So, yesterday, I celebrated my 100 days sober!
I have gone from this …
I am so happy! In all honesty, sobriety feels normal to me now. It can still be tough at times but who I am as a person today is the best version of myself.
Becoming sober has made me realise a lot of things…
1/ Who my real friends are. I lost a lot of people and I chose to to distance myself from people too. But the people in my life right now are the best people and I ams so grateful to have them in my life.
2/ My depression backed off. My clouds are less grey and my shoulders are lighter. I can think more rationally and when I feel sad, I know that what I am feeling is real and it’s because of something that’s happened. Not because I have been drinking and my serotonin levels are confused and angry.
3/ I love myself. When I was drinking, I struggled to like myself. I’d have a drink and it would give me confidence. I’d have to a drink to forget. I’d have a drink to lose myself. I can’t do that now. Instead, I face my emotions, feelings, situations and I overcome them. It makes me love myself more because I feel true to myself.
4/ I had to find a balance. I have decided that if I am to go out into an environment with alcohol and drugs (e.g a party, a club), it needs to have one of these two things. Good company or a good reason. I have been out for the sake of it with people I’m not too confident around and my anxiety sky rockets and I either feel really uncomfortable or really bored. Instead, if I go out with the people I feel good around or for a reason (e.g work party, end of exams celebrations, birthday) then I seem to enjoy my self. This rule really works!
5/ I look great. I have had so many compliments on my image since being sober. In all honesty, this could be a range of things. Being sober has encouraged a healthier diet and regular gym sessions but as well as this, I am much happier. So it could be my weight loss, my clearer skin, my shinier hair or the smile on my face. Either way, it’s nice to hear compliments.
6/ It takes a lot for something to be a chore. When I was drinking, my hangovers were horrendous and I would feel so low for days after. Now, my head is clear. If I want something done, I do it. I don’t procrastinate, I just do it. Saying that, I still love to lay in bed all day and ignore the fact that my room is a mess. But what I mean is that nothing seems to hard.
7/ Life is much cheaper. Not only am I not paying for alcohol but I’m not paying for the extra travel on nights out or the greasy food at the end of the night. Sometimes, bars don’t even charge me for soft drinks. I’ll ask for blackcurrant squash with water or a redbull and I get a “don’t worry about it”. That is such a great feeling. It’s almost like a reward for being sober.
8/ I go to bed flawless. No emotional breakdowns causing my makeup to pour down my face. No streaky face from sweating. No panda eyes. No frizzy hair. Taking a selfie or a group picture is not an issue anymore.
9/ I wake up flawless. Literally. I wake up hydrated and fresh faced. I could get up and go for a run if I wanted too. In fact, I have gone for a run and at the same time, my friends have been throwing up hungover. It is really nice to not waste the day. Especially as my hangovers would last forever. I WOKE UP LIKE THIS.
However, there are some challenges of being sober…
1/ Asserting yourself. Some situations you want to avoid and can’t, like birthdays. Or you really want to socialise with your friends but the thought of going to a bar whilst they are all drunk can be tough. Each time I go out, I give myself a talking to and take the challenge head on. When I was drinking, I would talk to anyone and everyone. Being sober, it is a little more challenging. It’s scary. But at the same time, it’s exciting. I always come home feeling like I’ve been the best version of myself and I never leave with regrets.
2/ My anxiety is real. I always suffered hand in hand with depression and anxiety but being sober and having a clearer head, I know what I am feeling is real. My anxiety has seemed to increase a little but thats okay because every time I feel a wave of anxiety, I challenge it. My anxiety used to be for so many reasons and many of the thoughts came from regrets or confusion as to what I said or did when I was drunk. Now, my anxiety is is centred around having to answer people’s endless questions on my sobriety when I am in a social situation but I know that in time I won’t care anymore.
3/ Trying to find a replacement drink. At first, I would have redbull. That shit is not alcoholic but my god, it is strong. In fact, it made me have a panic attack. AVOID EXCESSIVE AMOUNTS OF CAFFEINE. Sometimes, I’ll have a coffee. Even then, I get the weirdest looks but I do love coffee. Although, it’s not possible to dance with a hot beverage in your hand and sometimes, it makes me want to sleep. Lime and soda is good choice. People just assume you’re drinking alcohol and you don’t have to constantly explain why you’re not drinking. Lastly, water. Water is FREE! and it keeps you hydrated. You can down it and not have to dance with a cup in your hand. Winning.
4/ Building your actual confidence rather than your liquid confidence. I love to dance but dancing sober can be scary. My biggest and best advice is to just not give a crap. I don’t have much shame anyway so dancing like a fool comes naturally to me. However, sometimes you get that “omg your sober, does anyone notice, are your dance moves okay, do they look sober” thoughts and it’s very off putting. In that scenario, let ya freak flag fly and shake dat ass. In all honesty, everyone is wasted and you will not be the worst dancer there, I promise.
5/ Reminding your friends you are still alive. Sometime’s people assume you don’t wanna party because you are sober. I love to party. Don’t sit back and wait for your friends to contact you because they will probably just assume you don’t want to be in that environment. If you wanna go out, then go out.
6/ Having to love your friends and family when they’re drinking and you’re not. I don’t judge anyone for drinking but being around my loved ones when they drink can bring back some awful memories. Especially if you used to drink with those people. This is just something you need to learn to deal with. Obviously, being sober, everything is more real. Seeing your friends absolutely wasted is funny when you are drunk but when you’re sober, you not only get reminded of yourself and your bad times but you become mumma-bear and want to protect them. In reality, they were probably always like that but because I was drunk, I didn’t notice… usually because I was the most drunk.
7/ You have to face reality. Everything you suppressed with drinking is now going to come to the surface and it’s time to deal with it. It can be really hard at first but give it time and you’ll be thankful that you’ve been brave and dealt with your demons.
8/ Coming to terms with your sobriety. This was probably the hardest thing to do. I wanted to be sober when I stopped and I am so glad I stopped drinking but there are times when you really punish yourself and you shouldn’t. I recently went through a tough time and instead of just facing the truth that these things just happen, I got angry at myself. I punished myself for who I was when I was drunk. I would hate on myself with thoughts like “why are you so ‘special’ that you need to be sober”, “you’re fucked up” and “why can’t you be like everyone else”. Luckily, I told myself to shut up and after a lot of internal arguments, those thoughts rarely come now. Those thoughts are reallllly stupid because I’m not fucked up and I don’t want to be like everyone else. Also, just become I’m sober, it doesn’t mean that I’m some weird alien species. I just stopped drinking. Thats all.
But despite all the challenges I have faced, the thing that I am most proud of is my bravery. I went to parties and clubs sober. I danced sober. I purposely pushed myself out of my comfort zone and did everything I usually did when I was drunk but this time, I did it sober. As well as this, I moved out of a house and environment that was making my mental and physical health worse. I sought professional help. I went back to the gym. I studied harder. I worked harder. I laughed harder. I started a society for people at University who want to enjoy their time without drugs or alcohol. I am saving for a mental health placement in Sri Lanka. I have two summer jobs. I have strengthened friendships and I have found a balance in life where it is no longer all or nothing. I am no longer drowning in the river of emotions, I am now chilling on the riverbank watching the emotions flow past.
Choosing to change your life in a positive way which is socially rejected can be extremely hard but I have done it and I will continue to do it.
I am still Kelly. I’m still funny and loud. I still dance like no-ones watching. I still say really inappropriate things. I still make mistakes. But this time, I have more control of who I am and I love myself and that is all I want in life. I don’t care if you think I’m boring or think less of me because of my choice to free myself. I’m less boring than I ever was and I will continue to enjoy life to its full potential.
Lastly, I may have done the majority of things on my own but I have to thank everyone who has supported me. You may not have understood my choices but the fact that you were still there by my side has made this so much easier. Even if you ‘just read this blog’, it is such a huge support and I couldn’t ask for more. Thank you guys x