This is a controversial topic with many contradicting thoughts.
Maybe some of those thoughts are “why would she do that?” or “she probably has an addictive personality and lost control.” I completely abstained from alcohol for one year, and it wasn’t because I had a problem, was out of control with my drinking, or was trying to have a baby—I abstained because my heart told me to.
I was a casual drinker before I pledged sobriety. It was not the center of focus for my life nor did everything I do revolve around alcohol. But, it was a social pastime I did enjoy, and there were moments when I overindulged. One thing I became well aware of was the dark cloud of negativity that alcohol carried over my life. I had great moments with friends at social gatherings, but there was an inner chaos that I couldn’t quite put my finger on.
I soon was able to link that inner chaos to alcohol. Without putting pressure on myself, I tried sobriety just to see how it would make me feel, and I did it without having any expectations. I took one small baby step. And from there, I took many more baby steps that led to one year.
I hadn’t done my usual research that I do before venturing into something new nor did I sign up for one of those abstinence courses or challenges. I just did it without thinking about it. No support group and no accountability posts on social media. I did it because my body told me to. I was tuning in and listening to what my body needed. What came from it was remarkable and completely unexpected.
I am already a pretty active person; I exercise daily and try my best to eat foods that support my health. I thought this was the best I was ever going to feel. I didn’t know I could feel better than I already did. I didn’t realize the deep reflection that would come from being sober for one year. I didn’t realize the mind clarity I would have. I didn’t realize how good my body would feel. I didn’t realize the new friends I would make. I didn’t realize the new hobbies I would find. I didn’t realize how much more I would learn about myself as a human.
I started noticing small details. My taste buds changed. The way my body moved changed. My deep belly laugh was more authentic. My relationships changed. My skin changed and my hair grew longer. My goals changed. Most importantly, my happiness level skyrocketed. Alcohol was not there to make me feel less happy or more happy. It no longer had that buying power in my life simply because I removed it from the equation. I was happy just on my own. It was the most liberating feeling to wake up consistently every morning—happy.
My whole body changed and not like you would expect. I didn’t pay much attention to the aesthetic changes—maybe I lost a few pounds and my skin cleared up—but, I personally was focused on the inner chaos and how I could clear up that storm. I felt this inner peace that I never felt before; I felt in control of my life and my emotions, and I never felt like that when alcohol was a part of my life. I felt confident, I felt stronger, and I felt like I was showing my body how much I truly do love and appreciate it. I felt like I was reconnecting to my temporary earth suit, my meat bag, or whatever you’d like to call it.
It may not be for everyone, but abstaining from alcohol for one year to reflect and heal set me up for future success. I do occasionally enjoy a drink from time to time, but it’s coming from a different place now. The enjoyment from a drink isn’t coming from the constant need for pleasure or happiness because it is lacking in other areas of my life.
It’s more simple now and that simplicity brings me peace.