I experimented with being “sober curious” to find out what it looks like for me. If you haven’t read the book, “Sober Curious” (by Ruby Warrington) let me explain the concept. Sober Curious isn’t choosing to be 100% ‘clean and sober’. It’s choosing to be curious about sobriety and also about your own relationship with drinking. And see what you notice when you “get curious”. And maybe choose NOT TO drink, if default has always been TO drink.
I got “sober curious” for 3 months – and with the following exceptions – my birthday, my anniversary, & vacation – didn’t drink anything alcoholic. Here’s what I learned.
“SOBER CURIOUS” DAYS & NIGHTS:
• I have less tolerance for boring people and was more selective about how I spent my social time
• Fun people are fun whether you are drinking or not
• I sleep so much better
• I feel better and not just physically (mentally & emotionally more joyful, more serene)
• I look better (brighter skin, healthier hair, more toned body)
• I am less irritable, and more kind
“DRINKING CURIOUS” NIGHTS (& DAYS AFTER):
• I have too much tolerance for boring people and/or wacky family dynamics (that’s bad!)
• I sleep like shit (wide awake at 3am for about 2 hours – not ideal when you’re already sleep deprived thanks to 3 years rearing a small child)
• I think I look great the night of, but I look like shit the next day (dry, dehydrated, blotchy skin)
• I feel like shit the next day (I am sleep deprived, have a fuzzy head, and the worst part – I am depressed for probably two full days the day after I drink. Oh duh, Maggie, alcohol is a depressant!)
• All of which makes me act a little bit shitty
Do you see a pattern? I definitely used the word “shit” a lot. That’s not good.
Possibly more important (to me), was noticing what (and when) compelled me to drink.
There was definitely a feeling of entitlement & assumption around vacations and holidays. Like drinking is simply a natural way to celebrate. Drinking is festive. Sure. But there is more going on for me, if I’m being honest with myself. I work hard at my business and I work hard at parenting, and Hell, I work hard at most everything else in my daily life. There’s a routine and a fullness I’ve created, which is satisfying. BUUUUUTTTTTT, it can also feel like I’m running on fumes, at times. Running on empty. I always encourage my clients to “be present”, yet, I move at lightening speeds to get it all done each day, barely finding my own way to presence by 9pm each night.
And a fast, easy way to decompress is a glass of wine. It literally anesthetizes you. That word translates to: “deprive of feeling or awareness”. Yup.
Sometimes, because I am someone who feels so much, I need a glass of wine to feel less. Like a vacation, it serves as a temporary escape. Maybe this is self-medication?
And the word “routine” is like the antonym of “excitement” for me. Sometimes I want exhilaration and variety! Wine (or even better, champagne!) is an easy, immediate solution.
Is that temporary escape from routine worth 2 days of depression and physically feeling lousy? Not on a regular basis, not so that it BECOMES my routine. Which is why being “sober curious” works for me. Vacations, Holidays – yes. Average Tues night – no, thank you. Everything in moderation and balance makes me feel healthy and happy. What motivates you to drink or not drink? What works for you? All questions to support a healthier, happier you.