When I first thought about giving up alcohol, I was worried about what other things I’d be giving up. Would I still be fun? Would my friends still like me? Would I still get invited to things? Would relationships change? Would I become a hermit? Would all my social life as I knew it, end?!
The funniest thing about it, is that all the things that I actively worried about losing didn’t happen and the things that I did in fact lose, took me by (pleasant) surprise. Here were the main 10 things that I lost when going sober:
1. The fear
We’ve all been there, waking up the morning after a heavy night, looking around nervously to see if we are in our own bed, looking for phone, bag, keys, is it all there? Then comes the dreaded check of the mobile phone to see who you called and text last night, you can’t remember sending any of these messages but god you wish you hadn’t sent them. You check your bank balance last and your heart sinks, apparently you thought you were a baller last night and bought everyone drinks. When you go sober you never wake up fearful again.
2. The 3am kebabs
Why oh why did we think that was a good idea, never have I ever fancied that sober. Also the smell the next day when you wake up and you’ve left the box in your room, drunk you is not clever. When you go sober you lose a lot of empty calories!
3. Spilling my life story to a complete stranger
I am so grateful for losing this one, I don’t know how many strangers I’ve told intimate details of my life too, but I know for sure that it’s too many.
4. The cuts and bruises
I used to wake up a lot of the time with injuries that I could not explain, one time after a particularly heavy night I woke up with a rolling pin size bruise down my leg and to this day I still don’t know how I got it. Now the only bruises I get are self-inflicted, mostly from walking into tables… still hurts but at least I remember.
The horrible 3-day hangovers that mine were in the end, either being sick all day and unable to move, or feeling like a zombie and needing to eat everything in sight, making me feel worse afterwards anyway, go figure. I will never, ever tire or waking up on a weekend and not feeling hungover.
6. Fake friendships
You know the ones, the ‘friends’ who you would only see because they were always up for a drink and vice versa, they didn’t have your best interests at heart they just wanted a drinking buddy. Since going sober I have not lost any real friends, any relationships that did fall away sadly weren’t a real friendship in the first place and least quitting the booze gave me the space to realise this.
7. The bad skin
You don’t realise it at the time but when you drink a lot your skin becomes so dry, spots would appear and I would bloat so easily, I look back at old pictures now and think why didn’t anyone tell me I looked like that? Slowly but surely I have rehydrated myself, taken time to do an actual skin care routine and de-bloated!
8. Pointless Arguments
You lose a lot of silly fights when you stop drinking. You know the kind, someone thinks someone has said something, or looked at someone in a funny way and because of the alcohol it all escalates. There is none of that when you’re sober, now if someone has upset me I will just tell them in a calm and controlled manner.
9. Wasted weekends
The amount of times I would sleep in till 1pm on a Saturday or Sunday and waste the whole day. You lose all that when you stop drinking, now I am up stupidly early on my days off, (probably to the annoyance of some) but I just want to seize every moment of my time off now, it’s all so precious and there is so much you can do when you get all these hours back.
10. Doing the same thing over and over
One of my favourite things about sobriety is that my life is so different and varied now. Previously my weekend would consist of going out, getting drunk, spending too much money, doing something embarrassing and then spending the rest of the weekend hiding in shame and sleeping off the hangover ready to go back to work on Monday. Now I plan different things every weekend, I’ve been doing everything from sea swimming, entering running races, learning a new language, going for a coffee and cake or checking out an art gallery to more adventurous things like meeting up with total strangers who have become firm friends in the sober world, visiting other cities and countries, hosting my own local sober event.
The world is my oyster now and it can be yours too.
Written by Sarah Stewart
Sarah is 29 years old and based in Hastings. She works as a conveyancer and has been sober for 18 months. In her spare time she writes a blog for an alcohol-free drinks company called Drift. She has two cats, is obsessed with F.R.I.E.N.D.S tv show, loves reading, writing, going to the gym, sea swims, any kind of fitness challenge and eating out, food is a big passion of hers and she’s always on the lookout for new restaurants to try. Find her on Instagram @sobersare_