What happens when you stop drinking? I’d always imagined my life would remain pretty much the same as it always had been.
I figured I’d still be the same person, doing the same things, living the same life… just minus the booze.
How wrong I was.
Removing a mind-altering, time-sucking, hangover-inducing, anxiety-creating, mood-destroying drug from your life turns your world upside down… in a good way!
Sobriety brings with it some surprising side effects.
1. You become easily pleased
There will come a time when you return home after a bad day and find yourself massively cheered up by a bubble bath and an early night. You – the person who used to need an entire bottle of wine to switch off – are happy with a cup of tea and a good book.
Even though you sometimes worry that it sounds a bit sad and nerdy, you don’t really care because a) you’ve finally mastered the art of self care and b) you feel so awesome in the morning.
2. Your productivity levels go through the roof
When you’re trying to function through the fog of a hangover, just getting to work on time feels like an achievement. When you stop drinking, you acquire a new superpower: the ability to get stuff done.
The problems that used to have you diving face first into a glass of wine just get dealt with, and you begin to wonder how on earth you ever managed before.
3. Your tastebuds change
Herbal tea? Infused water? All that flowery, namby pamby stuff that you used to hate? Well, you will probably start drinking that.
A lot of people find their sense of smell and taste improves in sobriety, so you can pick up subtler flavours. When meal times are about eating rather than drinking, you have a new appreciation for good food.
4. You can basically eat what you fancy
A bottle of wine contains around 600 calories – that’s the equivalent of eating three doughnuts. When alcohol stops sabotaging your weight loss efforts, it’s a lot easier to lose a few pounds without having to be super strict with your diet.
Plus, the fact that you’re not hungover all the time means you’re far more likely to do some exercise and actually stick to your workout goals.
5. Some friendships may change
There’s no avoiding this one: you will have friends who feel unsettled by your decision to change. Maybe they think you’re overreacting or they miss having you as a drinking buddy. Don’t worry about this.
Some people will drift away, but your real friends will stick around, or move in closer. Sobriety is a great filter for your life – it helps you get clear on who and what should be in your world.
6. You realise you’re not quite who you thought you were…
Alcohol-free living forces you to go against the grain and stop following the crowd. If you’ve spent a lifetime trying to ‘fit in’ and stay under the radar, you might find that suddenly, you’re not so bothered about that anymore.
One of the top regrets of the dying is, “I wish I’d had the courage to live a life true to myself”. Now’s your chance to make sure that happens.
7. You discover you’re capable of far more than you knew
When you stop drinking – and you achieve something you thought you couldn’t do – something shifts within you. I’ve seen this time and time again with the women I coach.
Once you’ve overcome one big challenge, it forces you to reassess a lot of other stuff you’d previously dismissed as ‘impossible’. Who knows what you’ll tackle next – the possibilities are endless.
by Kate, The Sober School
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