Photo: Thomas Leuthard
When you give up alcohol 24 hours ago, you learn a lot of profound things about yourself, the people around you, and the world in general. Here’s what I’ve learned since I woke up yesterday with the mother of all hangovers and swore I’d never touch a drop again.
1. Don’t listen to the haters.
When I first said to my roommate Jenny, “I’m never drinking again,” she didn’t take it seriously—in fact, she just laughed! Little did she realize I was making a major life decision that would, within the space of just 24 hours, bring me closer to physical, emotional and spiritual health.
Some people can be intimidated by the fact that you’re an empowered, sober woman taking control of her own life choices. Some people might even lash out because it makes them question their own relationship with alcohol. That’s what I told Jenny, anyway. “But I don’t even drink,” she protested, but I cut her off. Sober me doesn’t have time for Jenny’s shit.
2. You don’t need alcohol to get through brunch with Sandra.
We all know that drinking is indelibly tied to certain social occasions: birthdays, weddings, and brunch with Sandra. In my 24 hours of sobriety so far, I’ve already had to deal with brunch with Sandra. Talk about diving into the deep end!
I was nervous before going in. Who would I be without a drink in my hand and a hipflask in my handbag and a bottle of wine in my wine handbag? Would I still be able to have fun? What if Sandra asked why I wasn’t slurring my words and hurling my pancakes at the waiter like I’m used to?
Turns out I needn’t have worried. It was refreshing to discover that I don’t need to be sloshed to Instagram latte art with Sandra. I was also surprised to learn that Sandra wasn’t drinking either—it turns out, she never drinks at brunch anyway! It’s amazing what you find out about people when you’re conscious.
3. You become healthier, thinner, prettier, smarter, better, and nearly perfect.
It was hard for the first few hours, but pretty soon after giving up alcohol forever I began to feel better in every conceivable way. More energy? Check. Clearer mind? You know it. Perfect skin? Check out my selfies and see for yourself!
Some might say it was the hangover clearing, but I knew in my heart it was the new sober me coming out for her day in the sun.
4. You find out who you really are.
Without the crutch of alcohol to fall back on, over these past 24 hours I’ve had to do some serious soul searching. Who am I? Where am I going? What am I doing with my life?
Outside of my normal vodka martini-induced haze, the answers that appeared before me really opened my eyes. All this time I thought I was a sassy thirty-something career girl with a killer sense of humor—but it turns out I’m actually a feisty, funny go-getter in the prime of my life! It’s discoveries like this that help you learn to embrace your true, unique, and beautiful not-drunk self.
5. It’s okay to slip up.
No one’s perfect, and I’ll be the first to put my hands up and admit that my one-day journey to sobriety hasn’t been an easy ride. I’ve had my moments of weakness, and at times I’ve fallen off the wagon. For instance, last night was Julie’s baby shower, and I just couldn’t resist having a little swig from my flask while sobbing about my tilted uterus alone in the bathroom. After that, who knows what happened? All I know is I woke up this morning in a Toys “R” Us with my face in a plate of Play-Doh spaghetti.
But that’s okay. It’s only by making mistakes that we grow, and I won’t waste energy dwelling on past mistakes. Or present ones, which I why I’m telling you this from a bar.
From now on, the only way is one day at a time. And that’s why I’m looking forward to discovering what else I can learn on Day Two of my new, clean-living, sober lifestyle.
Also, wine doesn’t count, right?