Everyone thinks that life without alcohol isn’t going to be any fun, but for me, it turned out so much better than I expected it would. Now of course, everyone is going to have their own experience, but here are some of the things that happened to me when I quit drinking almost two years ago.
1. Mornings Are Easier
After waking up annoyed with my kids every morning on a family vacation, I had the realization that I didn’t want to live that way. The mornings are so much easier when I’m not drinking (this is even after just 2-3 drinks) and it turned into my favorite part of the day, I wake up feeling up feeling great and excited to start my day.
2. No More Shame or Guilt
Whether it’s shame for something I did or said while tipsy or just sleeping in after a big night, these are things I no longer have to feel bad about.
3. So Much More Energy
I already mentioned the mornings being easier, but my improved energy lasted throughout the day as well. The most notable way to describe this is that I used to be an afternoon cold brew coffee drinker. Every afternoon I needed it to get me through the rest of the day and my cut-off would be 3pm, 4pm at the LATEST. After I quit drinking, I can’t sleep if I drink ANY caffeine, even green tea (!) after 12pm.
4. I Felt My Feelings
Those in sober circles will say that feeling your feelings is both a blessing and a curse as the good times will be that much better – but the same is true for the bad times. And I would say I found this to be true. Overall, I feel SO much happier, but when things aren’t going so great, you have to move through those feelings too, instead of drinking to numb the feelings.
5. Noticing the Little Things
Similar to feeling my feelings, I started noticing and appreciating little things in life so much more than I previously had. Maybe some of it is age, but noticing the birds, flowers, and the sky now fill me with gratitude, and it’s lovely!
6. Consistently Better Sleep
Turns out alcohol is terrible for sleep and given my increased energy and general happiness to get out of bed each day, I would say this is true. I’ve also taken proper sleep very seriously since I stopped drinking, so both have probably helped.
7. Read More Books
I devoured quit lit (self-help genre designed to help people give up alcohol or reduce their alcohol intake – from Collins Dictionary) when I first quit drinking (and I still read it regularly!), but I now read every night at a minimum, which wasn’t the case when I was drinking.
8. Found Real Self-Care
For a long time, a glass (or more, let’s be real) of wine and martinis on the weekends were my main source of self-care. Which now I would argue is more of a numbing technique than true self-care so it’s been a fun project to figure out what self-care looks like now.
9. More Time
I can’t quite figure out how or why this is the case, but you have more time when you stop drinking. My guess would be that we all assume drinking is a secondary activity behind something else, but maybe it’s not. It’s not always super obvious, but the fact that I needed to find hobbies and was able to read a lot more would lead me to believe this is true.
10. More Mental Space
If you’re questioning your drinking, you probably spend (waste!) a lot of mental chatter on “should I drink? should I not drink?” back and forth. Removing the question will free up precious mental space.
11. Obsessed with Coffee
Full disclosure, I loved coffee while I was drinking (and definitely need it to get through my days), but I love it even more now. Pictured is my espresso tonic!