I have nothing against drinking. In fact, I get why people do it. This was 100% my choice and it wasn’t brought on by a bunch of binge drinking. Actually…quite the opposite.
I hit a point where I wanted to step away from drinking long enough to see how my life would be without it. The whole point was to shift my thinking so much that I’d never see it the same way again, and I think I was successful. Some of this stuff I already knew, and other things just became really apparent as the weeks went on.
There’s lots of swearing in this blog post just as an FYI — sorry not sorry.
Drinking after a hard day isn’t a given
“I had a rough day/week/month and I deserve this,” is something I definitely used to tell myself.
It’s SO socially normalized to feel entitled to binge drink when things are shitty because we want to forget about whatever’s causing the feeling. All we’re doing is using alcohol to take a break from whatever feelings are consuming us. In my case, I would then wake up hungover and usually more depressed than I originally was. It’s like hitting the pause button on life, HOWEVER, the movie’s still gonna be there for when you come back. Being dry forced me to work through some of my pent-up end of the week negative self-talk in a constructive way. I would go to yoga, put on a guided meditation, cook or bake, go for an insanely long walk outside in the cold, get food with a friend or hit a workout class. Laughing honestly helped more than anything.
I also rage-consumed an entire medium pizza to myself one night, but hey, nobody’s perfect.
Self-confidence doesn’t need to come from alcohol
If I was as confident as I am after five drinks in everyday life, pretty sure I’d own Google or Dominos Pizza by now. I didn’t realize how much I used alcohol to boost my self-esteem and quiet the negative self-talk in my head until I had to go out and meet people over and over again without that crutch.
Buzzed Raegan values herself, calls you on your bullshit and knows she looks good in that outfit, whereas sober Raegan seems to act and think like she’s a homely pile of bricks with nothing to offer.
I figured out I was using the drinks as an excuse to feel confident — almost like it wasn’t ok if I just felt that way about myself in everyday life?? Which is dumb??? Wow someone who likes themselves..how radical and different!!! Not allowed!!!!!!!!
But seriously though, it made me come to terms with the fact that I’m allowed to be ok with myself as I am, as weird as that sounds. I don’t need to hide it or blame it on the booze.
Aiming for mental/emotional sobriety is actually what matters
This basically means not just avoiding drinking, but any behaviour that numbs. For me, I found myself eating junk food to feel better instead of drinking. For some people, it might be shopping or swiping on Tinder. Being sober is about stepping away from those behaviours and allowing yourself to be vulnerable and feel what you’re feeling.
This might sound harsh, but If you’re feeling like ass it’s actually better to just accept it. Numbing is what we do when we can’t accept our bad feelings, or we want to feel only good stuff. We’ve gotta stop telling ourselves we are wrong for feeling sad, angry or heartbroken because these feelings are part of being human. Forcing those things down or away is sort of like looking at inspirational quotes when you’re not in the mood — it makes your brain want to vomit.
We can’t be happy or feel great all the time. It’s literally just not how life works.
Weekends are awesome when your stomach doesn’t feel like a dumpster fire
I have IBS, which basically means that if I have over three drinks it’s going to feel like there’s a colony of seasick fire ants living in my stomach the whole next day. The first Saturday after I broke my dry spell I woke up and was immediately reminded of how shitty it is to be incapacitated by a stomach ache like that for an entire day. I know hangovers aren’t that intense for everyone, but even just the fact that I sleep like shit when I drink is enough to make me a grumpy bitch.
Drinking is way women are “supposed to” bond
I already knew this already from watching a CBC Documentary in 2016 called Girls Night Out but it was good to take a step back and think critically about alcohol and it’s larger function. Critical thinking and questioning usually isn’t best done after having a pint, which is arguably why we have the pint in the first place. Because if we really thought about certain things there would be a big ol’ well of #rage underneath.
Reality television, memes, alcohol advertising, Buzzfeed articles, innocent social media posts (like the Cosmo one above) and more all tell women that it’s ok to use drinks to let down our walls, bond, have a wild night, free ourselves of our hangups and tell each other crazy shit we’d never say sober. It’s literally engrained in us socially. Is it fun sometimes? Hell ya. But it’s truly not necessary if you’re friendships are built on mutual values, trust and girl power *insert sparkle emoji here.*
Drinking doesn’t need to be used to make a chill night even chill-er
Ok don’t stab me, but if you’re having a relaxing night in a glass of wine doesn’t really need to be involved. That’s literally just years of marketing and magazines telling you those two things are correlated.
Remember: just because you’re willingly staying home on a weekend doesn’t make you a grandma or mean you don’t like fun. I hate phrases like that after doing this 60-days-sober thing. I just fucking love sleep, ok? That doesn’t mean I’m 90.
When I would stay home and taking a bubble bath, I had to tell myself wine really isn’t necessary. In some cases, it’s literally ornamental (a.k.a a carefully balanced glass of wine on the edge of the tub in a hot-dogs-or-legs-style bath pic). In other cases, I was finding it really hard to unwind. The main thing I learned — that I already knew, but needed reminding of — is that sleep is amazing and restorative and has the ability to change your mood and improve your life more than a face mask and a glass of merlot. But the economy doesn’t make money off me getting nine hours of shuteye sooOOoooOOoo ya.
Just know that I’m not coming from a holier-than-thou place where I’m saying I’ll never drink again. In fact, I did miss good ol’ beer and wine during January and February, but I now fully understand the role alcohol plays in my life and that seriously outweighs my love of a good rosé.