20 Months of Sobriety
This Friday marks 20 months since I made the best decision of my life: to cut alcohol out of my life completely. Sometimes I wake up in the morning and have to pinch myself to remember that yes, I have come so far and its really been this long! I am very aware of the fact my decision to stop drinking is not a popular one and historically I’ve been the person who loves approval from other people. So you’re probably wondering how I’ve made it this far and what helps me remember why I’ve made the decision during difficult moments.
What personal changes have I noticed since I’ve quit drinking alcohol?
There are honestly many and I probably will forget some. Here are the big changes I’ve noticed:
- My skin is healthy and it glows. I rarely have problems with dry/flushed skin like I used to and I look and feel a lot younger than I am. Having clear, vibrant skin not only looks amazing, it gives me the boost in confidence to be the greatest version of myself. You can see from the pictures of myself below that I can’t make this stuff up. It is clear excessive alcohol consumption is damaging to our skin and when we stop drinking, it does wonders not only for our skin and health but also gives you a youthful glow.
May 2015 (8 months before I quit drinking)
May 2017 (Almost 17 months sober)
- I don’t have anxiety issues anymore. I used to wake up almost every morning with a low grade feeling of anxiety and I could not figure out where it was coming from for the life of me. I had stress just like everyone else but nothing too extreme to the point of waking up feeling anxious and dreadful. Over time I began to realize it was the alcohol that was causing my anxiety symptoms to worsen and within 6 months of quitting alcohol, I began to experience regular calm as my new normal. Little things that used to irritate me or make me angry were no longer affecting my life as much as they used to. At one point, I was expecting the anxiety to return because living this way was too easy and honestly felt amazing! I’ll also be the first to say we are all human and I still do have positive and negative emotions like everyone else, its just they don’t have such a wide charge on me as they used to when I was drinking.
- My sleep has improved. Gone are the days of restless and irregular sleep cycles. I now wake up most mornings feeling well-rested and motivated to start my day. When I was drinking, I used to sleep through the night, but not that well. I would toss and turn for 30 minutes before falling asleep then wonder why I was waking up the next morning feeling kind of tired, even after 7-8 hours of sleeping. Alcohol disrupts our sleep patterns and often prevents us from getting the deep, REM sleep that our bodies need.
- I get a lot more accomplished in my day. Before I would center my free time around drinking. Where was the newest brunch spot my friend and I can go to to drink mimosas? Does this Italian restaurant I’m going to with my husband have half price bottles of wine? If I clean the house this morning, workout in the afternoon, that will give me plenty of time to prepare dinner and crack open a bottle of red so I can drink two glasses on my own beforehand. These were actual thoughts that would go through my head that consumed a lot of mind space. When I stopped, these thoughts were no longer an option so it was easy for me to begin to fill my days with activities that were truly meaningful to me.
- Little things don’t irritate me like they used to. I know this kind of goes hand in hand with lowered anxiety, but I really need to mention this one. When I was drinking, I wasn’t effectively handling my emotions and that would eventually lead to me getting irritated and angry easily. This would mani