It's Okay to Stop Drinking
Mia at The Sober Glow, says that “you do not have to have a drinking problem for drinking to create problems.”
Sometimes, it’s just time to stop drinking. It doesn’t matter why, and you don’t have to even have a reason. You want to stop drinking? Go for it!
Society wants you to think otherwise, because people have a tough time with change. When most of your friends drink, and you decide that it’s not for you anymore, or you aren’t sure and are questioning your drinking habits (sober curious), they won’t LOVE the idea that you’re stopping. Okay, that was true for my friends. Maybe you have really cool friends and they want you to do whatever makes you feel happy. Regardless, at the end of the day, it’s your life and you get to decide.
I decided to release alcohol from my life in January. I have played with having a drink here or there, and I realized that it’s not working for me. It doesn’t make me feel good. It takes me out of alignment and disconnects me from my path. It doesn’t “loosen me up” or provide “a few laughs”. I am sure that it did, for many years, or at least it seemed like it did for some time. You can listen to my story about why I released drinking from my life on my podcast, Access + Expand (click here).
Someone asked me if drinking had an impact on my spirituality. Not surprisingly, it’s the other way around. My spirituality became so expansive that it began inching out what no longer served me. It didn’t feel like a big deal for me to stop drinking. So many people in the breathwork community are sober, providing a strong sense of normalcy around it, so for me it was just the next logical step.
Really, I’m surprised that people aren’t applauding my choice to stop drinking. I was a messy, nasty drunk. I picked fights, and acted in ways that weren’t pretty. I tried walking home from bars and parties that were miles away, because I was mad… about something (usually something I fabricated while drinking). I dumped my problems in people’s laps. My drunk texts were unreadable, because my eyes would cross so often that I couldn’t see the keypad. There were even times when bars stopped serving me because I’d had a few too many.
On the flipside, the sober community is growing. There are companies like Seedlip that make non-alcoholic distilled spirits, and there are bars that only serve non-alcoholic drinks. There are so many people who have released drinking alcohol from their lives, and they wouldn’t consider themselves to be alcoholics. They just don’t want to drink anymore.
I was recently asked why I use the word “sober” instead of the phrase “not drinking”. (I use both, but this person doesn’t love the word “sober.”) To me, they mean the same thing, and the word sober leaves less space for confusion. But I know that it can be a triggering word for people who still drink. He asked, “People who never drank don’t say they are sober, so why would you?” My response was, “Why not? It’s the truth. And I did drink.”
It seems that, in my life at least, everyone isn’t as comfortable with my sobriety as I am. I think they are way more comfortable with me just (using the term) “not drinking” or going back to drinking, after all. As someone who drank often, everyone I chose to spend time with drank, too. I don’t think anyone ever had a problem with my drinking. I wasn’t out at bars often; I’d have a few glasses of wine on the weekends, or a couple vodka seltzers. Sometimes, I’d have wine during the week, or a drink. On vacation, I’d probably drink every night (but doesn’t everybody?) and didn’t think twice about it. It wasn’t anything that people would shake their heads at. Yet, my little shift has had a big impact on them. I’m not sure why. There is one less glass coming out when the wine is opened, and I’m not adding vodka to my seltzer. But why else would what’s in my glass matter?
Maybe, just maybe, my choice to say “no” to the offer of alcohol turns the mirror on them. Maybe they think I expect them to follow suit (I don’t), or feel pressured by my decision. They might think that I am sitting in judgement (I’m not). Maybe they aren’t prepared to spend time with someone who isn’t drinking into the fuzz. I can’t pretend to know what other people are experiencing, and that’s not my business anyway. They get to live life on their own terms, and unless their choices directly effect me, they don’t concern me. I’m very happy staying in my own lane. And I absolutely love them for who they are.
I can celebrate, deal with frustration and problems, show up to new situations, go to bed, sleep, and even hang out at a party without needing a drink. I wake up feeling like myself. That’s enough of a reason for me to stay the course, and it feels really, really good.
If you are interested in dipping in on a discussion around my relationship with alcohol (including the time I jumped out of a moving car), tune in to my podcast track: Access + Expand: Tuesday Dips with Tiffany Curren DRINKING/ALCOHOL.