Recovery Handbook
I’m not here to say that drinking is bad, or wrong. I also do not claim to be abstinent from alcohol. I have, however, made enormous strides in my life and grown through these difficult changes, so I know what you’re going through and how much you don’t want to hear this.
I really hope you’ll take this post to heart and REALLY look at your life, what you want, and what the choices you are making every day are leading to.
The CHOICE is ALWAYS yours <3