16 Lessons I learned when I Stopped Drinking

Woman blowing gold stars - 16 lessons I learned when I stopped drinking

I was sober last year for 6 months – almost. I say almost because I had 2 nights of drinking in that time so I wasn’t 100% text book sober. I was not what most people would call an alcoholic but I was pretty committed to going alcohol-free. For one reason or another my life seemed to be falling apart when I decided to stop drinking. I was committed because although going sober was hard, it was something I could do, an action to take for the better to help fix my problems. I stayed sober for most of those 6 months, and am alcohol-free again this Dry July, by writing out the feelings I might otherwise try to drink away. On this day 21 of Dry July, in this uniquely challenging year, I hope to inspire you to stay alcohol-free today, with my story and my poems. Every blue link in this post opens a poem that was part of my writing my way sober – one poem at a time.

Reframe it Trying on a Brand New Alcohol Free Me

The problem was…

the problems weren’t necessarily mine…

and not all of them can be fixed…

or not easily.

Embrace The Mess of Life? , Feeling Mum Shame

Woman disolving - 16 lessond I learned when I stopped drinking

There are life long challenges that choosing not to drink definitely helps you face, but sadly, simply not drinking doesn’t fix them.

My children have Aspergers, ADHD, PDA, and life will always be difficult for them whether I drink or not. Just to be clear, they don’t need fixing, they just have a different operating system sometimes. They aren’t broken. The challenges they face are the problem, especially in a world that doesn’t always understand. The Local Authority will make life difficult for us and other families for a long time yet because the system is broken, being sober can’t fix that. 

Alcohol , Autism and Me , Turning Wrong into Right , From my Struggling Son to His Struggling Mum , Parenting without the wine

Mother and son- 16 lessons I learned when I stopped drinking

My children will find life hard, my eldest will always be anxious and prone to low mood, and though I can help with that it is probably going to be exhausting for a long time. I don’t mind of course but stopping drinking doesn’t fix it.

I gave up drinking as a quick fix but it didn’t fix my life. Going sober for six months didn’t magically fix everything even though I felt I deserved it too. I’d done the hard work right? I’d worked bloody hard.

Stopping drinking also led to soaring sugar cravings. I indulged longer than a few months because I felt deprived of having wine. So like a petulant child I stuffed my face and glowered at people lol.

What I should’ve done was indulge my sweet cravings and baby myself for a good few months then step back and take stock.

I needed to “face my stuff not stuff my face” A Poetic Homage to Kristi Coulter on Being Fine Without the Wine

But I think I continued to hide, in food this time, which brought up uncomfortable feelings of being overweight. This wouldn’t be a problem but for an eating disorder in my early twenties so for me stopping drinking brought up struggling to manage my weight again. It hasn’t made an eating disorder reappear but it has made me want to go back to having wine instead of dessert as weirdly I felt more in control then.

So I’ve learned alot about the science of alcohol and read alot about other people’s experiences. I’m a year older and wiser and have lots of resources at my disposal and I’m so so grateful for finding Boom

What does it mean to be an Alcoholic? , When Dopamine Lights up my Brain , Fake it Till You Make It – Open Your Mind to the Possibilities in Sobriety

My life, like everyone else’s is hard, though in comparison to some people it might be relatively easy, it’s all perspective I guess. Regarding the prospect of giving up drinking again, as it’s something I still aim to do for life, well I think I’m there, but first :

16 things I Learned in 6 months Sober that I hope will help you if you’re starting out on Stopping Drinking – Come join me and we’ll do it together!
  1. I wouldn’t expect stopping drinking to fix my problems, but perhaps it would ensure smoother waters and calmer waves . Or maybe you’ll just be able to surf them more easily instead. related poems First Alcohol-Free Family Vacation: A Happy Ending ! Surf the Urge

2. I would indulge my cravings for sweet things in the early weeks, then after a month or so try to moderate that intake. I know that eating too much sugar can be derailing for me personally. resource reading Alcohol Cravings and Hypoglycaemia

3. I’d remind myself alcohol is a carcinogen. A poison I’m much better off without. related poem Alcohol Poisoning

4. I’d remind myself that after a good period of not drinking I didn’t like the taste of wine anymore but once you slip and start to slide, the taste for it comes back unfortunately. related poem Taste Buds in Bloom! Alcohol-Free , I Don’t Want Sobriety I Want Wine!

5. I know how amazing it is to wake up without a hangover, it’s like my mind is a sparkling stream. related poem Saturday Morning Sober and Serene – Sobrenity!

6. Life is made up of a series of moments that can be easily missed or forgotten. related poem Sunrise Perspective from a Newly Sober Mum

7.My children will be happier and proud of me for not drinking and children do notice. related post Mummy’s Wine Time

8. My children think drinking is stupid eg: Paul Blart Mall Cop bar scene and they have a good point.

9. I would remind myself that even though stopping drinking is not a magic wand, it’s worth it and might fix some things or cause other things not to break or not to break more, that I might not know about. related poem Glamorous and Cool

10. Also I would tell myself that by choosing the sober path at the fork in the road, I don’t know what I could have saved myself or others from, and that sometimes it’s best not to know. related poem Alcohol Kills

11. I so want to be like the long term sober people in the Boom Community and every time I read someone is a year sober I am happy for them and wish that was me too. related post Sobriety Offers Everything that Alcohol Promised – Except the Hangover!

12. I’ve learnt that whether someone is at day 1 or day 500 or anything inbetween they are amazing, they are fighters and they deserve congratulations. related posts Sober Milestones

13. I’ve learnt you have to do the work. related poem Sober Badass School

14. Communication and connection are key to recovery. related post How Posting in the BOOM Community can help you Rethink the Drink

15. Accountability matters and helps. related posts The ABC’s of Using BOOM

16. I like writing poetry 🙂

16 Daisies- 16 lessons I learned when I stopped drinking

If you’re “sober curious” … If you are drinking too much too often and want to stop or take a break…or if you have stopped drinking and are trying to stick to sober! Talk to Us. 

We are an independent, anonymous and private community who share resources, support and talk it through every day. It helps to have a community behind you in a world where alcohol is the only addictive drug that people will question you for NOT using

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