Thursday, January 17, 2019

My Year (At Least) of Sobriety

These photos are from my last beer on December 28, 2018. This might be my second last beer, I can't remember. However, I do remember laying in bed for the entire day after and hating every beer I drank the night before. That was when I decided that 2019 would be the year I stopped drinking.

But it wasn't just this one instance that forms "the reason" I'm going sober in 2019. As with many folks I'm sure, there have been many similar mornings (or days) after a late night over the years that stack on top of each other. They are all the reason I am doing this. The "okay one more glass" out for dinner with friends, or the never-ending bottle of wine at a work Christmas party. All of this adds up. It takes a toll on my self awareness, on my self esteem, on the picture of myself that I have drawn. Is this who I am? If I'm not having a beer on a patio on a hot summer day, who am I?

I guess it was when I started to tie parts of my identity to drinking, that I knew something had to give. This year I am focused on my CURRENT self. Part of that focus is identifying who I am and what that means for me today, later this year, and later in my life (should I be so blessed to get so many days). I am hopeful that once I strip down all of these exterior things - Instagram, Facebook, alcohol, among other things - I can find my true self and work on making her the best she can be.

With a goal like this, I knew I would need to rely on outside support. As dedicated and strong and committed I feel to this today, while January is a blessing it is not ever a fair indicator of what the rest of the year will bring. For example, I lose my shit in November every year without fail. When I started out on this journey I knew that I would need to prepare in advance for those dark days ahead.

Unfortunately, most of the rhetoric and discussion around sobriety doesn't resonate with me. I don't like using the word "clean", I don't identify as an addict or an alcoholic, and using a religious program to quit doesn't align with my beliefs. This meant that I didn't find much support or relevant wisdom online.

But there are people like me out there, and once I started looking deeper, I found inspirational stories. I had already made my decision and found confidence in it, but these resources helped me examine the "why behind the why". And I am hopeful that they will also help me throughout the year when I need help to keep going. I know that I am doing the right thing for myself, but I am also a realist and know there will be low days (hello November!). On those days, when I'm not sure who to reach out to, at least I will have this.

January has been so wonderful for this goal. My hardest moment was when BFF and I went to our favourite pub for dinner and "drinks." It seemed as thought everyone in the whole place had a frosty, frothy beer in front of them, including my date. I could almost taste the beer on my tongue when our server brought our order. The folks sharing our table ordered the beer I would have ordered - the feature tap - and my brain started to overwhelm itself. But I never questioned my choice to stick to water, and eventually we got chatting and the food came and the moment passed. I passed. And when I woke up the next morning and felt great, it felt great.

I am already really enjoying all the FANCY SODAS that come with sobriety! I am set to become a fancy soda connoisseur and this excites me to no end. Please hit me up with all your fancy soda recommendations!

Right now I feel like I need to read and absorb as much as I can about this new thing I am getting myself into, so prepare yourself for a "resource dump".
Queerflex Kyle's Instagram. Sobriety isn't the sole focus of their account, but good news! If you like queer fitness inspiration and general supportive awesomeness, you might find something here!
She Explores episode 92: Quitting Can be a kindness. Interview with Nicole Antoinette
There are no recent posts on Snapshots of Sobriety, but there are loads of archives for me to dig through.
I'm saving this one for the relapse: Relapse Happens by Tawny Laura on SobreiTea Party
The Hip Sobriety manifesto.
What 365 days of sobriety from alcohol taught me about myself and our culture by Krista Jahnke on Medium. This article had some good points on how our culture views alcohol, but was overall a bit too "I'm better than you sheep because I don't put POISON in my body!"...yeah
This Naked Mind, the book & the podcast

I have a feeling I will end up writing a Tuesday Link List with more resources. Now that I've started looking, there are a lot of folks writing soberly about sobriety.

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