Five Dry Months
I hit a milestone today as I’ve been dry for five months. I started my dry year on my birthday as a way to give back to myself. I wanted to see what happened when I dried out, and I’ve been blown away at how different dry life life has been.
Month one was dedicated to surviving as I spent my first month dealing with the withdrawals of alcohol. I was surprised by my body’s reaction to a lack of booze as I didn’t think I’d experience much in the way of physical withdrawal. I was wrong. I handled sugar cravings, mood spikes, changes in appetite and drinking dreams with the newness of someone discovering an allergy. I hadn’t noticed all of the impacts that alcohol had on my physical and emotional well being until I cut it out. Month one of living alcohol-free was a doughnut fueled rollercoaster of my body sorting out its ‘new normal’.
By month two I was focused on the social aspect of being newly sober. I had teed my social circles up so everyone knew about my dry year, and I had a lot of support. So, I started going out and intentionally placing myself in situations where I historically would have had a drink in hand. I wanted to learn more about why I drank in certain situations, so I did them dry. I quickly discovered that being social and sober was an option for me. That I was able to be in a bar and enjoy myself, and not worry about my next drink. I found deeper meaning in going out with friends, and experienced my first sober vacation. Month two was confirmation for me that I could be intentional about how I spent my time and who I spent it with.
By month three, I was transitioning to learning more about alcohol’s impact on my physical and mental health. I’ve always been an active person, but in my 30’s I found I wasn’t experiencing the same benefits of my exercise regime as I had in years prior. Once I’d been booze free for a few months, my body started to change again. I learned more about the body’s method of storing alcohol and how I’d essentially been robbing my body of core nutrients I’d need to see the full benefits of exercise. In dryness, I’d been able to add muscle and feel the mental benefits of my workout routine again. I also found more consistency in my emotional and mental wellbeing. I’ve always been a fan of talk therapy, but I was finding that more of my time spent during those sessions was now dedicated towards growth versus repair. In month three, I discovered my ability to grow again, both physically and emotionally.
Month four was dedicated to expanding my circle. I started my dry year as a means of learning, and I wanted to learn more about the non-alcoholic community. I dedicated time to holding dry events, working alongside noteworthy brands in the NA space and joining virtual sober curious communities. I learned that there is simply a lot to learn. The NA brand space is ever evolving, and there is so much opportunity to learn and teach along the way. The sober curious community is global and vast, with so many different ways of ‘going dry’. I learned that internet trolls exist everywhere, but I also learned that the sober curious community is just as described: a community. I started to carve my own space out in this new world of non-alcoholic life. I found myself in the in-between space of both a teacher and a student. Month four is where I started to learn about the many shades of sober.
So month five is here, and I’m thrilled with where I’ve landed. I’m dedicating this month to continued learning about how and why brands launch in the non-alcoholic segment. I want to learn about the physical processes dry drinks brands use, and how they target their consumers. I want to learn about the ‘why’ behind brands promoting sobriety to a world just becoming comfortable with the idea of a mainstream non-drinker. Whether we like it or not, our views and actions can be impacted by the products we use and see. I want to learn more about the non-alcoholic space’s goals for improving the world of the sober curious.
So cheers to another month of dryness. Cheers to another month of learning, growing and expanding my view of what it means to live life alcohol free.