Seven Lessons Learned from Sober OctoberNov 01, 2023
There is never a good time to give up anything, especially alcohol. Drinking is so normalized and so unquestioned in our society that we don’t give it a second thought. But when you give up alcohol there are several questions! “Why are you doing this?” “Are you going to go back to drinking November 1?” I could stop eating meat and get less questions about that than alcohol.
I learned a lot during October and want to share with you what I’ve learned. If we were to ever meet out socially, I’m totally okay with you drinking. I am not judging you or have a different opinion of you. You do you – and let me do me. I’m still not sure what that looks like for me. I am not saying I’m never drinking again but life with alcohol is very different for me.
Here are seven (of many) lessons I learned from Sober October.
- I’m drinking what? I never gave it a thought that ethanol, which is commonly called alcohol, ethyl alcohol and drinking alcohol, is the main type of alcohol found in alcoholic beverages. Don’t give me gluten or dairy but hand over the same thing that is used to make rocket fuel, house paint, perfumes, and deodorants. As a health and wellness coach that information doesn’t sit well with me. Let me be clear, I also love sugar and that is horrible for the body. (That is another blog for another day). I do love my white cake with white icing. But that is consumed on rare occasions. Maybe that is how I need to look at alcohol.
- Falling asleep without a glass of wine? I’ve always slept hard. Wine had me falling asleep before my head hit the pillow. However, I would have my 3:00am mornings where I wake up to use the bathroom (because alcohol is a diuretic) and could not go back to sleep. Let’s face it – alcohol screws with your sleep. I swore to myself I wasn’t going to be able to fall asleep without a glass of wine. Guess what? Like clockwork – I fall asleep and stay asleep. Then I wake up refreshed and ready to go. I would have never thought that was possible.
- Will I be able to socialize? I recall the first time I went out of town to visit family. My sister-in-law was told ahead of time that I was participating in Sober October. We ate at a fabulous restaurant – the kind that would serve the best wine. But guess what? They also had the best alcohol- free Paloma ever!!! I wish I had one right now. I was more aware of my food, the conversation and was so proud of myself to get through that “first.”
- Is my wine cellar gone yet? Have you heard individuals refer to their beer belly? Well, mine was a wine cellar. Any alcoholic drink adds calories I wanted to ignore. And being alcohol-free has made me less bloated and puffy. My wine cellar has certainly gone down, rings come off easily, and I like how I look in the morning. Wow!!!
- Was I really skipping? Not drinking alcohol gives you the urge to skip down the sidewalk because you feel so amazing. I’m not the only one feeling the euphoria. Did you see my Instagram reel of several ladies that were skipping and dancing? I had 30 women doing Sober October with me. The support and encouragement were just what I needed, and I think they would agree.
- Can I dance without alcohol? During Sober October I attended a magnificent wedding. There was a stocked bar with any drink you would want. But the 7-piece band had me concerned. I was concerned that I wouldn’t be able to dance without alcohol. Guess what? I could dance. I was so happy about that. It did make me want to take dance lessons because I was very aware of all the “good” dancers. I will have to talk my husband into that one. One of the best parts of that wedding was waking up the next day knowing someone was waking up with an alcohol headache and it wasn’t me!
- What did they say? No matter how much work I do on myself to no longer need alcohol to escape, there will always be people in my life that I need to deal with. There will be emotions, pain, disappointment, anxiety, depression, loss, grief, and stress. So, I’ve become very intentional with healthy, constructive, coping mechanisms. I have a very strong “Hour of Power” each morning. I am playing more Pickelball – I’m obsessed. I’m reading more and discovering “mocktails” that I enjoy. It’s important for me to naturally reach for something that builds me up, not a glass of poison.
It is my belief that we were put on this earth to experience JOY! Feeling good is your birthright. And since we know that alcohol is a depressant, it makes sense that an after effect of not drinking could be eruptions of laughter and feeling more confident.
There is no magic potion – aka elixir – needed to help you feel what is already in you. You must make a commitment to trust, appreciate, and embrace JOY!
You are meant to feel invincible. You are meant to feel your own empowerment. Adore your physical body and all it does for you. Love being who you are. Have fun on this journey. No need to douse alcohol on it.