My Year of Sober Octobers
I’ve always been a social drinker.
It’s easy, alcohol is part of our culture. I was always eager to meet up for drinks, pack the cooler for a day on the lake, host happy hour, tailgate in the parking lot all afternoon, or sit on my front porch with neighbors.
A tall Tito’s and seltzer was my default. It didn’t matter who, what, when, where or why, I was ready.
Trouble is, moderation has never been my jam. I subscribe to the go-big-or-go-home philosophy.
Years ago I ran one mile without stopping and a few days later, I signed up for the Chicago Marathon. Ten months of training got me across the finish line!
When I enthusiastically decided to start my coaching business, I left my traditional job with ZERO clients.
A few years ago, I was shopping for a bicycle and instead bought a 500-gallon, 9-person hot tub for my backyard.
Last spring I booked a solo trip to Cancun on a Friday and I was eating lunch in Mexico on Monday.
When I get an idea, I am all in.
My decades of drinking also tended to be on the outskirts of moderation — all or nothing.
Last October I had a few false starts to Sober October before it finally stuck. There was no dramatic moment or rock bottom experience, it was just time. I was genuinely curious to see the consequences of a dry month on my business, physical health and mental health.
For weeks I had little epiphanies:
Calculating time, drinks and rides home was an ongoing and often consuming task. “I buy, you fly” was no longer my deal of the day. It’s relaxing to come and go as I please.
Meeting up for drinks is the lowest common denominator. I’d rather connect with friends for a walk in the woods, a leisurely lunch, or to attend an event together.
Alcohol protected me from being vulnerable; it’s tough, loud and superficially confident. This is a biggie. I distracted myself with cocktails- straying away from my true, raw self. Sure, it was a good time. However, now I can ask for help, express insecurities, and articulate feelings more confidently. Ironically, being vulnerable is totally badass.
I know myself better. My intuition is stronger. I’m noticing and acting on nudges and gut feelings. Creative ideas, people to contact, and untapped resources just keep flowing to me. This is my favorite part.
Weeks of sobriety turned into months and then to a year. And I love it.
The bennies are pretty obvious: better sleep, clearer skin, thousands of calories and dollars saved, a more vibrant morning routine, no guilt, shame or embarrassment regarding my behavior, more creative energy for my coaching programs and products, and far more thoughtful conversations with friends when we are out and about.
I wouldn’t do it, but I’m confident if I listed regrets or moments I’d like to take back, they all involve booze.
Sometimes I notice the handle of Tito’s in my freezer and sing, “We-eeee are never, ever, ever, getting back together.” And then I shut the door and carry on.
Like any relationship that doesn’t serve me, I can see it more clearly from a distance. I’ve had plenty of fun but toxic relationships — alcohol is no exception.
With life experience comes wisdom, right? Wisdom is inviting me to hold space for more crisp, clear, energizing and elevating experiences.
It has been said that how a person does one thing is how they do everything. If that zen master was right, then my exaggerated month without alcohol appears to be a simple decision with an extraordinary ripple effect.
Cheers to the ever expanding, always evolving YOU!