Yes, I am completing a challenge I never thought I would and never have before. 100 days sober. 30 days in, you saw the general lessons I’ve learned in my previous post, as well as the reasons for why you should be sober curious in the first place. Througout the challenge I have recorded my revelations, realisations and difficulties, of which there’ve been many. The remainder of posts in this series will be sharing these with you. Stay tuned and follow for the update at 60 days and finally a hundred, when the challenge is successfully completed.
To keep it digestible, this first update has been split into two parts. I’ll be covering a broad range of topics, from how I dealt with social interactions to what changes I saw in my daily life and way of thinking. I hope this might inspire others and offer support and validation to anyone else attempting the same. Trust me, if I can do it, you certainly can.
When I started this journey I was staying at my mum’s, cat and house sitting. There was no one around to keep me accountable and the cats main concern when I consumed anything, was that it was OBVIOUS they should be fed too. Most of my time was spent alone, there was no wine in the fridge and alcohol was not something dangled in my face. Distraction and temptation could be controlled, same way as keeping junkfood out the house when dieting. It was a good way to ease into the challenge.
I knew that the real challenge would come when faced with socialising, where people around me might be drinking. In general, this was what I dreaded the most. Would I have as much fun? Would I be as fun without this social lubricant so heavily endorsed by British culture. Naturally, I told all my friends that my decision should not affect them. They were absolutely free to have a drink if they wanted to. This wouldn’t make it easier for me but I didn’t want my decision to affect anyone else, particularly as I planned to live this way for some time. My first entry reflects on my first venture outside the house.
Day 6 — The Italian Restaurant
There aren’t many restaurants out here in the sticks. I was craving comfort food and decided to visit the one Italian restaurant on the one high street. The food was pleasant and though overpriced, it did come with a side of Italian warmth and generosity. There was something else I noticed, accompanied by internal Jaws music, that might not have drawn my attention normally. Wine glasses. Wine glasses glinting mockingly at me everywhere. Nothing strange in that. But what my distracted mind cottoned on to was the fact that every single person of legal age to drink in that establishment, was sipping wine with their meal.
Every. Single. One. Coddling couples, family gatherings, friends catching up. I could not spot a table without a drink on it. I found myself tempted, reminiscing about enjoying a glass of wine at so many casual outings such as this. Staying at my mum’s did put me into a slight ‘holiday mode’ of thinking. Alcohol was firmly attached to my idea of “downtime” and being out. But I also found myself having a stomach dropping moment of realisation, how entirely unnecessary it seemed. I was surprised to find in my research that actually, alcohol numbs your taste buds. So I sat with the knowledge that my food should in fact be tastier. Needless to say, with the temptation staring me abundantly in the face, I was incredibly proud of myself for resisting. The first real hurdle was done.
Day 12 — There Are Other Drinks Out There
Today I had the urge to have a cheeky glass of wine to wind down and I have gotten big into CBD drinks and alcohol free beers instead. If I’m honest, I’m not sure the CBD drinks do anything for me. Maybe due to being neurodivergent. But I think they and the alcohol-free beers for sure seem to have a palpable placebo effect. People argue that alcohol free beers are damaging as it still creates the idea of a beer. I think unless you have a drinking problem whereby this idea is a very strong trigger for you that makes you crave a real beer more, that they are brilliant. To me they’re proving a very helpful mental aid.
Day 13 — Who You Date and Surround Yourself With Makes a Difference
Not much room for in-your-face temptation as of yet bar that restaurant visit. My boyfriend doesn’t drink and I can’t pretend that doesn’t make things easier. I have reflected on how your partner’s drinking habits and attitude to health in general can have a huge impact on your own. This also counts for friends. There has definitely been a shift in my thinking about drinking. It’s creeping up on me slowly but surely.
Day 14 — The Evenings
Feelings towards booze shift, ebb and flow. It’s harder in the evenings. I definitely connect a drink to ideas of relaxing, particularly when overwhelmed. But I realised when thinking about it that it would only make me feel more overwhelmed and less capable as opposed to the opposite.
Here’s the thing, that feeling of overwhelm passes eventually. It goes away, you feel calm.
This reminds me of when my former counsellor first advised me in terms of moderation when I wanted to attempt dry January during Lockdown.
“What’s the worst that will happen if you don’t have a drink? Boredom? Discomfort. Nothing so terrible will happen will it? So be bored. Be uncomfortable. You’re safe, you won’t die. It’s ok.”
I am paraphrasing of course, but that was the gist. If there’s one thing I’ve learned, it’s that each time you overcome a discomfort, the easier it becomes.
Day 16 — Good Decisions and Happy Mirrors
I’m learning how to sit with my emotions and realising how having a drink can simply be a distraction from them. Knowing it’s ok to have a little cry and feel better afterwards. I said no to meeting friends at the pub despite feeling a bit down. I’ll be seeing them tomorrow for my first social event where my companions will be drinking. Dinner and a jazz night. I know it’s not wise to put myself in this kind of scenario so early on, but it’s meant to be a belated Birthday celebration.
If I can be fully present and enjoy that, then everything else should be a doddle. On that subject, I did say no to a separate event, dinner in a club, with expectations to stay late. If attempting this kind of challenge, know yourself. The first month you are rewiring your brain and habits, avoiding a situation where you know the discomfort would be too great, is a form of self care. Know yourself and your limits.
As an aside. My face is slimmer and more streamlined, my skin is glowing. I feel more attractive bare faced than I ever have. Let’s see how tomorrow goes…
I hope you found this article helpful, any hearts appreciated if you did. I would love to hear your thoughts and what other topics you’d like to see me research or write about, so please don’t hesitate to leave a comment.
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