Sweenbrioty

Last Thursday I quietly celebrated a huge personal milestone. There were no champagne corks to be popped and no shots to be had though. This wasn’t the type of milestone you celebrated that way for because Thursday, Nov. 21st marked 6 months of abstaining from alcohol. Full disclosure, I did gleefully eat my weight in Froyo.

I have a strange relationship with this newfound sobriety. Part of me wants to scream on top of rooftops, proudly declaring to anybody who will listen, that I don’t drink anymore. The other part of me wants to shrivel up and hide in shame and pretend I never had a problem with alcohol, to begin with.

A few days into my sobriety or a few days before (I cannot recall) I wrote a post finally admitting that I had a problem with alcohol.  I kept it up a few days but did not share the post to any of my social media accounts.  Then after mulling over it agonizingly a couple days, I changed the post to private. I have not reread the post since. I’m actually sort of afraid to. I was in such a different headspace than I am in now and it’s hard to bring myself to relive that shame.  “Shame”…. there’s that word again, it haunts me.

It’s kind of weird how open I am about my struggles with anxiety, but I am also more secretive about my struggle with alcohol. I feel like there are so many more negative connotations with being an alcoholic and at the end of the day is it really a stigma…or is it just the reality of it?

I was a really shitty person when I drank and the severity of my drinking isn’t something I usually openly ever shareabout…maybe it should be…. maybe it shouldn’t. Just trust me, it was bad. Like shakes in the morning, drinking pints of vodka straight bad. Anxiety is hard enough. Now imagine having an anxiety disorder while withdrawing. That was my reality.  I cringe when I think about my behavior in the past decade (yup…decade, wow) due to drinking.

But whats a newly 6-month sober girl supposed to do, get down on herself 24/7 because of the past? I’m not saying I don’t reflect because I do but for my sanity, it is so much healthier for me to look at the present and future. So now that I’ve opened pandora’s box and shared this post I definitely plan on sprinkling in posts about sobriety here and there. I can’t change my past but I can learn from it. and hopefully, I can help others struggling to be less afraid to open up.

❤ Sweeney

From being THAT girl @ the bar to becoming THAT girl that DOESN’T DRINK (@ the bar).

So I’ve been told when you’re trying to cut out drinking from your life that it is a good idea to also cut ties with the friends you drink with. Theoretically, I completely understand this, but I’m sorry but…hell no. Do you know how long it fricken takes me to find a group of people that I can be completely comfortable around? Sure it has been tough, but I am willing to put myself in that difficult position to maintain important friendships. Not to mention, I also have a major FOMO complex. There are, however, definitely acquaintances of mine that I only feel comfortable around if I am drinking/drunk…. they can go. To be honest, acquaintances are the vain of my existence anyway​. So if I’ve hung out with you at a bar or party in the past month, congratulations….I must really like you!

It has been a strange experience going from binge drinker to non-drinker. Some of the changes have been really enjoyable, for instance helllllo no hangovers! And not gonna lie, it is pretty cool to remember your whole evening. When I go out now I put much more emphasis as to why I’m leaving the comfort of my couch and Netflix​. Whether it is to watch your band play or celebrate your birthday, I am actually going out to support and be there for you. Before any excuse to drink was a reason to go out and the occasion always played second fiddle. I was a very selfish drinker and I really didn’t care about anything other than when I was going to get my next drink. It feels good to actually be present. It is also reallllllly funny to watch my boyfriend get wasted which, after over 10 years of dating, I have rarely seen because he’d always have to be in charge of taking care of my drunk ass.

Now for the downside… it’s really hard. Imagine wanting nothing more than relaxing with a nice cold beer, preferably a microbrew​ (because I’m pretentious like that) but not being able to have one AND THEN subjecting yourself to several hours of being surrounded by said micro-brew. Ugh, honestly it is the literal worst. It is a craving like none other. I have found that my anxiety lessons a bit once I put any form of beverage in my hand. If I am at a brunch type of event, chamomile tea helps to calm my nerves and relax me. If I am going out at night I will usually stick to water or if I want to get really wild a diet coke/ sugar-free​ energy drink. Also… lots and lots of kudzu​ (and occasionally kava)root. I’m actually going to make a post soon about supplements and which ones I take for a more natural mood support, so stay tuned!

Another pitfall? Having to explain (over & over) why you aren’t drinking. Sometimes people do not even ask but I feel compelled to tell them just because I assume they are wondering (even if they probably aren’t). If my anxiety makes me feel like I stick out like a sore thumb than not drinking at a bar makes me feel like I am naked and painted hot pink. My friends are completely fine with it though and very supportive. If you are going through something similar and your “friends” make you feel weird about it, that’s when I fully support the idea of cutting ties.

The only other challenge I’ve come across so far is answering the question “So how long are you doing this for?”. Word of advice, do not ask somebody who’s​ struggling with drinking that because ​IDK hopefully forever? In my head that is like trying to calculate how long it is going to take me to fail. Could I learn how to drink in moderation and start partaking again? Maybe….but probably not. Will I ever just say f*ck it and start drinking again? I honestly can’t answer that. For now, ​it’s safe to say the “Sween Machine” is in a coma. It’s possible she’ll stay asleep indefinitely. It is also (hopefully significantly less) equally possible she’ll wake up. Instead of worrying about when that may or may not happen, I am just going to continue to enjoy my new found clarity.

❤ Sweeney