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Staying in the Sober lane

Last month Jen wrote a blog about her decision to reintroduce alcohol after a long stint of abstinence and healing. When she first told me about the fact that she was considering drinking again, I nearly fell off my chair. We had spent over a year working together creating a strong message about life being so much better without it. We used to refer to women who could moderate after having a drinking problem as Unicorns. Now, she was saying that she felt an intuitive calling to drink in a conscious way. 

Jen has been drinking consciously (moderately) for several months now with no issues and what I now understand is that there are a number of women who once had Mild to Moderate Alcohol Use Disorders  (not severe like mine) who after a period of time of abstaining from drinking, addressing root causes and completing the work we cover in our Signature Sobriety Course can drink moderately or consciously. Unicorns exist, so it makes sense that we can also support them within Thrivalist, which is why we created the Conscious Drinker Course. 

Since she started drinking again, I have had so many people, including my partner and family, ask me if it made me feel like drinking again. They were concerned that I would be shaken. My response was and always will be a firm “HELL NO!”. I know with 100% certainty that I am not a Unicorn. And I am actually happy about that because I don’t want to drink again. 

In my blog this month, I want to talk about the reasons I choose to close the door on moderation for myself and stay in the sober lane long-term, and why you might decide that this is best for you too! 

  1. My alcohol use disorder was severe & I had a long-term drinking problem 

It’s actually not that hard to have a severe Alcohol Use Disorder (AUD). According to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual, I sat on the severe end of the Alcohol Use Disorder spectrum, scoring a 9/11 on the diagnostic questionnaire for an AUD. I encourage you to complete the questionnaire for yourself, and if you did or still do have a severe alcohol use disorder, it is most likely safer to stick to abstinence. I also struggled with my drinking for over 20 years. The likelihood of me changing the way that I drink in this lifetime is slim. 

For me it’s about weighing up the risks versus what reward, or what drinking, will give me. If I decided to reintroduce alcohol, I not only risk all of the negative effects of drinking creeping back into my life, but also losing so much of the magic I have built in sobriety and feeling so good. And what exactly will alcohol bring to my life? I can honestly say, it will bring me nothing positive anymore. There is no place for it in my life. 

  1. I had tried and failed to moderate hundreds of times (no exaggeration)  

I had been trying to drink moderately since really early on in my drinking career. I set rules for myself, tried to stick to clear liquids and drank a glass of water in between every drink, but it rarely worked. I spent most of my time as a drinker, trying to master the art of being a ‘normal’ drinker, without realizing that that would never be me, and instead I could set myself free by just not drinking at all. 

The last time I ever got drunk was at a friend’s wedding where I set myself a clear plan of how much I would drink, what I would drink and what time I would get home. I even wrote a mantra on my hand and had an alert set in my phone to remind me that I was moderating and would make myself so proud. 

I failed so miserably that this night became a turning point or rock bottom for me. I had 100% certainty that I could never moderate. And at that moment I was set free.  

Have you also had this experience of trying and failing over and over even when you set out with really strong intentions? 

  1. Health benefits 

Being sober has allowed me to focus on my fitness and nutrition more than I ever could when I drank. As a drinker, I’d still go to the gym a few times a week and try to eat healthy when I wasn’t too hungover, however overall my diet wasn’t great and when I was hungover I could eat a week’s worth of calories in one day and I’d often cancel on my PT or not show up to the gym because I felt so rough. These days, I eat well 80% of the time (we all need treats right!?) and I train 6 days a week without fail. I’m currently the fittest I have been in a long time and I feel fantastic. 

There are also so many other health benefits to not drinking alcohol. I feel so much better because I am not pouring poison into my body, I have drastically reduced my chances of getting cancer, my mental health is so much better, my skin is better, I look younger and so on. 

If I ever chose to attempt moderation, I would risk my health declining, losing my fitness and making poor diet choices which is just not an option for me anymore.

  1. I have learned how to self-soothe

Sometimes I experience a micro-moment of wanting to shut the world off or numb a trigger with alcohol. But then I remember that I now have healthy tools to help me move through a trigger. I use breathwork, exercise, meditation and journaling to self-soothe and whilst the soothing effects may not be as fast acting or intense as using alcohol, they have longer-term mental health benefits, and leave me feeling better rather than worse!  

As a drinker, I am not sure I could ever soothe myself. My go-to would always be alcohol. If I decided to drink again even moderately, I have no doubt I would very quickly start to lean on alcohol to help me cope again, which would be a huge backward step on my self- development journey. 

  1. I am a manifestation maven 

Successful manifestation is built on a foundation of healthy self-worth. We attract into our lives what we truly believe that we deserve. When I drank, my self-worth was through the floor. I settled for less than OK. I settled in my marriage because I didn’t think I really deserved to be happy. I settled in my job because I didn’t think I was smart enough to do what I truly wanted. I settled with some friendships because my self-esteem was so low.

I’m not saying I have a super high self-worth, this is something that I have to continue working on, however what I have attracted into my life since being sober, simply by setting the intentions and believing in myself, is in direct correlation to my level of self-worth. I am in a healthy, happy relationship with someone who treats me exceptionally well, I run a business that brings me so much joy and I have built a beautiful community of women around me who I love and adore. 

Imagine losing all of this, just so I could drink alcohol? 

  1. Sobriety gives me eternal freedom 

This could possibly be the best part of being sober. It’s like escaping from a trap you have been locked in for years. I’ve now become free from that pattern of using alcohol to numb the pain and anxiety that alcohol caused. Free from the head noise of when I should drink, how much I should drink and how quickly I could get my hands on a drink. But most significantly, free from the vicious cycle of feeling self-doubt, shame, guilt and remorse. 

So if you’re feeling a little shaken by your own decision to maintain sobriety, now that I have shared with you my reasons for staying in the sober lane long-term, I encourage you to also weigh up all of the positive things that not drinking has or will bring into your life, versus what it does or could possibly take away. 

Conduct your own risk-assessment to work out whether drinking again is really worth it for you and make a calculated decision based on this. Perhaps you also are a Unicorn, or perhaps like me it’s just too risky to try and find out. 

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