Lessons Learned from 1 Month Sober
The day before my 27th birthday I suggested to my budweiser-before-noon, bottle-o’-wine-for-dinner, Vietnam vet dad that we try a month sober. Never imagining he would actually agree, I found myself near panic when we ended the call. Could I really survive 30 long, lonely wine-less nights? And even if I do make it, what’s the point in torturing myself in such a horrific manner?
Now, it is not like I am some kind of beer slugger at a regulars’ bar or a fiend who hides her vodka addiction. Simply put, I just itch for a glass of wine after a stressful day… and it just so happen all of my days are stressful. It is not an addiction, I just identify with the European notion that life is not worth living without vino. or du vin.
Before you pass judgement, I feel obliged to tell you that I am generally regarded as collectively sober. My drinking is consistent, not heavy. I max out after two drinks. And not because I am drunk, or I have set sanctions on my habits… but just because I never care for more than two drinks. I don’t like being drunk or feeling out of control. Now, that’s not to say I don’t overdose on eggnog every Christmas or get carried away with bottomless mimosas most Sundays… But even then, never to the point where I would be incoherent, or as my former college-self called it‘blackout’. This might not seem like an accomplishment to you – but I am from Boston and now reside in West Hollywood. Two places where the vast majority of the population drinks until their eyes are blurred and their speech inaudible. With the company I keep, my drinking is far from deplorable… it is admirable!
Because my defensiveness is a tell-tale sign of a problem. Because I really crave a glass of wine most days. Because I come from a long line of alcoholism. I haven’t been sober for this long since high school, and I am ready to give my liver a much deserved break. I want to test myself… to make sure that my 2 glasses of wine every night is a choice, and not an addiction. But mostly, I want to go sober because I am curious. Who knows what kind of insight I’ll learn from a month free of brain fog. Maybe I’ll finish my second screenplay, clear up my skin and lose those hate handles. Plus, if all else fails, at least my bank account won’t dwindle so fast for a month.Flashforward.
It was a long and cold November, but I did it. And it wasn’t easy. But I managed to get over the alcohol drinking withdrawal symptoms and to regain control of my life.
I was bored and awkward when I went out and annoyed and antsy at home. But I learned a few things. Some about myself.. and others about the world I inhabit. And since this blog is a compilation of the lessons I’ve learned from the trial and errors of life, I can’t think of a more appropriate place to share my discoveries.
Lessons Learned from 1 Month Sober
7. Sporting games? Why bother. Apparently it is unAmerican – and maybe even a bad omen against your team – to go to any sporting game and not drink alcohol. Which leads me to my next point.
14. did someone just pass gas? Did everyone just pass gas?15. I get so mentally drained from social situations. It is over stimulating to go out to an event without drinking. Far from relaxed and lose, I feel more alert and on edge sober. The musics too loud, people are too sloppy, I can’t keep a convo going, the clock ticks by slower, it’s too hot, it’s too cold, I’m too underdressed… the surroundings just feel amplified.
17. Some of my acquaintances actually blackout every single time they drink… and their personalities really change.. for the worst. Now I’m not pointing any fingers, I know that tequila gets me rowdy and red wine basically tranquillizes me… I’m simply stating an observation I made while I sipped on soda water pretending there is vodka in it so my friends stop screaming that I’m so lame for being sober. Sigh……and the best lesson of all
18. After a month, I have sunk into sobriety… it doesn’t feel so uncomfortable on my skin. I have broken a vicious cycle of wine-dependency, and learned to channel my stress relief in other directions. I no longer crave a drink… and I am proud of that. I have become infinitely closer to my dad, but also closer to myself. It’s easy to drink away feelings or a problem – butsobriety? It forces you to stand face to face with reality. Which is frightening and invigorating all at the same time. I’ll drink again, but I’m in no rush – and for that I am beyond grateful for my sober experiment.
Try it out… and let me know what you learned. I dare you.