The Myth of Miserable Sobriety: Dropping alcohol shouldn't bring you down.
You don't need to be miserable when sober.
It can be challenging to imagine life without alcohol, especially in today’s society, where social events, celebrations, mourning, success, failure, milestones, observations, holidays, and special occasions often revolve around drinking.
This mystery of how one can be happy without liquor is also compounded by the fact that sobriety has many addicts hating themselves, feeling envious, and in a state of constant struggle.
While that may be the case for some, it’s also nothing like that for many others, and I exist in these “others” category. I don’t want alcohol, I enjoy the hell out of my life without hangovers, I have an improved mindset and memory, I’m never a liability to my friends or family, and there’s no risk of legal issues when I’m out late and partying.
That’s right; I still party too.
I’ll go to the bar, order drinks, and stay until closing time, as it’s not alcohol that had me out and about; it was me, and sobriety doesn’t take that away. I will say this; sobriety has me lacking any patience for drunks. In my 2.5 years of sobriety, I’ve learned that nobody gets better with alcohol in their system:
They get repetitive (wicked annoying)
They get emotional (hyper sad/happy/angry/intense)
They get sloppy and rude (I’ve lost respect for many)
Nobody gets better with alcohol.
However, many people (myself included) are finding the joys of being happy while sober and discovering that it is possible to have a good time without alcohol.
Those same people realize that sobriety offers what alcohol sells:
Happiness in Life
A Sense of Control
The first step to finding joy in sobriety is recognizing you’ve lost nothing.
It’s not that you “can’t drink”; you don’t have to drink and that (eventually) you don’t want to drink.
You are an adult with at least $20 in your bank account; you can buy booze and drink any time that you want; the gift sobriety offers is removing the pressure of following the script you’ve been reading from for so long:
Spending the money on booze.
Increasing your risk of all forms of Cancer
Consuming too much food/drink and feeling like ass the next day
Running the risk of legal trouble with your heightened emotions or driving
Sobriety will have you more alert and productive, as alcohol can make it more challenging to concentrate and focus. You will also save money and make better decisions, as alcohol can cloud judgment and lead to unwise decisions. Additionally, you will be able to enjoy more difficult or dangerous activities when under the influence, like driving a car or doing crazy activities.
One of the things which drove the benefits of society home for me was knowing that when alcohol was removed, I was always prepared for an emergency. If there was a fire, robbery, sick wife or child, etc. I’d be ready to handle it as a family man should.
I don’t know if I’d ever be able to forgive myself if something had happened in the middle of the night and I’d not been mentally coherent and capable of handling it at the expense of my family.
Imagine calling yourself a good leader, only to be drunk when it was time to lead; one’s reputation would take a long time to recover from that if it ever did…
This realization is one of the reasons I’d decided to go in on creating a Private Telegram community (The SOBER Self) focused on sobriety. I wanted to be around other individuals who’d made the commitment to alcohol-free living while giving them a space where everyone “got it” as nobody understands addiction like an addict, it’s not something a book can teach you.
Another great way to find joy in being sober is to focus on the physical health benefits. Without alcohol in the body, you will feel more energized and better able to exercise and stay active. There’s a reason my fattest self was boozing, and my fittest self is sober; I removed the inflammation and internal destruction that was going on because of the habit. You, too, will see that you have more control over your weight, as alcohol is full of empty calories and then you look at the munchies and mixers you have with the drinks, and it’s easy to see why the pounds are adding up.
And importantly, you will be better able to take care of your mental health, as alcohol increases feelings of depression and anxiety.
You say you drink to relax, but alcohol doesn’t put the fires out in your life, it just removes the batteries from your mental smoke detectors.
Contrary to Popular Myth: Sobriety offers many social benefits.
When sober, you will be more present in conversations and less likely to be jockeying for the center of attention, a behavior brought on for some by their drinking habits. At the same time, it’ll also keep you from becoming a quiet recluse, a behavior also brought on in many when they drink. Socializing without alcohol in your system will have you more mindful of your interactions with others and better able to make positive connections. Additionally, you will be able to be more conscious of your behavior and how it affects those around you, as alcohol can impair decision-making and cause people to behave in ways they may regret later.
This is a great way to keep a strong reputation.
Ultimately, being happy and sober is about finding joy in the little things. From taking a walk on a nice day to spending time with friends, there is always something to enjoy without the presence of booze or the hangover/recovery from drinking. So, if you’re looking for ways to be more content and fulfilled without alcohol, remember that there are people whose social lives, internal contentment, relationships, health, and mental well-being all improved because they decided to stop paying to poison themselves.
- Zachary Small
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