Reflections on six months sober

Limesodaweb

Susan Smith has given up alcohol for a year; in honour of Alcohol Awareness Week, she reflects on six months sober

Susan Smith's photo

18th November 2014 by Susan Smith 2 Comments

I dreamt the other night that I went to a party and got very drunk. It was almost like it happened by accident, I forgot that I wasn't supposed to be drinking. Afterwards, I was furious with myself, I had to put up with people challenging me for failing to live up to my assertions, and I had a hangover.

What a relief it wasn't real.

Since I stopped drinking exactly six months ago, that's the first time I've had this dream. I used to get it all the time when I stopped smoking. The relief on waking up realising I hadn't smoked was huge because smoking is highly addictive and may very well lead to lung cancer, from which people don't survive (look it up, it's one cancer you're very unlikely to beat). I didn't expect to have this dream about drinking though: I'm not an alcoholic, I only drink one or two days a week, and I don't believe there's never anything postive about drinking, which I do believe about smoking.

Susan Smith with SCVO events manager Alex Thomson, showing their appreciation of a good bottle of wine

Susan Smith with SCVO events manager Alex Thomson, showing their appreciation of a good bottle of wine

With every situation that I go through that used to involve alcohol but now doesn't, I realise that not drinking isn't just bearable, it's generally better

In May I decided that I was going to stop drinking for six months so that I could experience life as a non-drinker fully. I've take the odd month off before, but I just ended up counting down the weekends until I could start drinking again as if drinking was the natural state and sobriety a burden. This time, I wanted to remind myself that life is fun without alcohol. Now, I've done six months, I'm enjoying it so much, I've decided to postpone drinking again for at least another six months, so I'll have a full year off alcohol.

I do miss it sometimes. I miss the release that I felt on a Friday night, kicking back with a glass of wine after a long week. I miss having alcohol for a bit of Dutch courage when out on a date or at a networking event. I miss the taste of good wine – although this could be an illusion that'll shatter as soon as I have one!

I don't however miss getting drunk or drinking regularly. It is a relief to be sober and not having to worry about what I may have said that might have insulted someone, or whether everybody was thinking I was the drunkest person at the party (nobody wants to be that). And it's wonderful not wasting days with a hangover. With every situation that I go through that used to involve alcohol but now doesn't, I realise that not drinking isn't just bearable, it's generally better.

I still sit around in pubs for hours with friends and colleagues – I can down pints and pints of lime and soda; I still dance, actually I dance more because I have more energy; I exercise more (there's no longer an excuse to not go to the gym on Sunday morning) and I fill my free time much better with walks, museums trips and much more. I have quality sober time with friends, which is much better than drunken angsty time.

It hasn't solved all my problems – I still haven't painted the kitchen – but I am enjoying life so much without alcohol that getting drunk is the stuff of stress dreams.

In Scoltand, our society is so caught up in drinking culture, the idea of giving up alcohol for six months or a year would seem like a nightmare for most of us. In honour of Alcohol Awareness Week, I'm writing this to say the reality is completely different – you'll be amazed how easy and fun life can be without it. Everyone should give it a go!

18th November 2014 by Emilie Marshall

Very inspiring! Thanks

28th March 2016 by Andrew

Same here. 6 months today and I don't miss it at all!!