So I wasn’t entirely sure if I wanted to post this, but I decided to go ahead and say “Fuck it.”
There were a variety of reasons why I wanted to keep quiet about my sobriety. The biggest being that it’s only been about two months since I quit drinking, and a little voice in my head said “Wait until at least 6 months so you know you can stick with this.”
A bigger voice said “Believe in yourself.”
Quitting drinking was something I had explored in my head countless times. I have had a DUI in the past, before I turned 21, and it was clear that I wasn’t treating alcohol recreationally. However, because of my age, I distanced myself from that idea because “That’s just what you do in your 20’s.”
I grew up in a big drinking family, so alcohol has always been even more normalized to me than even society made it. It’s just what you did. You get home from work, make a drink. Had a bad day? Make a drink. Had a great day? Make two!
You know how it goes.
In addition, I worked in restaurants since I was 13. I’ve always been surrounded by alcohol, and the line between recreational use and being a straight up drunk was always “seeing double” -level blurred.
Oh, and did I mention I have addiction in my past? Being a former meth addict who quit cold turkey was quite an accomplishment, but even in recent podcast interviews I’ve explained that jumping from meth to eating disorders to men was just replacing one addiction for another.
And I just never realized how much alcohol was added into that equation.
Sure, I knew my habit wasn’t great, and I always had a deep sinking feeling that I wasn’t treating it the same as other people, but that didn’t start to become clear until much later.
Like 2019 later.
This year was really complicated. I had multiple failed relationships, my business hit me in the face a few times. I gained weight. And my depression spiked like crazy.
From the beginning of the year I had a few thoughts about slowing down. I loved going out by myself; it was the main way for me to meet men and socialize and I couldn’t accept the idea of never drinking again. I had this fantasy of me stopping at 3 drinks and going home feeling glamourous. Just fully having it all.
Yet all year I faced blackouts, got sloppy, and dealt with problems in my relationships in ways I just wasn’t proud of.
Not to say that any of these relationships should or would have worked out, nor do I pine for them. They were all lessons, and honestly had I not pressed the gas pedal so hard while drunk-dating they probably wouldn’t have escalated at all because I could recognize the red flags. But instead of avoiding a dead end relationship, or even talking about issues in a calm manner, I would end up getting frustrated, get drunk, yell incoherently, and end the relationship.
Not the classiest move. Especially not three times in a row.
But I digress.
My final relationship of 2019 is one I’m probably most grateful for. I dated a bartender for a couple months, and we drank HEAVILY. I was drinking like a sailor most nights of the week, and I was seeing pieces of my business disintegrate. I could feel myself losing control.
When I finally ended it in a drunken tirade, I leaned into the idea that alcohol just wasn’t for me. I went back to my fantasy, where I could put a strict cap on my drinks for the night, and call it a day.
My family was supposed to come for my birthday, so I couldn’t start then.
Then it was my actual birthday. So I couldn’t start then.
Then it was Halloween. Duh.
And finally I decided that Sunday was the day. Something went off in my head and said “Shawn, if you can successfully drink 3 drinks today and go home, you can do this. But if not, you’re quitting for good.”
And I ended up drinking until 2 am.
Monday morning, tired and hungover, I downloaded a sobriety app, and I haven’t had a drink since.
And again, a tinge over a month may not seem like much, but during these 45 days I’ve saved $1814.96 in going out, not to mention countless drunk ubers and hangover food.
I’ve also lost weight and gained strength because I have ENERGY.
And I’ve had my most successful month of business yet.
Wanna know what I call that? Alignment, mutha fucka.
And truthfully, this has been surprisingly easy for me to do. I don’t want to stand here on my pedestal and say quitting drinking is a piece of cake- I played mind games with myself for a decade before I pulled the trigger.
But once I made the decision every piece has fallen into place. I can FEEL the universe backing me. I have only positives. And here’s the kicker:
I don’t have shame. No guilt. I don’t drive myself into an anxious frenzy thinking about what I may or may not have said or done, or how a person perceived me when I was 5 Negronis in.
I wake up early and go to bed at 10 sleeping through the night like an angel. My anxiety has almost disappeared. I get to explore things in therapy that don’t stem from dumb decisions I made.
I eliminated a huge toxin from my life and it feels RIGHT.
Weirdly enough, I’ve encountered so many more sober people through this decision. Which, again, goes to show how the universe throws people in your way that are aligned with your path/ vision.
This decision has instilled an immense clarity that my clients are feeling. I am able to be so present in a way that I couldn’t before. Not that I wasn’t always a kick ass coach, but this is a whole new level. Boss Mystic 2.0
I’ve also seen that my tolerance for bullshit is waaaaay lower than I had previously thought. I don’t enjoy a lot of things I thought I did because I’m not drinking. Funny how that works, isn’t it?
Like when people talk about stupid bullshit. Now that I don’t have a glass of Bordeaux, I just say no to hanging out. My boundaries have been reinforced with steel beams and I feel unstoppable.
I also enjoy my own company so much more. I am an aggressive person by nature *queue my success in business* so I’ve engaged in activities that compliment that. Boxing and spin have been incredibly meditative and have increased my focus.
My biggest hangup was the social aspect, which is why it took me so long to actually quit. I was afraid I wouldn’t have any friends, I’d never be able to date, and I’d stick out at events. But honestly, it’s so freeing to be able to enjoy a coffee or seltzer out and leave early. I still do all the things I used to, I’m just more present, clear, and I look better (not a hot ass mess.)
I go to coffee shops and work, and then I window shop. I still take myself to lunch or dinner, but instead of 10 cocktails till close, I have a coffee, mocktail, or lacroix, and go home guilt free to do some skin care and sit pantsless on my couch, enjoying the amount of money and empty calories I’ve saved.
It’s the best decision I’ve ever made for myself, and even though I quit during the holidays, it has felt so effortless because I KNOW in my bones this is the path for me.
If you’ve ever thought to yourself that you might have a problem with drinking, or that you want to try a dry week or month, give it a shot! It’s different for everyone, but give yourself the gift of the challenge. If I can do it, you certainly can to.
There’s only positives to look forward to!
Are you struggling with drinking? Have you been trying to quit? Here is a list of resources:
The app I use to track days, calories, dollars, etc. is NoMo. Seeing the tangible savings has helped immensely.
Use code WITCHY at tonicvibes.com for 10% off CBD products if you use alcohol to self medicate (as I did.)
Use this URL to get one free week of therapy if you need the extra guidance: BetterHelp.com/witchy