How Times Change: 18 Months Sober & 6 (of many) Realisations
After almost 18 months as a non-drinker, I had one of those moments the other day when you realise how different you have become since choosing sobriety. It is nothing short of bizarre really.
The other day I dropped my car off for a new windscreen. Due to COVID rules waiting was not allowed, so I made my way to the supermarket I had passed on the way to get some supplies for the weekend. Then, out of nowhere I decided in an instant that I was going to call at the pub opposite for a drink in the beer garden.
At this point you may be concerned but fear not because alcohol wasn’t even in the equation. As I began to mince towards the pub my mind was filled with decisional (new word) thoughts of ‘I wonder what tonic they do and if they have sliced grapefruit’ replaced by ‘actually, I fancy a beer or a big ‘n’, which is how I refer to a shandy, i.e. big n Randy (I know?).
As I skipped (alright I wasn’t actually skipping) along the path the thoughts continued, and it was a nice day so the thought of chilling outside on my own for even 20 mins before hot-footing to the supermarket was divine.
So, what is bizarre about this? It’s bizarre because 18 Months or so ago, the supermarket wouldn’t even have registered unless it was to call off and grab some more alcohol, and no way would I be considering what I was drinking in an alcohol-free capacity.
My thoughts would be more like ‘I best limit myself to 3 pints just in case’ followed by a huge discussion with myself about a 4th, which inevitably I would order with no consideration I had to pick the car up. In any case, I had to walk back so no drama.
Sudden realizations of change begin to come thick and fast once you are ‘established’ on your sobriety journey as you begin to appreciate the simpler things in life. Whereas once you would have thought taking a walk in the woods with your family was akin to walking into a pub with no beer when you are gasping, you will find that such a thing is extremely pleasurable with the sights, sounds and smells that accompany it.
Also, things that used to wind me up something crazy, these days I have noticed that I can just let it go and not fill my headspace. This is an indirect positive consequence of giving up the booze and an absolute beauty, because a calmer outlook on life, not fuelled by the need for booze, increases wellness for all around you.
Whereas the future used to revolve around what was happening short term, such as where the next drinking session was coming from, these days the future looks bright. Instead of planning drinking sessions, your outlook is stretched into a world that, with alcohol stripped away, is your proverbial Oyster. Dreams become clearer and within your grasp, so you can try and do something about them (well I did). Your outlook on everyday life seems more positive.
With more appreciation, calmness, and positivity in sobriety, it’s clear to see the benefits. Not having alcohol rule your life, there is a more tranquil home scene for sure. A house where someone in the family is full of anxiety and on edge is always going to be uncomfortable. And, as alcohol influences anxiety, depression, and irritability, with this influence removed its bound to change the atmosphere for the better.
The point is as time moves on so do we, and the subtle changes to our lives after alcohol are clearly abundant and positive. All we need to do is give it time and commitment. Flying back to how I started this post, what once was an irrational speedy walk to drink as much in a short space of time as possible had turned into a more relaxed affair without even considering taking an alcoholic drink.
They say time is a great healer. I think I have just truly discovered that in a whole new context. Furthermore, in time, people do change after all!