My pre-sober self was a very different person. I was outgoing, excitable, always ready for new things. I loved meeting new people, and the sunset happy hour was my favorite time of the day.
My now-sober self, however, is a whole other person. I’m more reserved, less excitable, and more uncertain of new people. I need a balance of both dull routine and spontaneity. Also, early mornings are now my favorite time of day.
These changes happened without much effort or pushing on my part. When I stripped the story and toxicity of alcohol from my life, reality showed me who I really was.
I’d been drinking heavily since high school, so how could I know who I was without the veil of alcohol all those years?
When I first got sober, I asked the same question that many newly sober people ask. Am I boring now that I don’t drink? Is life no longer pretty, fun, and entertaining without the raucous that we cause in our lives while we’re drunk?
As newly sober people, it’s hard not to recognize that some of those drunk moments were super fun. I still have fond memories of wild nights partying with my friends, waking up hungover, working all day, then going right back to the party later on.
Unfortunately, those wild drunk days catch up to some of us and set fires to our lives. It begins to hurt our bodies and the people and things we hold dear.
Getting sober then becomes a new chapter. We let go of the old and begin anew.
The truth is, we’re just different now that we’re sober. Actually, we’re back to regular life, but we struggle to admit that regular life is actually boring sometimes. We are boring sometimes. But we just never understood this or learned how to be comfortable with it.
We often drink because we like how it makes life seem more attractive, even when it’s not. We like how it makes others seem more attractive, even when they’re not. And we want everything to be more fun and exciting, even when it’s not.
It’s really a bitter pill to swallow when we realize how much the drunk facade was glossing over regular, everyday, monotonous life.
Sobriety becomes an exercise in re-learning how to be an average person who can manage some discomfort without trying to make it prettier than it is.
“Boring,” in my opinion, is the least useful adjective in the English language. The word “boring” in itself seems to be a facade. Because we’re not actually bored, we’re just uncomfortable with our day to day life, and we don’t know what to do about it.
So, you may not necessarily be boring now that you’re sober. Instead, you may be uncomfortable with yourself and how to be in the world. You may be uncertain of how to live without something that helps pass the time, makes things burn a little brighter, or dulls the melancholy of our human condition.
Yes, the glaze of alcohol adds some spice and drama to our lives. I won’t dispute that. If you’re looking for something to toss your life into a salad of who-knows-what-will-happen-next, then alcohol is definitely a way to achieve that.
I no longer wish to describe sobriety as better than non-sobriety. The truth is, my drinking days had their purpose. In some cases, alcohol may have even saved me during certain moments. But then, it stopped saving me and started to drown me.
What I will say is that it really depends on what you’re looking for in life. I once had a friend who’d given up a powerful job that gave her lots of money and prestige. She sold everything to go live in a rural tropical village where the costs were low, and life was sublime.
She said clearly, “all I wanted was to sit by the ocean, look at nature, and drink my beers.” She feels passionate about her happiness and that she got everything she wanted. How can I say that her life would be that much better if she were sober?
It’s just that we each need different things at various points in our lives. For me, I was looking for reality. I wanted to be able to touch the uncertainty of adventure without recoiling just because I was scared to deal with discomfort.
Like my friend, I had a short foray into living by the ocean with copious amounts of booze to make it all even prettier. But then, something just felt like it was missing all the time. I couldn’t connect, couldn’t make the pieces add up. I felt like I was chasing myself around in circles and getting nowhere. For me, my drunk-by-the-beach life wasn’t enough.
Sobriety brought a definite fact in front of my face. I missed the ability to sit with aloneness or tediousness and finally — finally feel ok with it. The last time I was able to do that was likely in childhood. And I can not tell you how wonderful it is to feel this freedom. That I could be in any situation, with anything happening (or not happening) and just simply be.
In a way, I missed being bored, even though I don’t really believe in that word. But now that I know what’s really behind the feeling of boredom, everything comes clear.
So, yes, maybe you’re boring now that you don’t drink; if you choose to see it that way. Or you could also see it a new way — that you’re becoming comfortable with the discomfort of everyday life.
Maybe you’re just learning how to be a person in a regular life who doesn’t have to turn to substances to make everything prettier and more enjoyable. Not that this is inherently a wrong choice, but maybe you’re making a different choice based on what you need for a life you’re trying to build.