Recently, I had a scary realization that there wasn’t a whole lot in life that made me truly happy outside of partying. Yes, I enjoyed spending time with friends. Yes, I was grateful to be enrolled in school to get an education. Yes, I could find pleasure in a five-hour long Netflix marathon. I just didn’t have anything that I was excited to jump out of bed for in the morning. Nothing kept me from hitting that snooze button eight times. Aside from what I felt like I was “supposed” to be doing with my life, I didn’t have anything I really wanted to do…except drink.
I had this void in my life that I seemed to be only filling with $2 Long Island Iced Teas. One day, I decided to make a change. I promised myself I would stop drinking for thirty days. Not because anyone told me to, but because I wanted to prove to myself I had the willpower to do so. And I learned a lot in that time.
1. It is possible to go through alcohol withdrawals.
Just because you drink a glass of wine (or three) with dinner every night doesn’t mean you are an alcoholic. That being said, nothing will make you FEEL more like an alcoholic than the headaches you get the first week of going cold turkey on happy hour. The first seven days of being sober absolutely sucked. I was bitchy and irritable and every time I felt annoyed, I caught myself thinking “Damn it I could use a drink.” Literally someone could breathe and I would freak the fuck out on them.
2. You will look for other ways to “fill the drinking void.”
Getting drunk is an excellent coping mechanism. It’s not exactly excellent for you but it sure as hell works. Pissed about the guy who friend zoned you? Drink four margs and take two shots of tequila and I guarantee you won’t even remember his name. However, when I stopped drinking I started looking for other methods to feel this kind of “good.” My initial strategy was eating. Two days into binging on chocolate every time someone pissed me off, I realized that if I carried on like that, the sophomore 70 would be super real. I switched to using running as my coping mechanism instead. Sweating out my frustration with everyone from the Starbucks barista to my Accounting professor became the only thing that kept me from turning into a psychotic bitch on the daily.
3. It gets worse before it gets better.
One thing no one realizes about drinking is how absolutely integral it is in our social lives. I go to school in a town that is entirely made up of the students in the university and the only relevant weekend activities involve going to the bars or studying. I’m sure as hell not the kind of girl to hit the library at 1 a.m. on a Saturday so without the ability to get drunk either, I initially felt super alone. I don’t know if you’ve ever tried going to a frat party sober but it fucking sucks. Hello Netflix and chill party of one.
4. You realize who your true friends are.
I never asked anyone to go alcohol abstinent with me. I wanted to do it to better myself, not because I had an annoying sidekick sending me motivational Bitmojis to hold me accountable. Because I was roughing it alone, I figured five days into sobriety everyone would think of me as a total grandma- sweet to chat with for thirty seconds but overall boring as fuck. This logic helped me to quickly differentiate between my true friends and my “party friends.” The “party friends” stopped hitting me up when they realized I couldn’t get fucked up or do a liquor store run for them. My true friends on the other hand offered to do random things with me to keep me occupied. They took me on day trips, out to trendy meals, and even opted to just chill and craft if that’s what I wanted to do. They supported me in my goal and didn’t give me shit about ordering a “vodka tonic, but hold the vodka” when sitting up at the bar.
5. You Lose Weight
I can preach about all the great life shit that came from not drinking but losing weight was the best part by far. Alcohol has so many fucking calories, it’s actually disgusting to think about. Your average Long Island Iced Tea (if made with sweet and sour) can have up to 700 calories. And that’s just one. Multiply that by five and you might as well just inhale five Big Macs in one bar sitting. Looking back, it’s a miracle I wasn’t obese drinking like that. I kept the same eating habits but by cutting just the booze alone out of my daily diet, I began to lose weight like crazy. Need to lose a few pounds to look bangin’ in your formal dress? Kiss vodka goodbye and you won’t have to step on a treadmill OR cry while munching on lettuce in a corner.
6. Your tolerance goes down.
I used to have to drink at least four drinks to get a decent buzz going. After taking a thirty day vacay from Everclear and FourLoco I’m fairly certain a large glass of wine would get me buzzed enough to drunk-text my ex. *Cue Little Dickey $ave Dat Money*
7. You feel happier.
One of my favorite things about being drunk used to be that you didn’t really have to feel anything. You experience the same level of happiness when you see your big walk into the bar as when you win the lottery. Unless something goes drastically wrong everything that happens while wasted just kind of feels the same. Truly happy things don’t make you feel extreme joy because you forget what it’s like to feel truly sad things in comparison. Spending thirty days booze-free made me remember what it was like to have to deal with emotions whether they are good or bad. If something good happened, I had to celebrate with something other than a shot and if something bad happened I had to cope with something other than four shots. Cliché as it sounds, I saw life from a totally new perspective.
I’d be a fucking liar if I said this experience made me realize I never want to drink again. I’m a college sorority girl for fuck’s sake. Obviously I’m going to need some liquid courage at some point. That being said, it did open my eyes to a lot of things the most important being that I don’t NEED alcohol to be happy. At the end of the day I’m still fun, smart, hot, and
with a drink in my hand I can conquer anything..