Addiction circle

I was at a Passover Seder last night, and as part of the ritual, we had to go around the table and talk about a change we’ve made in the last year.  When it was my turn, I said that I stopped drinking alcohol this year.  Smiles and nods all around.

My husband was next.  He said, “I stopped drinking coffee this year.”

Audible gasps — I kid you not.  Someone murmured, “Oh, that’s tough.”  They started peppering my husband with questions:  what made him decide to do it?  Did he have withdrawal symptoms?  Did he drink tea instead?  What kind of tea?

Addiction:  it comes in many forms. 🙂

Top Ten

Here, in no particular order, are my favorite things about being sober:

1.  Saving money

One bottle of wine per week became two, then a bottle of brandy + a bottle of wine, then two bottle of brandy.   This plus individual glasses of wine or brandy whenever we went out.  I bet I am saving $150 – 200 dollars per month, easy.


No nausea, no headache, no fatigue.  And I don’t have to cover it all up and pretend I feel just peachy, because admitting I have a hangover means admitting I drink too much.  Which brings me to …

3. No shame

No waking up in the morning wondering what I might have said or done the night before.  And how much did I drink?

4.  Better sleep

I sleep well and wake up refreshed.  Plus, I used to think I could mitigate a hangover if I stayed awake until I sobered up a little.  So I’d be trying to focus on a book or a crossword with my eyes closing.   Now I can go to bed when I’m tired.

5.  Not having to sneak around

I never kept a “secret stash” but I used to shove the bottle back in the cupboard so it wasn’t easy to see how much (or rather how little) was in it.  I also used to buy the second bottle of the week and keep it shoved in the back and sometimes used it to replenish the bottle that was in the front.  My husband didn’t check up on me deliberately very often, but he sometimes he would notice and make a comment.  I was trying to forestall this.

6.  Not having to plan my day around when I can have my first drink

7.  Being able to handle unexpected things

I am so lucky there was never an emergency where I had to drive in the evening when I wasn’t capable of it, or capable of admitting that I couldn’t!  I am so happy to be able to volunteer to run an evening errand, anytime.

8.  More energy

I love being able to go to the gym or go for walks.  I love that I can walk up a steep hill without huffing and puffing (well, not as much 🙂 ).

9.  I look better

I actually hoped that stopping drinking would make me lose ten pounds and look ten years younger.  That hasn’t happened, but my husband tells me my eyes sparkle more now.

10.  More brain space

If I had to say my favorite thing about being sober, this is it.  I actually have the energy, the time, and above all the mental space to DO things.  These are neglected hobbies like doing jigsaw puzzles, reading history books and biographies, writing in my journal, going for walks, and doing crossword puzzles.  But these are also things like helping my daughter with her homework, reorganizing my kitchen cupboards, and what I can only call “self-understanding.”  I am starting to understand myself better, what made me drink in the first place, what kind of person I am — and more importantly, what kind of person I want to be.