Stop Drinking, Start Living

A few things helped me along the path to quitting booze permanently: stubbornness, writing, fear, perseverance and running.

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In addition to these, a true belief in sobriety ensured that I stuck to this way of life through thick and thin, even when I was desperate for a glass (or a couple of bottles, more accurately) of wine. I didn’t give up because fairly early on in my new alcohol-free life I started to believe more in not drinking than I did in drinking.

I wasn’t the sort of person who you’d once have imagined ever believing in not drinking. I was rather proud of my reckless ways, my love of getting smashed via excessive amounts of wine and all the messy things that went along with my boozy lifestyle. I thought people who chose to not drink were either alcoholics or miserable buggers who didn’t know how to have fun – I felt sorry for all of them. What was the point of life without drinking? I seriously felt that way, for twenty long, alcohol-fuelled years.

But stopping drinking felt as though I’d had a pair of heavy-duty blinkers removed, as if I’d been shackled in a cell for years and then suddenly released into daylight and fresh air. Very quickly, I came to realise that many of the things I thought were true about me were, in fact, skewed. I was skewed. I didn’t know who I was, had never become properly acquainted with myself as a result of living in a fog of alcohol. Planning a drink, having a drink, recovering from a drink, beating myself up over things because of drink…my headspace, free of booze, had never been allowed to flourish.

The benefits soon began to outshine the fact that ‘I could no longer drink’. After about a year and a half I had absolutely no desire to drink. I stopped believing in it as a valuable aspect of life. Me, sober, was a much better concept than me pissed. In every capacity – as a parent, a friend, a girlfriend, a worker – I was better without alcohol.

I could not have imagined me as a non-drinker, once upon a time. I would have run screaming to the hills if someone had told me that aged thirty-five, I would never touch a drop of alcohol again. But…I am majorly grateful for the series of events that led to me putting down the bottle in April 2011. I’m grateful that I got the chance to see life as it really is. I’m grateful that I found out I wasn’t a bad person after all. I’m grateful that I got to live a life free from regrets and shame. I’m grateful that I became alcohol-free.

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16 thoughts on “Stop Drinking, Start Living

  1. Joe says:

    I am sober now over 3 years and feel the exact same. I sometimes wonder how people live their life around drinking, it was my life, but now I realise life can be so much better not wondering about the next chance to alter reality for a brief time.

  2. I am grateful, too, Lucy, because if you had not become free of alcohol you would never have written your amazing, inspiring books, AND there would be no Soberistas, a beautiful place that has given so many people freedom like that which you found. Many are grateful to YOU! Rock ON!!!

  3. Clairsi says:

    Thank you for this post! I am trying very hard to get sober its something I want and my fitness is very important to me so its helping but I am still not there and this has been great to read.

  4. I’m so glad that those of you who have been sober for years still find the time and insight to write inspiring posts for those who are just starting out – or thinking about or failing with starting out. “the beginning” can be such a terribly long drawn out, roller coaster time and it always helps to hear this kind of inspiration – kind of flattens out the hills and valleys of quitting just a little more. I’m trying to pick up running and be more serious about yoga and it certainly helps to have hobbies and goals and lifestyle choices that are incompatible with alcohol. I think it’s those things that are going to save me.

  5. PS, i’m about to be 35 and though i’ve been trying to give it up since last december, my 35th – in late august – feels kind of like the last chance hail mary for me. i don’t want to be the drinker i was in my past going into 35. time to get serious about living life.

  6. I agree with everything you wrote.
    I’m still shocked I have become that person, who loves life sober and doesn’t miss drinking at all.
    I’ve been sober since dec 1, 2013. I was 41 when I quit. Life is such a gift. Why waste it wasted?

  7. Deborah says:

    Thank you for sharing your story. I have felt the same way about alcohol for 20 + years as well. Made a decision on July 9 to be sober. Reading stories like this helps me stay the course.

  8. I love what you said, that you started to “believe more in not drinking than in drinking”…this change has come over me as well, I just didn’t realize it until I read your words. What a miracle. At this time last year, I couldn’t have imagined a life where I valued being sentient, aware and present. A life where, when I have the occasion to see people drinking heavily, I feel like they are missing out on something that I have found. Thank you for sharing this post.
    Jenn

  9. Lel1969 says:

    Thanks for this . Has come at an opportune time for me . I am struggling to define myself without alcohol and to say no . Running , yoga and reading stuff like this really helps .

  10. Almost a year ago now, I’ve met someone who I didn’t know he will became part of my life. He is clean and sober 5 years and a half now but despite all of that, I accepted his past and now engaged with him. I’m 8 months sober now, not like I do it often before but it’s just for fun especially if I have a problem. We lived in for one month and we don’t allowed any liquor in our apartment. We’r really proud of ourselves, I just wanna share this article he wrote The Pros of Recovery and I hope this inspires you as many others. http://substanceforyou.com/the-pros-of-recovery/

    Thank you for listening! I really enjoyed your blog. Stay Sober my friends! #SOBERANDPROUD

  11. Last night I had my last drink & my last cigarette. I am about to turn 50 & am expecting my first grandchild. I have been thinking a lot about what kind of person I want to be as I get older. I decided that drinking doesn’t fit in with who I want to be. I don’t want to be the crusty, irritable, boozy, sarcastic, crabby old lady. I want to be happy & fun. And that, of course, means sober. Thanks for all the encouragement.

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