Sober Curious: Day 1

I quit drinking today.

I’m not an alcoholic, nor have I ever identified as an alcoholic. I am someone who has, in the past, enjoyed wine and beer and cocktails and liquor. In fact, I just got back from a week-long vacation where I sampled some delicious tiki drinks and mead, both of which I (mostly) enjoyed.

When I say “(mostly)” it’s because while the tastes were great, the mental and physical side effects were not. Perhaps it’s an age thing, or just a “you only get so many ounces of alcohol in your life before every subsequent ounce makes you feel terrible” thing; I don’t actually know if there’s any science behind it.

What I do know is that for months — yes, months — now, I’ve noticed that even having a single drink, even something as low as 5% ABV (your average beer) has made me feel crummy in one way or another (or multiple ways). I’d get a headache, or acid reflux, or grumbly tummy (that’s the nicest way I can think to say it), or general muscle aches… It was like an instant hangover. And on the off chance I didn’t get the instant hangover, again regardless of how much I consumed, it would hit later — sometimes hours, sometimes the next day.

I kept wondering if, by chance, something else was causing it. Maybe it was spicy or fried food? Or not enough water? Or poor sleep? And, yeah, those things might have contributed sometimes, but they weren’t there all the time/every time. What was there? Some type of alcohol.

The mental aspects of drinking weren’t great either. As someone who has struggled with anxiety and other “neurospicy” conditions, alcohol often increased my anxious/panicked feelings. Plus, it’s a depressant, so regardless of if you have anxiety/depression/etc. or not, it has that effect.

So, yesterday, after having a beer with lunch and another in the evening and feeling wretched after both, I decided it was time to quit.

Is this a permanent change? I don’t know. I’ve done a lot of reading today and discovered “sober curious” is actually not that uncommon these days. Lots of folks who are not alcoholics and/or have never identified as alcoholics are significantly cutting back and/or are quitting drinking altogether.

What I do know is this choice feels great for me right now, and I plan to blog about my experience with it here. So, I hope you stick around to read about it!