The Sobriety

What I learned from being sober for 6 months

Abstract

You know those people that annoy you because they’re so preachy and holier-than-thou with their vegan, planet-saving, say-no-to-drugs lifestyle? Yeah, this isn’t one of those posts. This isn’t one of those posts about how I had an alcohol problem and I am a better person now either. And this definitely isn’t one of those posts where I judge you for your personal drinking habits, so don’t get defensive.

Buuuu-uut as y’allready know, I did a personal experiment to cut out alcohol from my life. And yes, I am aware about how obnoxious it can be that I keep talking about this, like “we get it, you don’t drink; cool.”

The following are my data.

Important Dates

  • June 19, 2015: drank at Noble Ale brewery
  • July-ish: decided to not drink for a month
  • August-ish: decided to not drink for another month
  • September-ish: decided to not drink until my birthday, December 17
  • September 19, 2015: made bourbon butter in a recipe and technically tasted bourbon; I don’t count this, but in the spirit of transparency…
  • December 18, 2015: birthday party, where I partook in alcohol

Introduction

I generally don’t like to drink at dinner, bars, breweries, clubs, etc. I like to pregame and go hard. I never liked beer better than hard alcohol, but I did enjoy it. I like to drink to get drunk, which sounds bad, but it was only used as a social lubricant. I never drank by myself, and I never “have a drink or two with dinner” (not really a wine person, anyhow). I never overdid it.

Me as a drunk (as evidenced and recounted (and sometimes logged) by friends): pretty much me at my most extroverted, but clumsier (I stumble a lot), touchier (sorry ’bout it), louder (it’s like when you have headphones in and you can’t hear yourself), and hungrier (I chase alcohol with food and get major drunchies).

My reasons were a culmination of things. In July, it was just an idea. I could save money. Later, it had to do with health reasons, as I began eating better. And then as a side effect, I was hoping my tolerance would go down.

Materials and Methods

The experiment required me to abstain from drinking alcohol, while continuing to be surrounded by it. I would easily be able to refuse to order a drink. And I also found it easier than I thought to refuse drinks from other people. Even when I wasn’t in the right state of mind, I was able to steer clear of alcohol. Cheering with cups of water and chugging water shots was the way to go.

Results and Discussion

  1. People act personally victimized when you refuse to drink and then explain why. Their faces contort to pain, confusion, shock. They’re generally unaccepting and like to pressure you to take “just one sip”.
  2. I read up on this, and generally, this is a common reaction. Especially as a 20-something. And apparently, it makes people feel uncomfortable when there’s a sober person hanging around while they’re getting sloppy. I was a buzzkill.
  3. I found it easy not to drink. Refusing drinks was simple when there’s an ongoing reason. My friends began to understand.
  4. I started craving and partaking more in…something else. This kind of surprised me.
  5. I was able to get out of my comfort zone and be sober in a club. I even danced, and it was surprisingly liberating. I think alcohol definitely helps, but when it wasn’t an option, it was an interesting juxtaposition being sober and dancing. I was comfortable in my skin. To be honest, it was a tough transition. I’m usually very introverted in public scenes. Then I learned it’s easy to have fun sober.
  6. My hangouts changed. While I still did and do the bar and club scenes, I also enjoyed staying at home while my friends were out (again, perhaps a buzzkill). I opted for other activities, and especially during September, I was able to try a whole bunch of new things.
  7. I found that my tolerance did not decrease, but perhaps increased. At my birthday party, I felt like I could keep drinking, and I didn’t blackout. I actually felt fine, with a brief hangover the next morning. My theory is that I reverted back to my heavy-weight self, which I was at the beginning of my drinking career. See, over time, my tolerance had actually decreased, but apparently during my birthday, I drank a lot and was still able to walk, so win-win.
  8. I’m pretty sure I saved a lot of money.
  9. I don’t think I was necessarily happier or sadder due to the alcohol elimination factor.
  10. I don’t know if this is placebo because I didn’t quantify, but I felt slimmer and healthier, which is most likely also due to my diet change.
  11. More placebo, but I am a lot more clear-headed now. This could be attributed to my meditative year as a whole as well.

Conclusion

I don’t think I’ll ever really feel the need to do this again, though it might be fun to see if I can go for a longer time. I like drinking, because my relationship with it is very casual, no mess, no stress. I applaud those who decide to be sober for tough reasons; it can be a daunting challenge, but it feels great to succeed. I am lucky because I don’t have these issues with addiction and alcohol, so I will continue to drink, but I think on a more slimmed-down scale. For example, alcohol tasting and special events. In the end, I’m glad I was able to follow through with my goal, and that’s the most important lesson of all.

Acknowledgements

  • My friends, even the asshole ones that didn’t understand. But especially those who supported me. And those who were really excited to see me drink again.
  • My bank account, for being so thankful to me.
  • Alcohol, for being you.
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~ by Btab on 29 December 2015.

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