Four years ago I started this Boozemusings Community as a celebration. I had learned that sharing my story in a private online community, and reading the stories of other people like me, was the key to my stopping drinking. I was 50 years old, technology illiterate, and had never been a writer, but writing, reading, and interacting in an online community turned out to be what I needed to find my way, stop drinking and stay sober. After years of frustration at being able to handle everything in my life except alcohol – it was an amazing discovery for me and I wanted to reach out and say “Hey This WORKS! I am One Year Sober! And I’m Happy!”
As a gray area, high functioning drinker who knew that I needed to stop but wasn’t comfortable with Alcoholics Anonymous, I needed a new kind of community. A community where stigma was left at the door, where I could ask questions, seek support, and work on my unique issues honestly and openly. Luckily I found that community online and was so impressed with the incredible growth I experienced there, that when they shut down, I started a new one. That new community, Boom Rethink the Drink, continues reaching out in celebration by publishing posts on this Boozemusings blog every day.
If you are frustrated that you cannot stop drinking and stay sober, if you are a gray area drinker who isn’t quite sure that you really need to stop but wants to take a break, if you are a high functioning parent and/or professional who has found that the nightly de-stress drinking is causing more stress than it cures, if you cannot get the quantity of booze you imbibe under control – but the word alcoholic and the traditional culture surrounding addiction and recovery does not fit you, if you have looked online and everyone seems to be hard selling sobriety coaching and magical products and systems with the same sort of marketing enthusiasm that you’ve been sold booze all your life – come check us out.
Getting sober and staying sober, enjoying your life tuned in rather than tuned out, takes a lot of work for a while. But you will most likely find that it is the most fulfilling work you’ve ever done. The spirit that you’ve been told is in the bottle is not. That spirit is in you.
So how do you do the work to stay sober if you are not going to meetings and working the 12 steps? I believe that it begins with making yourself accountable in a safe, private, and anonymous space where you can trust that your vulnerability will be respected. I believe that it involves asking questions, trusting others experience and respecting their generosity. I believe that it starts with telling your story and evolving that story as you grow. If you’re feeling trapped by the drinking culture around you and by your own habits and routines come check us out.
The following is the story of one of our members, who read this post Walking Away from the Wine o’ Clock Routine when it popped up on her Facebook feed, joined our BOOM community out of curiosity, and has gone from sober curious to a happy non-drinker by writing out her feelings every day. Speaking the words that she was drowning in wine. Every blue link in the following text leads to poems that she wrote along the way. That is how she did the work – expressing herself in poetry –
Some people read and share what they’ve learned, some right stories of their own experience, some people focus on supporting others who are struggling to stay on track, some write poetry or share what they see in their world as they evolve through photography and art, how you do the work of evolving along the way is up to you. But in the end, if you decide to Rethink the Drink – you will find that sobriety offers everything that alcohol promised. Except the hangover.
16 Lessons I Learned in 6 months Sober
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 because, for one reason or another, my life seemed to be falling apart. I was committed because although stopping my nightly drinking was hard, it was something I could do, an action to take for the better to help fix my problems.
The problem was…
the problems weren’t necessarily mine…
and not all of them can be fixed…
or not easily.
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.
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!
- 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 🙂
I am There Now
I am there now
I want to be a happy non drinker
Not a frustrated, upset, wine time thinker
I woke up this morning with a clear head and
For me personally it’s time to take a stand
I’m kicking alcohol out of my life for good
With booze we always, always lose
It’s a mugs game
A cycle of brief relief then shame and pain
Then the cravings hit and it starts again
Chasing, chasing, forever chasing a feeling
Always just out of my grasp
I don’t want to live my life in chains
I want to be free
And learn to handle it when it rains
Just as Me
I want real fun, joy and laughter
And happy times I want to remember the day after
I know which bridge I want to burn now
And with Boom I’m still busy learning the how
It’s not such a scary decision to make
When you realise everything about alcohol is fake
And exactly what it could eventually take
When you wake up and realise you don’t want booze anymore
That’s a freeing feeling for sure!
The Spirit is not in the Bottle it’s in You …
Rethink the Drink
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
community support 24-7 or sign up and sign in here
Don’t let the shame of the stigma keep you from saying
“I think I have a problem with drinking”
How do you go Sober? ( more reading in blue titles)
B Be accountable Talk to Us We Understand
A Avoid alcohol like the plague Ideas Here
L Let yourself enjoy regular sober treats Ideas Here
A Allow yourself to cry when needed Ideas Here
N Nourish your body with good food Ideas Here
C Create happy & fun memories Ideas Here
E Enjoy the precious moments in your day Ideas Here
W Work hard to get what you want Ideas Here
O Organise things for less stress Ideas Here
R Realise you can’t control it all Ideas Here
K Keep going & prepare for success Ideas Here
S Sleep enough for body & mind rest Sleep Solutions