January 03, 2020

Alcohol-Free for One Year: My thoughts, introspections, how it affected my life, and whether I'll continue


(Trigger warning: There are photos in this post of me drinking alcohol--in the past--and describing the things I miss about it; if you're a recovering alcoholic, I just wanted to forewarn you in case that will be a trigger.)

Before I get into this post, I wanted to say that I know that using the word "sobriety" or "sober" is touchy for some people. On my last post about it, some people were offended by my use of the word because I hadn't gone through hell and hit other people's ideas of "rock bottom" to be able to quit drinking.

However, I think it's a very personal choice of language. Nobody knows exactly what my journey before, during or currently was/is like, what got me to the point of committing to not drinking for a year, or how difficult it was for me.

While I didn't have DUI's and arrests, or lose my family and friends, or wind up homeless due to alcohol; I choose to use the word "sober" because I had to work really fucking hard at it. It wasn't a joke, or a dumb challenge; it meant a lot to my lifestyle, which I will get into in this post.

So, I mean no offense to anyone by using the word "sober"--I know that SO many people have horror stories of what alcohol did to their lives, much worse than anything I've dealt with. But there are people with not-so-obvious stories, too, and I don't want to invalidate those. Everybody's story is unique and valid. This is a very vulnerable post for me. I hope that you'll respect that.

This is a great article that explains "sobriety", including the DSM-V criteria for recovery. I find it very interesting!

That said, let me get into this post, which will likely be long.

On January 1st, 2019, I declared that I was going to give up alcohol for one year. I had tried numerous times to give it up for 30 days or whatever, but toward the end of 2018, I knew I really needed to take it seriously. I didn't want to say it was forever, because I honestly didn't want to give it up forever. I liked drinking!

I was not physically dependent on alcohol, but I did abuse it in the sense that I used it for calming anxiety. Alcohol is the only thing that has ever worked to ease anxiety for me (I tried therapy, benzodiazepines, and even medicinal marijuana--nothing worked liked alcohol).

My anxiety started to get really high in 2014, and it was (stupidly) due to blog or social media comments. (I have since written a post about how I stopped feeling anxious over social media--and it's still mostly true. But I think social media will forever cause an anxiety pit in my stomach.) When I allowed anonymous comments on my blog, people would say hurtful things sometimes, and it got to the point where I would dread seeing that I got comments on my posts. I was worried about it ALL the time.

For years, I was able to have a small glass of wine in the evenings and be totally satisfied. When I was losing weight, I measured out 4-6 oz, and I was fine with that. Once my anxiety started going up, and I wasn't counting calories anymore, I would drink more to combat the anxiety. I always poured a glass of wine when starting a blog post, and then refilled as needed.

It was also a social anxiety reliever. I eventually got to the point where I would have a couple of drinks before people would come over (and then more when they were here) just to keep myself from being socially awkward and anxious. At get-togethers, I noticed I always drank more than others, which was starting to make me question my drinking, and whether it was a problem.

And then, as with any drug, my tolerance grew and I had to drink more to get that anxiety relief. At the end of 2018, I finally accepted that it was a problem and I was going to have to be drastic. I couldn't just do a 30-day challenge or something to "prove to myself" that I could go without it. I wanted to do it long enough to see positive changes so that I would WANT to stop drinking. (Because I certainly didn't want to stop! I felt that I needed to stop.)

Physically, I felt like crap all the time when I was drinking. I would wake up feeling bloated and puffy. The alcohol would usually make me eat more, both while drinking and then the next day because my stomach would feel sour. And I always felt dehydrated.

I don't care to go into all the personal details of "before", but I will just say that I knew alcohol was a problem for me. And I wanted to take care of it before it became a bigger problem. I didn't want to become someone who would drink and drive, or who got mean when drinking, or who would stumble around the house drunk. Nobody wants to get to that point! So I tried to think of what would help me to quit for long enough to see a change in my health (mental and physical).

The most drastic thing I could think of in order to make it through a whole year was to be extremely public about it.

I had read that it can take up to a year before you really start to see the benefits of quitting drinking, and since the new year was approaching, I decided to make it a top priority for 2019. Not just a typical goal, or a new year's resolution... but a true NEED for change. And I told myself that if, after a year, I didn't see any changes or if I just wanted to drink again, I could. But I was solidly committed to one full year.

I wrote the declaration on my blog, I wrote it on my Facebook page, and I even shared it on my personal Facebook wall for my friends to see. I wanted everyone to know so that if they saw me drinking, I would feel the shame of it. Hurt my pride. Have to explain that I just couldn't hack it.

Choosing to do it for a year was helpful when explaining to people why I wasn't drinking in a social situation (because people always ask). I just said that I was doing a personal challenge for a year, and that satisfied their curiosity. I was afraid if I got into the deeper reasons, they might feel judged themselves, and I wasn't judging anyone. Like I said, it's personal for everybody.

Almost immediately after making the announcement that I was giving up alcohol for a year, I regretted it. It had become such a habit for me to have wine at night, and I felt like I was crawling out of my skin with anxiety and simple boredom. I hated feeling so anxious and not having any relief from it. My psychiatrist prescribed anxiety meds, but they just didn't do the trick like alcohol did.

For weeks, I felt like giving up drinking was the stupidest idea I'd ever had. I wished I hadn't been public about it. If I hadn't been, I would have given up on the second day!

I had expected to feel something magical happen--like I would just wake up one day and feel a trillion times better and my anxiety would be gone. I wanted to feel like all those success stories from former drinkers who make it sound like sobriety is all sunshine and rainbows. (Seeing their stories on Instagram was very motivating to me, however; it was nice to see that there are young, fun people who choose to live a sober lifestyle).



In truth, I didn't experience those sunshine and rainbows. In retrospect, there were a couple of physical changes--I didn't feel puffy all the time when I woke up, and I wouldn't wake up in the night feeling hot and cold at the same time, or just restless while trying to fall back asleep. I loved waking up knowing that I hadn't said anything stupid while getting together with friends or sent texts when feeling uninhibited.

On the contrary, my anxiety was higher than ever and I had no relief. I did start to eat more (basically replacing alcohol with food) and I knew that wasn't a healthy replacement (although, I felt that junk food was the lesser of two evils).

I kept reminding myself that it can take a full year to feel the good effects of quitting alcohol, which is one of the reasons I kept going. And my pride. Let's not forget that. (I could have cheated without anyone knowing, but I was committed to MYSELF--not just others.)

About 4-5 months in, I started to find myself feeling bitter toward alcohol in general. I started thinking about how stupid it was that alcohol has to be involved in everything social, and how much I hated the "mommy wine culture" trend (seeing the memes about "mommy juice", a.k.a. wine, would make me feel sad rather than make me laugh).



I became pretty irritated about it all, and Jerry said I sounded judgmental. I didn't feel like I was judging people, but more so that I was just irritated that alcohol has to play such a huge part in everything. It's everywhere and it's so "normal" that I feel abnormal for not drinking it.

By six months in, I hated the idea of alcohol. I never, ever expected to feel that way when I started the year. At that point, I had a feeling that I would want to continue the sobriety beyond a year. Not that I didn't miss how much it relaxed me, or how it made me feel more social; but I just was weighing the pros and cons frequently, and it felt like there were more pros than cons.

Now just over twelve months in, I can't say that I've noticed a ton of positive changes since quitting. I haven't gotten to the "sunshine and rainbows" part. Perhaps that's because my life wasn't in shambles when I decided to quit. I imagine if I had been drinking all day long, driving while drunk, getting arrested for public intoxication, being mean or abusive to my family, losing my money, family, house, etc., I would probably notice some huge changes by quitting. But because I hadn't gotten even close to that point, the changes are very subtle.

Here are the things I enjoy about staying alcohol-free:

Waking up without worrying about stupid things I may have said or texted while my inhibitions were low the night before.

Going to bed knowing that I'm not going to feel any effects of a hangover the next morning.

Not having to worry about having a designated driver.

The feeling of being in control.

Setting a good example for my kids (letting them see that not EVERY adult drinks and that it's perfectly okay to choose not to).

More energy on a day-to-day basis.


The difficult parts:

Insomnia--I toss and turn all night long, and I had hoped that quitting drinking would help this. But I am forever an insomniac. My bipolar meds do help more than before I started taking them, but I still have sleep issues.

The obvious one: anxiety. I still have it and it's not going away. However, it's gotten better over the last six months or so as compared to the first six months of sobriety.

Feeling like a party pooper in social situations. I know it shouldn't matter what people think, and I honestly have no idea if people think that I'm boring because I don't drink; but I am extremely shy and inhibited without alcohol, so I'm definitely not much fun at parties.

And to be real, I just don't have as much fun as I used to. (For what it's worth, my friends are at the age where "partying" doesn't consist of doing shots and getting into a drunk stupor--usually at get-togethers, my friends will have 2-3 drinks tops, over a several hour period. What can I say? We're getting old.)

I miss being able to "let loose" and get a wine buzz with Jerry on a date night. We used to laugh so hard and have the best conversations when drinking wine together (there is something about a wine buzz that is different from other alcohol).


I've had a much harder time losing weight, because I use food for comfort now that I don't have the alcohol. I would really like to find a healthy replacement that works just as well! (Exercise is the obvious choice, but it doesn't work for me... perhaps because of my former "fat girl" mentality.)



Overall, I know that the positives outweigh the negatives, even if it doesn't always feel that way. The toughest situation for me over the past year has actually been flying/traveling sober. I have such a horrible fear of flying that I ALWAYS had to have two glasses of wine to get on a flight and 1-2 more during the flight. Flying sober, my stomach was in knots the entire time. However, when I got off the plane, I didn't feel loopy or tired, bloated, or even anxious. I felt great!

Social situations really aren't that hard anymore. I know that it's controversial in sober lifestyles, but I found Heineken 0.0% (alcohol-free beer) to be a lifesaver. Heineken was my favorite beer for years, and when I saw that they had a truly alcohol-free version, I hoped it would be similar. And honest-to-God, if I tasted the two side-by-side, I wouldn't know the difference. It's so good! I don't drink it on a regular basis, but it comes in handy when I really want a beer.


So, when I go somewhere for a get together or if we're having people here, I just drink that. Not simply to "fit in"--my friends don't pressure me to drink--but because I like the taste of it. (Actually, we had two couples over for New Year's Eve, and my friend Amanda had the thoughtfulness to ask me if it was going to be "dry" or if it was cool if they brought a couple of hard ciders. That was SO considerate of her to ask! But of course I don't expect people to stop drinking around me.)

Having people drink around me doesn't make it difficult for me, which was surprising to me. I think it helps that I can choose to have my non-alcoholic options. I definitely don't want to make other people feel like they can't drink around me or that I'm judging them. I'm not.

One thing I've noticed is that drinking just one of the Heineken 0.0% beers is satisfying. With regular beer, one was never enough! Now, I'll have 1-2 at a party (or 3 if I'm feeling really wild, haha) and I'm totally cool with that. Plus, they are only 69 calories each! (I know that non-alcoholic beer can be triggering for some people that live sober lifestyles, but I have found the opposite to be true for me.)

I've also found a non-alcoholic wine that I like. I always thought that sounded stupid--wouldn't non-alcoholic wine just be grape juice? But it actually tastes very much like the dry red wine that I like, not sweet at all. I don't drink it often, though--I usually just save it for when I am craving that romanticized idea of curling up on the couch with a warm blanket and reading a good book, or something like that.

Funnily enough, the one situation I can think of that I just don't want to be in is to go out for Mexican food and not have a margarita. I LOVE margaritas and there is a particular Mexican restaurant in Toledo that makes the best margaritas ever. I don't think I can go to that restaurant, at least not for now.

Margaritas with Caitlin at my favorite Mexican place:


So, for the million dollar question... what's next? Am I going to start drinking again now that my year is over?

No, I'm not. I am also not going to say that I'll never drink again, either. Right now, I know that if I was to drink, I wouldn't be able to do so in moderation or have total control over it. Maybe someday I will get back to that point, but I know that I can't do that right now.

Also, I'm pretty content with not drinking. There have been only a few times over the past few months that I felt a real craving (going to a party on the 28th was the hardest--I get nervous to go to things like that, and I normally would have had a couple glasses of wine before going.)

But with the Heineken 0.0% and the non-alcoholic wine (or even mocktails), I don't really feel like I "need" to drink. Sure, I want to sometimes--if not to relieve anxiety, then to at least let loose. But those moments pass, and I'm always glad that I didn't do it.

If anyone is thinking about going alcohol-free for a while, I highly suggest doing it for a bare minimum of nine months (if not a year). I don't feel like anything less than that will give you the full picture. If you go into it knowing that you're only going to do it for a 30-day challenge or even 90 days, then you're constantly focused on that finish line. And 30 days isn't a long time!

Going alcohol-free for a full year means going through your birthday, Christmas, multiple parties, weddings, New Year's Eve, the holiday season, and lots of other social situations. If we choose a particularly boring month to go alcohol-free, we don't get to truly experience the hardships of it, which keep the good parts from standing out and being noticed.

I don't say this in judgement, because there are plenty of people who have no problem moderating alcohol; but I encourage anyone who drinks to see what it's like to go for a year without it. It was life-changing for me. I hadn't realized just what a problem it was until going several months without.

I don't think of alcohol as "bad". I do think that it has the potential to be horrible, though. It destroys peoples lives every day. But for a lot of people, it's hard to realize that it's a problem until it's too late. I think that doing a one-year experiment helps to see if there is a problem, even if it's just something minor.

So, that is what I've learned in my year of being alcohol-free. I never, ever expected to continue beyond a year (actually, I doubted I would even last the year); but my head is much clearer and I've done a lot of introspection this past year. I've learned a lot about myself, and I'm grateful that I made the most of this "experiment". It also made me want to get healthier in 2020.

Again, I feel very vulnerable posting all of this, so please be kind if you choose to comment. I am not, in any way, judging those who drink or don't drink for any reason. This year of sobriety was about ME. I'm very glad I did it, and I plan to continue as long as I feel the need to--perhaps forever. I'm not making any declarations beyond right now, though. I feel I've learned enough to make the decision in a smart way, rather than an emotional one.




I'm not sure why, but "Carri" deleted these comments after I replied. I feel it's important to address her concerns, so I just thought I'd reply to them here:




If you read my post, I actually DID mention my kids when I write about the positives of choosing not to drink: "Setting a good example for my kids (letting them see that not EVERY adult drinks and that it's perfectly okay to choose not to)."

Also, I never said I was an alcoholic. Maybe some people would call me that based on this post, but according to criteria in the DSM-V, I do not fit the profile for an alcoholic. If I was an alcoholic, then about 90% of the people I know are, too. I decided to quit before it came to that point. My kids are happy and healthy, and always have been--I choose not to share much about their lives on here because of judgmental people on the internet. (I know it's shocking, but judgmental people on the internet exist! 😂)

When Carri implies that only alcoholics need designated drivers, I felt this was an important point to reply to--I think EVERYBODY should have a designated driver if there is alcohol involved (it doesn't matter how much or how little). In my opinion, choosing to have a designated driver doesn't make one an alcoholic. It's just the responsible thing to do when drinking alcohol.

So, Carri, I'm sorry that you felt the need to delete your comments. They are great questions!


54 comments:

  1. Congratulations on making it a year! It was so brave of you to share your journey with us. I'm so happy for you making it through and staying true to your word.

    I wish you all the best as you continue to be alcohol free. My mother was sober since my father was an alcoholic, it was always refreshing to see her having fun with friends and family without the need of alcohol.

    Brene Brown has a great post about her sobriety and the impact it has had on her life. Hope it's some inspiration for you.
    https://brenebrown.com/blog/2019/05/31/what-being-sober-has-meant-to-me/

    Happy 2020!!!

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    1. Thank you so much, Erica! I think it's great that you mother stayed sober while your father was an alcoholic--I was in the same situation (I was young, so I don't remember much). I'm definitely going to check out Brene Brown's post! Thanks for suggesting :)

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  2. Congratulations on achieving your goal. I have not given up drinking but have cut way back. In 2019 I had maybe a drink a month, except during a family reunion when I had no more than one drink a day. Peoples' reactions are interesting. I'm not sure why they assume I am judging them? This is about me. My reasons are my own.

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    1. I totally understand. It seems that people get defensive when they learn you choose not to drink. That's great you made the decision for yourself and you feel good about it!

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  3. I think you're amazing, and I love everything about your post. I love your reasoning, not that you even needed one. You do you :) I had my own reasons for stopping nearly 2 years ago, and I STILL get questions about it. I am THIS close to making up dramatic answers because my friends refuse to accept that I just cant moderate myself and I needed to stop. I applaud you for your hard work. Congrats on your sobriety; it's exactly what and how you define it for yourself :)

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    1. It's so crazy how much a role alcohol plays in our lives, isn't it?! It's frustrating that everyone wants to know WHY you're not drinking. I didn't really get it myself until I was living it. Most of my friends didn't ask, but total strangers did at parties, which I find so unusual. Anyway, congrats on nearly two years!

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  4. What a great learning experience! I'm sorry you have such anxiety. I did for a bit and my daughter has it more severely. I found that a probiotic with strains specifically for anxiety (I take one called Mood) as well as magnesium (I use a powder called "Calm" - ha!) have really changed me. I feel like a different person. Don't know that it works for all, but I love it. Are your hormones checked out, and your vitamins/minerals? I never used to give much thought to that, but man, what a difference something made for me. And I've recently cut out sugar and processed foods and eat lots of healthy fats and of course some protein and veggies/fruit (like everyone talks about), and my body has started to really change and I don't have cravings. Anyway...you are an inspiration and I love reading your posts. Thanks for sharing, as always!

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    1. Thanks for sharing! I'm hoping this change in diet will help out with the anxiety. I've been an anxious person my entire life (I can remember back as far as six years old worrying all night long about things). Anxiety sucks!

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  5. I just want to say that you are AMAZING and I truly admire you. Your honesty, vulnerability, and determination are something that definitely gives me strength as a longtime reader of your blog. There is also a genuine humbleness in what you share, and so I hope you also give yourself all the credit you deserve. Congrats on achieving a goal that was so important to you, and happy new year!

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    1. Thank you so much, Rach! That means a lot coming from you. I get so nervous about posting such personal stuff, but I always feel better afterward. I appreciate your kind words!

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  6. I admire your accomplishment and curious what na wine you like?

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    1. Well, there is only ONE brand that I can find around here, and it's called FRE (I believe it's by Sutter Home). I don't like the Chardonnay or Merlot, but the Red Blend and the Sparkling Brut are very good. I typically love bold reds (Zinfandel and Cabernet) and it's not as bold as that; but for a wine substitute, it's very good. (FYI, like most non-alcoholic drinks, it contains a minuscule amount of alcohol (less than 0.5%) which is considered non-alcoholic, but some people disagree). I promise you won't get a buzz from it, hahaha.

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  7. So proud of you, Katie!! ♥️

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  8. Congrats on one year sober! Your story is inspiring!

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    1. I appreciate the kind comment, Kayla--thank you!

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  9. What an accomplishment! You should be very proud of yourself! I don't drink very often, but definitely enjoy a good glass of red or a cold beer. My partner is trying to stop drinking but hasn't sent a day limit. I was waiting for this post so he could read your thoughts on a year without alcohol. Thanks for sharing such a vulnerable post. It is helpful to others and nice to hear your story.

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    1. Thank you for sharing! I hope that your partner is able to find some insight in this post. Like I said, if anyone is thinking about quitting, I HIGHLY recommend at least trying it for 9-12 months. It really does change your attitude toward it. I NEVER imagined I would go a minute past 12:00 midnight on December 31st, hahaha.

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  10. That's great. I think being in control is a good thing so support you all the way. I hardly ever drink and then usually no more that 1 pint, I didn't go out for new years eve but had a posh hot chocolate with family. I thought about adding alcohol but it would not have improved it to decided not to. There is no point in waiting to hit rock bottom to stop drinking stopping when you notice a problem is much better. A couple of questions, do you think you saved money? How is the coffee/caffeine going, you did post about stopping drinking coffee but that was ages ago and I can't remember what you wrote.

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    1. I wish I could say I saved money, I but really don't think I saved much. I got into a bad ice cream habit (a pint of good ice cream is $5-6!). I always bought fairly cheap wine ($8 a bottle or so). I did save a bit by not drinking at restaurants. Drinks are SO expensive at restaurants/bars! I really didn't eat out much at all this year, so I guess I saved money that way.

      I quit drinking coffee, because it makes my anxiety skyrocket. Once in a while, I'll give it a try, hoping that it won't affect me like that, but it always does. I need to learn my lesson! I do drink tea every morning, which contains caffeine, but it doesn't affect me like coffee.

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  11. Thank you for sharing such a personal journey, it is really thought provoking for me. I grew up with young, alcoholic parents- not intact so I got to go between two dysfunctional homes. I later met and married the son of an abusive alcoholic, not a great mix and with both of is focused on avoiding our parents mistakes but in no way healed from our childhood, we should have run! (Spoiler alert we've been together 27 years and it's now better than I could have dreamed)
    I lost my dad to the affects of alcoholism, emotionally long ago as I had to set safe boundaries for my children and later when his body sucommed to the years of abuse. When I was young he was the fun guy, always ready for a party or fishing with the guys - there were of course much darker times that I will always carry the scars from. When he met my step mother they fell into such an unhealthy relationship and eventually life was only about drinking and not the young kids they still had at home, completely isolating themselves to the point he did not work for the last 10 years he was "healthy". As I've turned this comment into a blog already lol I'll summarize his death as horrible for every one around him, the first time he detoxed with brain swelling caused by a fall was the most scarring thing I have handled in my adult life and that includes signing the paperwork to stop life prolonging treatment as my stepmonster was not competent to do it.
    You would think this all would cause me to avoid alcohol, in fact in my 20s I rarely drank, there was never alcohol in my home and if we had it for a party it was limited. As we've gotten older we've gotten lax with a glass of wine or whiskey occasionally becoming nightly and sometimes more. I tend to be more sensitive to the slid than my husband but we have both started this year without alchohol..me telling him and him quietly that joining me without me realizing.

    Thank you for sharing your journey in 2019 as I contemplated my own.

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    1. Wow, I am SO sorry about your dad and what you had to endure as far as his alcoholism. It really is amazing how easily alcohol can destroy a family. I'm so glad that you're doing well now, but it's terrible that you have those memories of your dad and stepmom.

      Thank you so much for sharing. I'm sure so many people can relate to your story! I think it's great that you're taking control while you still can. Best wishes to you and your husband!

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  12. Excellent article....absolutely excellent! I've chosen not to drink at home anymore because I've recognized it's a problem for me. I rarely drink socially because I don't have a ton of opportunity to do so. I so related to alcohol working like nothing else for anxiety..this is what I'm struggling with...and I know it's not real relief but it sure feels like it at the time! I definitely replaced food with alcohol at night which in turn has caused some weight gain after loss. I'm working on turning this bad habit around! Thanks for sharing and being vulnerable!

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    1. It's interesting how many people use alcohol for anxiety relief! It really does work wonders (at least temporarily). I totally understand the weight gain from replacing alcohol with food. I'm right there with you!

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  13. Thank you so much for this post! I know it was very personal and for "you", but it helps me tremendously. Your post was truly a breath of fresh air and took courage to publish. When I have been "clean" I always expect to feel great both mentally/physically within a short time, what I have experienced is worsened anxiety, headaches, and moodiness, for weeks into sobriety, ultimately giving up and giving in. I am envious of those who feel wonderful both physically and mentally quickly into their sobriety and I often feel like I am so different since I, honestly, feel worse when I am clean. I really needed to read your journey, it has inspired me to stay the course, thank you.

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    1. YES! I'm glad to hear someone else say (write) it. I desperately wanted to feel all those good feelings about it, but I haven't gotten there (yet). It's been over a year now, and I still don't feel how I'd hoped to. However, I know I am doing the right thing (who knows where I'd be if I HADN'T quit when I did? It could have been much worse!). I'm sorry that you're struggling. I completely understand and can empathize!

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  14. Wow, Katie, that was a huge goal you accomplished! You can be proud of yourself! This was a really good post. Thanks for opening up and sharing it.

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    1. Thank you so much, Jan! I am very proud of making it the whole year. To a lot of people, it may not seem like a big deal, but it was very big for me!

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  15. You should be so proud of yourself & your accomplishment. Thank you for sharing with us. I wanted to tell you that your declaration about not drinking a year ago sparked me to consider my drinking & to stop as well. I read a few books & was finally ready in Aug this year. I'm 5 months sober, & I want to thank you for the motivation. I'm not ready to tell it to the world yet, so wow...do I ever understand how hard that must have been for you to do so & wanted to say thanks for having the courage to. While this has been personal for you, I wanted to let you know that along the way, you've inspired others too :o)

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    1. That's fantastic, and a huge congrats to you on five months!! I think we all have to be ready at our own time. I had tried before, but I just wasn't ready to do it. It's very hard telling the world, because you can't go back--and I worry that if I do decide to drink again someday (in moderation, I hope!) that people won't be supportive. But I just try to do what's best for me, and right now, it's not drinking. Anyway, thank you so much for sharing!

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  16. Way to go, Katie! *high five* I'm proud of you and your efforts recognize your own needs and help yourself. I think you're stronger than you give yourself credit for...not everyone can recognize they are headed down and stop...it is such a blessing that you were able to turn and climb before hitting bottom.

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    1. That was the hardest part, I think--deciding if it was, in fact, a problem. But I would much rather have caught it before it became out of control than to wait until my life was a big old mess. (Not saying it's not a mess now, haha--but I feel in control of it now.)

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  17. This was an excellent post! Congratulations on your one year of sobriety. I have been sober for a lot of years; it was a necessity for me. I have to tell you it took me several years to start to feel better in a lot of ways. I'm really glad you chose to share this. I truly feel that it can/will be beneficial for a lot of people. Congratulations!

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    1. Thank you for sharing that! I had hoped to really feel amazing effect by now, but like I said, because it hadn't become a huge problem, maybe I won't feel huge effects for quitting. Congrats to you for staying sober all these years and doing what's best for you!

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  18. I think that it is great that you posted about your journey. I think along the same lines as you do when it comes to sober, so you're not alone in that. The Naked Mind book really changed my life and while I have drank twice for the holidays, I am also making the vow to quit alcohol for the time being as well. I think it is awesome that you have been in tune with your body enough to know that you needed a change and made it!

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    1. Thank you so much! It's great that the book changed your life and that you were able to moderate over the holidays. It's a tough time of year!

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  19. Congratulations, Katie. I'm glad you did it for yourself and no one else. I am a non drinker as well. I stopped drinking 25 years ago. I saw what alcohol did to my parents and I did not want that for my children. When I tell people I don't drink they make me feel like there is something wrong with me. It's kinda sad really but I just brush it off and continue on. I hope you continue to reap benefits from being sober. You're so worth is.

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    1. I appreciate your kind words, Martina! That's amazing that you've gone 25 years sober. I notice a lot of people who become/stay sober is partially due to their parents. You're definitely not alone. It is rough that we have to feel like there is something wrong with us for not drinking!

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  20. So first of all, no one can tell you what to post on your own blog. You use whatever words you like and if they’re offended they can move along. Unfortunately, the internet has given people voices that probably shouldn’t have them. It’s great that you’re trying out different lifestyle changes to see what benefits you the most. I love reading your posts because they are so genuine and I can relate to many of the issues you cover. Happy New Year, Katie!!

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    1. Thank you, Kelly! I used to feel totally fine posting what was on my mind, but I am just too sensitive to read some of the mean things people say (I still get mean comments sometimes, but most of the time I'm able to write them off now). I never, ever TRY to offend anyone. But it seems like these days, there are people who take offense to everything! It's hard to write about controversial topics.

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  21. Very cool of you to share your journey. When I stopped drinking over 10 years ago I was fairly private about it. I’m not sure why. Looking back I wish I was more public because you never know who may need to hear your story. Sounds like you have an open mind about it, and no matter what you decide to do going forward your story is an inspiration!

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    1. Thank you, Kim! I can understand wanting to be private about it. The hard part about being public is that there are always people who will judge you without knowing the whole story. Congrats on 10+ years!

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  22. Hi Katie, I'm sorry you've had a rotten experience with comments on social media. I've given up with that, it just made me feel bad. Like you, I drank to calm anxiety when going out or when people come to our house, but found myself going too far. Tom Kerridge has a good expression, he has no dial only an on or off swtich. I'm the same, I can't moderate (goodness knows I've tried enough times) so I'm back on the wagon. Day 5 for me today. For what it's worth, I don't think you need to be a raging alcoholic to give up drinking alcohol, if it makes you uncomfortable then you're right to change. Call it what you like, I know I drink too much so I'm going to stop now before I get told I have to. I'm going to bookmark this post and read it when I'm having a bad day. Thank you Katie xxx

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    1. Yeah, I feel like social media has ruined so much in people--somewhere along the line, people began to get so mean for no reason at all! But I'm learning not to let it bother me. I think it's awesome that you're giving up drinking because you feel you need to! And congrats on Day 5--I know that it's hard at first, but you can do it!

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  23. First of all, Congrats on achieving your goal! I make "mocktails" at home all the time! I find in the evenings I frequently want something that feels "special" after I sit down to relax (years of treating myself with food). I drink water or unsweet tea most of the day, so having a low calorie but "special" beverage that I have in the evenings helps to replace those evening snacks with a healthier alternative.

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    1. I love that idea! I was just thinking today that I should start making chai lattes in the evenings again for a treat. I used to love those!

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  24. Congratulations on a year sober! I find it interesting how much food, drink and memories are related. You wrote about how you want to eat mexican food without a margarita; I always want diet Pepsi with mexican food. I gave up all soda two years ago and still struggle with that combo! So proud of you.

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    1. Isn't it strange?! I associate a lot of things with particular types of alcohol--the main one being Mexican food with margaritas. I hope to get that association out of my head one day (I love Mexican food!). Congrats on giving up the soda!

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  25. This is a great post, and I think it's a really important perspective for everyone to look at.

    I didn't realize just how weird people can be about someone's choice not to drink until people started questioning not me, but my brother. Our dad had issues with alcohol when we were growing up and because of that my brother decided to be sober - from everything. No alcohol, no drugs of any kind. I have always been cool with that, and I've always respected it of him (I drink and have smoked weed).

    Then one year at Christmas my cousin's boyfriend started harassing my brother about him not drinking. It was so bizarre to watch, and my brother is really non-confrontational so I finally snapped at the guy and told him to shut up, and that someone else not drinking was not a judgment of him and didn't affect him in anyway. But that always stuck with me, and I realized that people said things like that to my brother all the time.

    I also feel like this goes further than just alcohol (but you're right, alcohol is so ingrained in our society). Think about people with non-mainstream diets though. Things like vegetarianism and veganism, gluten free, etc. I was vegetarian/vegan for 2 years, and my family acted like MY dietary restrictions were THEIR burden, and suddenly what I ate became a huge deal when it never had been before. I think it's a similar idea that when you deviate from the standard other people interpret it as you judging them for *not* deviating.

    The experiences I had during those two years and the things people say to my brother are why I try to be as inclusive as possible in situations like that, and why I never comment on or question people's choices (beyond maybe out of curiosity, and even then I ask them to tell me if I'm overstepping or if they don't want to talk about it).

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    1. That's a VERY good analogy with the diet. You're right! I don't know why people feel the need to comment on everyone else's choice of diet or alcohol or just lifestyle choice in general. It's great that we all have a CHOICE of how we want to eat/drink/live. I'm sorry you and your brother deal with the comments/questions... I know how frustrating that is!

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  26. Katie amazing post! Thank you! I am sorry to hear someone would put anything negative. Thank you for being honest and putting this out there. I have done this as well and I am at 8 years of mostly alcohol free. A few glasses of wine, but totally alcohol free 4 years and dont miss it. Drank for similar reasons as you! You may not be an "alcoholic" but it was not benefiting you in a positive manner so you stopped. You rock! Keep being honest and true to yourself. You never know who you are helping with your experiences and stories.

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  27. Congrats on the one year! I find it really interesting that cutting out alcohol doesn't seem to make you feel better physically. I'm doing a dry January, and somehow I feel more dehydrated and bloated. Bodies are weird.

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