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Giving up alcohol made me realize the benefits of sobriety are so much greater than not drinking

Woman posing for selfie by the ocean
The author says that quitting drinking gave her more than just sobrietyCourtesy of the author
  • I started drinking when I was a teen and continued through my 20s.

  • It got worse, to the point where I was about to get fired from my job.

  • Now I don't take things personally and fun has a different meaning.

I started drinking in my early teens. On holidays, my sisters and I were allowed to have a glass of wine with dinner. While the taste was not exactly enjoyable, I knew I would keep drinking it. The feeling of being included like a grown-up, of partaking in something that I only equated with a fun time, took over.

I found my "thing." The thing that would make me confident, likable, loose. The thing that would make up my entire personality for the next 20 years. It was alcohol.

Alcohol was my companion

Alcohol was my constant companion and my chemical courage throughout college and my early 20s. As I moved on to adult things like a corporate job, marriage, and motherhood, I didn't let my best friend out of my sight. Alcohol became my coping mechanism, my nightly self-care, my sanity in a bottle.

My drinking progressed as the years passed by. I woke up shaky with alarming anxiety. I couldn't do everyday things, like folding laundry, without a drink by my side. I was on the verge of being fired, my husband was fed up, and my kids kept their distance.

I'm sober now

So, I decided to give sobriety a chance. I began working with sober women to figure out why I drank in the first place. In turn, I developed an understanding that sobriety is so much more than just not drinking.

Not drinking is the most important part — I can't function, in the most general sense, if I'm ass deep in a bottle. But sobriety has also given me a chance at a fulfilling life in so many other ways.

Now, I hold myself accountable. A sober mind has allowed me to see and do something about my flaws. Self-awareness allows me to recognize that I have played a part in every aspect of my past and will play a part in every aspect of my future.

I can also see the humanness in everyone around me. Entitled coworker? Grumpy child? I used to take everything personally. Now, I can accept people for who and where they are.

Sobriety allows me to accept life on life's terms. Over time, my marriage came to a standstill. But I refused to believe that it just didn't work and did everything to avoid the inevitable. Now, I can accept the relationship for what it was and know that divorce was the right decision.

Through sobriety, I can also acknowledge that past traumas may not have been my fault, but it is my responsibility to grow from them. In addition to a 12-step program and therapy, yoga and meditation are routine healing practices for me now. Yoga allows me to connect the physical with the spiritual. Meditation allows me to open space for self-love, reason, and understanding, rather than self-hate, irrational thoughts, and paranoia.

I can set boundaries now. In the past, I thought boundaries would make me cold, less likable, a bitch. In sobriety, I know that setting a boundary is an act of love, allowing space for healthy relationships, better focus on the things that matter, and continued love for certain individuals.

Before I got sober, I didn't know how to have fun without booze. In early sobriety, I thought I would never have fun again. Today, fun has a different meaning. Fun is being a responsible, reliable human. Fun is having dignity and integrity. Fun is being a trustworthy mom and empathetic boss. Fun is being sober.

Read the original article on Business Insider