I want to share something deeply personal and transformative that has been a game-changer in my life: my decision to stop drinking.
Let me start by saying that for the longest time, I believed that alcohol was an integral part of my life—the key to relaxing, celebrating, and even connecting with others.
But as I approach 40, I started to question the role alcohol was playing in my overall well-being and personal health.
I knew I needed to make a change but didn’t have the discipline to give it up entirely until Feb 5th, 2023.
On 2/5/23 in the early morning I was rushed to the ER in excruciating and indescribable pain. After hours of tests and waiting it was determined that I had a gall stone stuck and emergency surgery was the only outcome… assuming that stone went back into my gall bladder so they could do the surgery.
I knew I had gall stones; I had been battling this for almost 3 years.
But this was a whole new level.
This has turned pretty life threatening pretty quickly and it was all preventable. While sitting in the ER, for whatever reason, I felt prompted to make a covenant with God.
Here was my promise, I will never drink again. Help me, Lord and I promise to sacrifice this thing in my life that creates distraction and pulls me away from you.
So, I did. I gave it up. And here are a few profound lessons I’ve learned in the last 6 months:
1. Authentic Connection
Alcohol often creates an artificial sense of connection.
By removing it from the equation, I’ve discovered the power of authentic connections.
I’ve had more meaningful conversations (that I also remember!), it’s deepened my relationship with God, and I have developed a stronger desire to get up early in the morning and have my personal time of reflection and prayer before the days starts.
This alone has changed my life.
2. Enhanced Physical Well-being
Giving up alcohol has had a transformative impact on my physical health.
I’ve experienced improved sleep, increased energy levels, and a renewed sense of vitality. The physical benefits alone should have made me do this years ago.
3. Authentic Self-Discovery
Removing alcohol from my life has given me the space to truly discover some really interesting things about myself such as how I handle stress and how that needs to change, why I default to wine vs the Word and how that needs to change, what causes me to grab a drink and how that was all rooted in some level of insecurity.
Each of these things were so unnoticed by me that I didn’t even realize the impact the simple decision to “have a drink” was having in my life.
Let me emphasize that sobriety is a deeply personal choice, and everyone’s journey is unique. For me, it has been a necessary and welcomed change in my life —one that has allowed me to redefine what life looks like in this new chapter.
To anyone considering a similar path, here are a few insights to keep in mind:
Be gentle with yourself throughout this journey.
This choice is not always easy, and there will be temptation. You will never notice how much alcohol is all around you until you no longer drink. Work hard to protect your choice by limiting the amount of influence that comes your way.
You don’t drink – maybe skip the happy hour, bar hangout, or wine night!
Pro Tip: explore all the new and creative mocktails you can handle. Sparkling water with a dash of cranberry in a fancy cup is my simple go-to. Find your thing that helps.
2. Surround Yourself with Supportive People
Surround yourself with a supportive network of individuals who understand and respect your decision. Find people who help you stick to your choice.
Seek out like-minded communities, find new “non-alcohol” hobbies and social activities, and know where your temptations lie – then remove them.
3. Focus on Your Why
During challenging moments, remind yourself of the reasons behind your decision to go sans alcohol. This is your chance to build some self-discipline.
To honor your commitments to yourself and your health. To find healthy alternatives that bring energy and positivity into your life.
It’s also a great chance to celebrate all the mini victories along the way (like writing a blog about it J) and remind yourself you can do hard things.
Because you can!