So about me. I am getting to my mid-50’s and loving every minute of that. My self-framing is as single, though I have a brilliant long term partner. We choose to live separately. We laugh freely and share richly. I have also chosen not to have biological children, and have always had active and fulfilling interactions with children and young people. I work in higher education. I am a happy person, free-spirited, with a critical, enquiring mind – at least I think so!
When did you start thinking you had an unhealthy relationship with alcohol?
For about a year I made many promises to myself to cut down, tried to do AF days, and never stuck to any of that. Deep in myself I was increasingly worried about how much I was drinking but I didn’t voice this to anyone. I was still socially functional [or so I thought – no-one gave me any indication that my behaviour was embarrassing]. I could drink a lot and stay the course at functions. But more and more I started to drink before going out, and then again when I got home, blanking out into bed night after night. I knew that my relationship with alcohol was increasingly unhealthy, as I came to know that I could not moderate my intake. I was also starting to worry about what it may be doing to my physical well-being, silently, inside my body, my organs, etc.
What were your objectives when you subscribed to Tribe Sober?
To take a break from drinking, to re-calibrate. To prove to myself that I could stay AF for the 66 Sober Spring Challenge, which is what I first signed up for.
What have been the main benefits of Tribe Sober membership for you?
There are so many. Probably central is the consistency of communication and the total non-judgementalism of the space. The extent of participation is totally the choice of each person. You can be as quiet or as chatty as you wish to and feel able to be at any time. There is also an incredibly rich sharing of resources.
How long have you been Alcohol Free – and how do you feel?
Today [9 Jan 2020], I will finish 3 months and 16 days! I am super-happy, and experiencing beneficial changes on so many fronts, physically and mentally.
What was your first month of sobriety like?
Unpredictable, gritty, needing constant conscious commitment each day to not drink. And also to plan for and anticipate situations, such as social outings and work functions.
Did you have to go back to “day 1” often or did you stay firm once you had made your decision?
So far, I am staying firm and feeling more and more confident about this choice.
What are the best things that have happened to you since you stopped drinking – and the benefits of being alcohol free?
Probably what amazes me over and over again is the beauty of being fully present, all the time. I am energised. I am “lighter” – things seem easier. I have SO much more productive time. I remember each and every thing of each and every day. And I am having as much fun as I ever did, laughing, and feeling self-empowered.
What do you say when offered an alcoholic drink?
I tend to make sure I have an AF drink or sparkling water at hand when I am socialising, so I just say, I’m good with this thanks, and hold up my alternative drink.
If you could go back to a time when you were drinking what would you tell yourself?
“You are not in control, you need to take charge of your life. You need to make changes!”
What would you say is keeping you on track?
The Tribe Sober on-line community is a firm anchor for me, and I also make my daily pledge and review on the “I am sober APP”. But as I achieve each AF day, it is so positively re-inforcing that I think less and less about alcohol, and certainly now know that my life is just so much more chilled without it.
All my friends and colleagues have been incredibly supportive, and nicely curious about why I am doing this.
What have you learned about yourself since you gave up drinking?
That I am one of those people who cannot moderate. That I feel so incredibly liberated not continuously thinking about alcohol and having it implanted at the centre of what I do each day. That I am kinder, fresher and happier, deep in my soul.
What would you recommend to newbies?
My focus is to aim to not drink “just for today”. Not to think of the long haul, but do it “just for today”. Also, reach out and walk the path of changes with a community such as Tribe Sober. And as you are ready, share your choice with family and friends – I was hesitant and scared of being mocked or rebuffed. Everyone’s reactions have been so supportive. And interestingly, if you have a glass in your hand at a function, no-one bats an eye-lid about what’s in it, or is even aware – unless you tell them – that its AF. It’s really all about you.