Early on in sobriety, I experienced a fair amount of resentment. Why me? Why should I be the one that HAS to quit?

It was only when I noticed all the positive improvements that I began to question the whole ‘drinking culture’….why do any of us drink in the first place? When and why did we all start to pound back the wine in order to deal with everyday problems, and “fit in” with everyone else?

As I researched more, and blogged more, I discovered that our reverence towards booze is similar to the unquestioning worship of the Wizard of Oz – when the curtain is pulled back, there is no God, just an old guy shouting into a microphone.

When I put down the bottle, and started to live life without wine – it all seemed so ridiculous that I had relied on a mere beverage to fix all the “problems” in my life.

As the good witch Glinda said to Dorothy “You always had the power my dear. You just had to learn it for yourself”

The next twenty improvements:

#41 I lost Weight – eventually

I spent a decade drinking 600 extra liquid calories a day, and piled on about 30 pounds. 30 pounds doesn’t disappear over night, sadly, and it took a while before I started to see the scales go in the right direction. However, many people commented that it LOOKED like i lost weight, because my face was much less puffy.

#42 I stopped starving /stuffing myself.

Related to #41 is my improved relationship with food. For years I picked at food so i could save calories for wine, followed by bouts of stuffing myself with junk food once my inhibitions were drowned out by a bottle of wine.

#43 I am more tuned in to Marketing and advertising

I know that my life is not improved by products or consuming more – despite the constant barrage of marketing messages that come from all directions. I am not immune of course – who doesn’t want a new shiny car? – but I know that these things do not increase my happiness…

#44 I know the difference between Pleasure and Happiness.

“Pleasure” comes from external things. “Happiness” comes from within. Wine provided moments of pleasure (until it didn’t). It never contributed to my happiness.

#45. I am not a slave to the “Instant Fix”

There are no easy buttons. There are no miracle pills that dissolve fat, or saran wraps that reduce the size of my thighs. Thre was no short cut to sobriety. Anything worth having, is worth working for.

#46 I spend more time in Nature.

I don’t have to hike up mountains, I can just spend a few minutes in the garden, just breathing fresh air and listening to the birds. As a stress reliever, I can’t recommend anything better.

#47 I know that what I am feeling right now, will pass

Feelings come and go. I used to panic if I felt sad, and DO ANYTHING to stop that feeling. Now I know that sadness is part of life, and comes and goes. I can feel the ‘feels” without losing my mind.

#48 I can ask for help.

I had a weird ‘thing” about asking for help. i was often too proud, or self conscious to ask….then I was mad that nobody offered. Now, if I need help, I ask. It’s really simple.

#49 I Have better Arguments.

If I am mad about something, I make my feelings know. Before, I used to sulk, drink wine, and then pick an irrational fight about something completely unrelated to the thing I was really upset about. The fight would disintegrate into a weepy mess (me doing the weeping) or I would hurl personal insults. And nothing would get resolved. Now, I can say normal things like “Can you please not dump your fishing gear all over the kitchen floor, it’s really inconsiderate” and the sky doesn’t fall in.

#50. I fall over less.

I would often wake up with strange bruises. I clearly bumped into things, fell over…and one memorable morning, I woke up with one toenail ripped off and the sheets in a bloody mess.

#51. I smell better.

Wine breath is a “thing”. And sweating alcohol, even after a shower leads to a funky smell. This is something I discovered to my horror, only after I quit.

#52. I take responsibility for my health.

I have all my annual check ups. I take the medication if I need it. I don’t stop taking pills because I am not supposed to be taking them with alcohol, so therefore I choose the alcohol – I actually finish prescriptions. I also follow advice from doctors. Because they spend a decade learning about medicine, and it’s reasonable to assume that they have more relevant information than the internet. I don’t lie to my doctor either.

#53 I get sick less often

Probably this is related to #52, but I do seem to be less likely to get a cold, or flu. And I haven’t had vertigo since I quit drinkng either (which I convinced myself had nothing to do with the drinking, but most likely did).

#54. I watch my Language

Not all the f-bombs, ( that could use some work) but I am more thoughtful about the impact of my words. I have learned that being offensive is not about the “intent” of my words, but the impact.

#55. I don’t follow the crowd.

It’s OK to not fit in. I used to worry that I wasn’t popular enough and would bend myself into a pretzel to be “liked” – now I am fine with being me.

When I first got married, my husband had a group of friends who all had wives and girlfriends. I spent a long time and a lot a wine trying to fit in. I never did.

Now I have my own circle of friends.

#56 I am less insecure.

i don’t assume that everything is about me. If someone didn’t phone back immediately, or text. I would assume that it must be something I had done. I would try and dissect messages..”What did they MEAN by that?”…..It was exhausting, and inevitably lead to a teary “pity party”.

#57. I am more responsible on Social Media.

I “weaponized” social media when i was drinking. Thank God that facebook LIVE wasn’t a thing until after I had quit. Live Streaming drunk Jackie would have been even more humiliating than the ‘vague booking” that I did. Weird messages, strange status updates that I posted, but never remembered. The mornings often brought new fresh horrors, as I would discover drunken status updates, and have to do damage control.

#58. No more Drunk Dialing.

When I was drunk, I never paid attention to international time zones. My parents got less amused about the 3.00am wake up calls from their drunk daughter.

#59 I Love Driving

I used to have arguments or sulk when it was my turn to drive. OR, I would sabotage my turn, by drinking far too much. this often resulted in us staying over, or my husband having to take over, or an expensive cab ride. Now, I drive everywhere. i love the freedom, in the same way I did when I first learned. Also, I am a safer driver. Driving with a hangover isn’t safe either.

#60. I Read Instructions

Overall, I take the most straightforward simple approach to everything. Even putting together Ikea furniture, which, if you read AND FOLLOW the instructions WITHOUT WINE, is actually quite easy.

You can catch up on Part One here, and Part two here. Part four is here, and Part 5 is here

love,

Jackie.

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