There are many things I was striving for when making the decision to get sober. I was done with the hangovers, weight gain, and anxiety. I can confidently say sobriety did deliver on those areas. But, to my surprise it also gave me some very unexpected, but pleasant side effects and realizations. I want to share them with you, because they might surprise you too! Who knows, maybe one of these could a be a reason for you to examine your relationship with alcohol.
1. Clearer skin
“Alcohol is actually one of the worst, most aggressive compounds to destroy your skin,”says New York nutritionist Jairo Rodriguez
This is probably one of my favorites. Which is why I listed it first. I always wore make-up. You would never catch me in public without it. Between the dark circles, puffiness, and being blotchy I was always self conscious. When I quit drinking I noticed my skin seemed to glow. I didn’t feel the need to put makeup on every time I left the house. People would comment that I looked different, but couldn’t quite figure out why. I knew why, and I was proud to tell them. It’s all thanks to sobriety. If you would like to learn more, here is an interesting article on Vougue.com
2. Brighter eyes
One of my favorite things to see is a sober person’s eyes. You don’t realize how much the alcohol dimed your inner light until you compare a photo of yourself in your drinking days, to your now sober self. The eyes shine, and you glow from the inside out. Not to mention the white’s are really white. No more bloodshot and puffy eyes. Which is also another reason I hardly feel the need for makeup anymore.
3. My hair started to grow in thicker
While there is no evidence that alcohol consumption directly affects hair loss, according to healthline.com drinking too much alcohol can contribute to deficiencies or malabsorption of key nutrients. In particular, there’s evidence that not getting enough zinc, copper, or protein may lead to hair shedding. In some cases, people who drink heavily may not eat enough nutrients due to poor diet. In other cases, alcohol actually interferes with the way the body processes and uses food during digestion. As a binge drinker, I have no doubt I fit this bill. I lost a lot of hair during my drinking days. I have noticed new hair growing in and even my hairdresser commented on the amount of new hair growth I have.
4. More free time
I never realized how many hours I was spending a week drinking, recovering from drinking, or thinking about when I would be drinking again. I was a prisoner to the poison, and it had all my free time. So imagine having all that time back. At first I didn’t know what I was going to do with myself. But soon I found healthier options to fill my time. I have been able to stay consistent with my strength training routine. It helps to not have a lurking hangover to ruin my motivation. I’ve also found that it’s okay to just be. You know, not doing anything at all. Those are moments I am starting to crave more and more. I am able to lean into my feelings and reflect on where I am in my journey.
5. Releasing emotions
Feeling the hard emotions is extremely uncomfortable. And if you are anything like me, avoiding them with alcohol seemed to be the right thing to do. Unfortunately, when we drink, we aren’t releasing these emotions from our body. It is just a way to mute them for a bit. So, bad news, being sober means putting on your big girl panties and working through the hard shit. The emotion needs to be felt in order to go away. I had a build up of emotions that I never dealt with and it turned into anxiety. Read about my experience with anxiety in my blog post What Came First, Anxiety or Alcohol? The good news is, your body was made to process emotions. I never imagined that coping with problems sober would actually help me release them. But, I continue to prove that to myself in sobriety.
6. No longer needing to calculate the number of drinks I have per week for health forms
I was filling out a health form for my new therapist and when I got to the question about how much alcohol I consume weekly I paused, and realized that for once I don’t have to over think this one. I happily put down A BIG FAT ZERO. I don’t know about you, but I was never honest with this question. I always spent way more time than needed on a very simple, matter of fact, question. I would calculate and then divide in half. Or sometimes I would put down that I only drink socially. It sounded less problematic, and more acceptable. And it wasn’t a total lie, I did enjoy drinking while socializing.
7. Becoming a morning person
I was not a morning person. My family knew not to talk to me until I was up and moving around for at least a couple hours. I had a short fuse. Most mornings were spent fighting to get my daughter up and out the door for school. It really was a shit way to start the day. Since getting sober I have started to love my mornings. I wake up refreshed, because I am getting quality sleep. If you haven’t heard, alcohol ruins your sleep. Your body doesn’t get enough REM cycles to feel rested and refreshed the next day. Not to mention alcohol before bed can cause insomnia. Read more in this article from the Sleep Foundation. Since getting more restful sleep I actually look forward to mornings. I am more patient with my teenage daughter, which benefits us both. My days are much more productive now that I start them with a clear and rested mind.
8. I am more patient
This probably piggybacks on getting more quality sleep. But I will say, my patience has improved tenfold. Looking back, the combination of being tired and rushing to get to the finish line where there was a drink waiting caused impatience. I seemed to always be in a hurry for no good reason. This resulted in being irritated whenever things weren’t happening quick enough or on my timeline. I spent a lot of time trying to control everything around me. These days, I only put my energy towards things I can control. If there is a situation where I have to wait in line, or wait on someone else to get something done, I embrace it as an opportunity to slow down. I am no longer rushing through life, I am enjoying each moment.
9. Pink cloud days
What is a pink cloud day? According to healthline.com Pink clouding, or pink cloud syndrome, describes a stage of early addiction recovery that involves feelings of euphoria and elation. When you’re in this phase, you feel confident and excited about recovery. I truly believe it’s a reward for having to feel all the hard shit. Getting sober can bring up some heavy emotions. I used to drown out all the bad with alcohol. In doing so, I also drowned out the good. Having pink cloud days is extremely blissful. I have never experienced that amount of joy with alcohol. 10/10 highly recommended.
Alcohol was supposed to make me feel better about myself and give me the confidence I needed to bull shit my way through life. It did the exact opposite. That voice in my head, the one that does all the dialog throughout the day, she was a straight up Bitch. She never shut up about the negative shit. She hated my body, my dreams and ideas. She pointed out all my imperfections. She couldn’t make a decision to save her life. She wasn’t someone I wanted to be friends with, yet there she was living rent free in my head. Since I quit drinking I notice I feel very secure in who I am. I don’t doubt my decisions, because I know they are coming from a clear sound mind. My inner voice is gentle and not a crazy drunk critic. Having an inner cheerleader is so empowering.
11. Sober people aren’t boring
I was really worried that my sober life was going to be boring. Drinking had me doing the same thing, over and over again. The activity was drinking, everything else was the reason to do so. Gatherings to watch football, which I hate by the way, were just an excuse to tie one on. Having a pool day was a reason to have an all day binge fest. Vacations were for getting blackout drunk in a new environment. I’ve learned I can do all of these things without alcohol and still have a good time. I am still not going to watch football, that shit bores me. Which brings me my next point. I no longer do things I don’t like to do. I used alcohol to “get through” situations and gatherings that really didn’t excite me. I am building a new life that doesn’t require alcohol to be fun.
Yours Truly Sober,