First off, I’d really like to point out how the word “Sober” has been looked at as such a negative and unfortunate thing. When someone says they are sober, we instantly feel that they are broken, have an addiction or cannot control themselves. When really being sober can just as easily be a choice, not because of these reasons, but simply because someone decides to just not have a drink.
Have you thought about how alcohol is considered a drug, and yet when someone says they do not want a drink, we instantly question their choice of why?
How come alcohol is the only drug that when you say no, you have to explain yourself. When someone offers you a cigarette or a joint and you say no, no questions are asked.
When someone says they quit smoking, we say “Congratulations and that’s awesome”. But when I decide to tell people I’ve quit drinking they say “Oh how come? Did you have an issue with drinking? Is everything okay?”.
This society has completely turned its view on alcohol as the norm and blame the person for their habits bit yet we dont blame the person for any other drug. Smokers blame the Nicotine, Coffee drinkers blame the Caffeine and drug addicts blame the drugs, but alcoholics and binge drinkers are blamed themselves. Shouldn’t we look at all of these the same?
How it all starts.
When you are 14 and going through a massive hormonal change, social acceptance and fighting to fit in, you come across alcohol. The way everyone connects on weekends and the “cool” kids shine, alcohol is used to help you gain confidence, prove you can be a part of the group and make everyone feel connected. From when you are young you use alcohol as your social crutch, not learning how to deal with these situations and emotions head on.
From highschool, it goes to college, a new city with new friends and new parties. You’ve never not gone out and not had a drink, so how do you know how to be in these social situations with an honest mind and true feelings. Some nights you don’t feel like going out but there is a huge social get together and you could win some popular merits, might as well have a few pre-game drinks with the girls, to get you into the mood.
This vicious cycle keeps going with dating, work and socializing. There are very rarely situations that aren’t surrounded by people needing to have a drink in their hand to connect with other people.
So what is a Sober Curious lifestyle?
Sober Curious a lifestyle where you choose not to drink alcohol for your own personal growth and health. You decide to take life head on and be in the moment, appreciate that awkwardness, and wake up feeling refreshed and good. You realize that those things you’ve been doing with alcohol, are always capable of doing sober. It doesn’t mean I’m not going to have a glass of wine from time to time at a nice dinner with friends or at a celebration. I’m not completely cutting myself off from a delicious Nappa Cab with my steak, but the moment has to be right and I have to feel good about the situation and why I am choosing to have that glass.
Definitely in the beginning I felt very awkward, and realized that social anxiety is a very real thing and I’ve had it this whole time. But I clearly was masking those emotions by an extra drink, to make me open up, be social and feel apart of the group. I realized that I’m definitely not the only one that didn’t know how to react or had the courage to be as social as I was before. Its a lot harder for me to casually start up a conversation with a stranger at the bar or event, but I’m learning and growing. I’m happy feeling these uncomfortable moments and understand that I may need to sneak out earlier once the party gets to “wild”.
The hardest part for me was the conversation and awkwardness with friendships I had that were based solely on drinking. When I decided to start this path and opened up to other about it, I sadly had a lot of friends stop talking to me or reaching out to hang out, surprisngly a lot of those were friends I never thought would push me away. This derived from them not knowing how to be around me or making them questions their own choices and purely lack of education on the situation. Even my family hasn’t reached out or tried to openly talk to me about how I feel about my journey or why or how I decided to start. It’s definitely made me realize I need to dig deep down and really do this on my own.
But I’m still Nastassia, I’m still the outgoing, no filtered short chick who would do anything for her friends. But now, I just need to really be in the mood to go out and socialize or really don’t feel like sitting at that dark dingy, stinky ass bar watching everyone drowning themselves with shot after shot and doing embarrassing things that they apologize about the next day.
I found it funny when I went out with old friends I haven’t seen in a while and the first thing most of them said to me was “how are you doing? Is everything okay?”. To be honest it really shocked me, it really made me realize just how much alcohol is apart of peoples lives. In my eyes, they’re the ones I should be asking that question to, they’re the ones going to the same place almost every night, waking up the next morning feeling like shit and questioning what happened the night before and how they got that drunk.
From this choice to not have a drink, I have learnt so much about myself, how I am with people and how much my life needs balance and happiness, and that I will never find with alcohol. We have all been there and have all talked about “cutting back”, its time to make it easier. Easier in the every day social world, easier at work functions or in certain industries, and easier around friends and family.