If you would have told me a year ago that I would have ended my relationship with alcohol, I would have (drunkenly) laughed in your face. If you would have told me that I would have chosen to end this relationship at the beginning of a pandemic, I would have laughed even harder. Funny enough, that is exactly what happened.
I had flirted with the idea of eliminating alcohol from my life for a long time before I finally made the decision. I listened to people all around me who were advising that I take a serious look at my relationship with alcohol, because it was a visible point of destruction in my life and it was only going to get worse. That was the thing, I listened and listened to people telling me to make a change, but at the end of the day, it was a change that I was not yet ready to make. I was not ready to admit I had a problem with alcohol. I was convinced I could handle it. I was convinced that I could limit my alcohol intake. I was convinced that my life would feel empty without alcohol.
I am sure we have all woken up the morning after a night of drinking and said to ourselves that we would not let that happen again. We have gained enough awareness to realize that we had texted our ex, drove impaired, caused pain to ourself or someone we care about, or maybe we just woke up with crippling anxiety even though nothing significant happened.
I remember the morning after the night of drinking that I decided I had enough. I remember every emotion that was running through my body. I was sitting on the bathroom floor ready to finally surrender. Surrender the party girl who was using alcohol to drown out everything else and finally work to become the woman I knew I was meant to be. It was the first time I realized that this relationship with alcohol I was holding onto so tight was diminishing my value. I think that this was the first time I believed that I had more to offer the world. It was the first time that I wanted to make this change for me.
I honestly had no idea where to even start. The only alcohol recovery program I had really ever heard of was Alcoholics Anonymous. At this point I did not know much about it, but I knew enough that I did not want to start out with a traditional program. Plus, we were under a state-wide lockdown, so it was not like that I could go to any in person meetings.
Resources in my Toolbox:
I started out by burying myself in various books about addiction, growth, and living without alcohol. As I started reading more and more I began discovering more about myself and my personal issues with alcohol. One of my favorite books that was such a vital resource for me is “We Are The Luckiest” by Laura McKowen. Reading her book shifted my perception from an alcohol-free life being something that is boring and sad to a perception of pure gratitude. I was realizing that I was truly lucky to have the opportunity to change my path and rewrite my story.
The Luckiest Club
I decided to join Laura McKowen’s program, The Luckiest Club (TLC) – this was a community with daily online support meetings, forums, and an immense amount of support. I started hopping on the daily Zoom calls which could best be described as a community that I did not know existed, but also a community that I never realized how much I needed. These meetings helped me feel so validated in my own personal journey. These meetings were more than just learning how to live without alcohol. It was the opportunity to be part of a community that was bigger than just being sober.
1000 Hours Dry
When I discovered and joined the 1,000 Hours Dry movement, that is when I really discovered exactly what I needed in order to be successful in my alcohol-free journey. 1,000 Hours Dry is a non-judgment online community where you are exposed to support during your own journey through story sharing, statistics, and encouragement.
It is a support community that throws out the hierarchy of your traditional Alcoholics Anonymous. It is a judgement-free zone that challenges one to go 1,000 hours (42 days) without alcohol. It is a movement that is centered around challenging you to be the best version of yourself, and if you slip up, you are lifted back up and encouraged to pick up right where you left off.
This is a community and a movement that I recommend to anyone who might be sober-curious. It is a community where you do not have to identify as an alcoholic, sober, etc., to be welcomed with open arms.
The influx in Sobriety accounts on Instagram
I flirted with alcohol-free and sober Instagram accounts before going alcohol-free and I noticed one common theme – these people seemed real and happy. I never realized just how big the sober community was until I began seeking out sober accounts on Instagram. I also had no idea how many younger people have chosen to be alcohol-free. I always had this perception that people who did not drink were boring, and I could not comprehend how they could possibly be any happier than someone who drinks.
The sober community on Instagram has been such a vital tool in my recovery. That sounds kind of wild to even say, but it has been. I have formed relationships and bonds with people that I would never have connected with if it were not for my sobriety. I formed a bond with a group of women who have forever changed my life. A few of us were just starting out on our journey, and some were years in. It would have been a hell of a lot harder to navigate a life without alcohol if I did not have each of these women to help me along the way, especially during a pandemic. It was a bond formed to help each other discover and become the best version of ourselves without alcohol.