No, I don’t want to grab a drink.

Let’s take one more shot and go back to your place. 

My half-eaten ramen bowl sat in front of me with a cocktail glass half full of a crushed lime and watered down Tito’s.

Two more tequila shots please! Rail’s fine. 

Rail tequila? I’m equally grossed out as I am offended. He closes out his tab as I pull out my wallet and pull the I’m going to pretend I want to pay but I really don’t want to pay. 

Put your wallet away! He tells me. His hand touches my leg.

I’m buzzed. No, actually. Drunk. I’m definitely drunk.

My brain is fogged about whether I’m actually into this guy. He just ordered rail tequila and “didn’t like” the dumplings at Chaplin’s–HE DIDN’T LIKE THE DUMPLINGS AT CHAPLIN’S–so I’m internally like, thank u, next. 

I just know I don’t want to go home with him.

***

I wake up alone in my own bed the next morning (well, by alone I mean Kevin is obviously with me. My dog, Kevin). I regret the rail tequila shot–and the four vodka sodas. Oh, and the Jameson shot. Or did I take two?

I roll over and reach for my phone. One drunk text. Not terrible, but not great.

Fuck, I have an 8:30am call. I’m not prepared. I rub the mascara from my eyes. It’s hard and chunky and deff stained my new pillowcase. Cool, Beth, cool.

I’m good at pretending I have my shit together, especially over the phone. Client’s happy. Phew. Back to bed.

I *clap* am *clap* not *clap* well *clap*.

My productivity that day is comparable to a bag of trash.

***

I’m anxious, broke, and have no plan B to fall back on after my previous job rejections. Well, my plan B is to get more clients, but like, again, I’m as useful as a bag of trash today. A big, lumpy, bag full of avocado skins and soggy spinach from last night’s stir fry.

I planned to do some networking. *Reach out to 20 businesses* is scratched in my planner. Can a bag of trash do this? No. Maybe I’ll get to it tomorrow.

***

I’m a 25 year old living in a city where bottomless brunch is a weekend staple and grabbing drinks is so entrenched in every day culture that it seems as automatic as typing in “Facebook.com” as soon as your cursor hits the search bar.

While most of us may not have a drinking problem, per se, a lot of us can’t imagine a world without a beer…or six.

The truth is, when people ask me to grab a drink (friends or dudes I matched with on a dating app), I actually don’t really want to go. The past couple of years, alcohol has made me anxious…especially the day after.

I’m someone who can genuinely go out and have fun without the comfort of a drink in my hand. Truly. People say going ~sober~ makes your social life spiral downwards, and tbh I’m calling bullshit. You create experiences, alcohol doesn’t.

Listen, I’m not shaming the drinking culture. Hell, I’ve been an active participant for the past 8-9 years of my life. It’s a social lubricant. It eases the nerves of a first date. It makes going out more fun. It makes me less anxious. 

I’ve convinced myself of all these things for years until recently. I started to notice the severe negative impacts alcohol was doing to my physical and mental state. Weight gain from drunkenly inhaling pizza, anxiety levels sky rocketing, lack of sleep, drunk texting dudes that actively treated me like shit, and most of all, losing control of myself.

Losing control of my thoughts, my values, my self-worth. That fucking sucks.

I started to hate what alcohol was doing to me. Yet, I was still indulging in it. Why? Like a toxic relationship, it convinced me that I needed it. Who would I be if i didn’t participate in this culture? Would I be ex-communicated from my friends? Would dudes lose interest in me and think I was weird?

Re-read that. Insanity, right? If this was all true, my choice in people would be SHIT. I can be stupid at times, but not that stupid.

Nothing would change it if I didn’t let it.

***

Engaging in the ~new year new me~, I actively decide to embark on a sober curious journey. If you’re not sure what that means, read about it here. I was genuinely just curious what my life would be with the absence of alcohol.

I want to reiterate here, my intent here is not to shame people who drink. That’s not really the point here.

You do you, just like I’m doing me.

***

I wanted to stop defining my relationships with alcohol as a safety net. Creating and fostering meaningful relationships with people who love me–sober or not. I wanted to stop feeling anxious about not really wanting to drink on a Wednesday, but drinking anyways. I wanted to choose my career over 48 hour hangovers. Stop just making my clients happy and start making them wonder why they ever considered anyone else.

I wanted to get my shit together. And to do that, alcohol had to go.

***

I bartend. You probably know this. Alcohol is integrated in my lifestyle whether I can help it or not. Being around the presence of alcohol doesn’t tempt me, it never has. The feeling of FOMO (fear of missing out) was triggering to me and forced my hand to that tequila shot.

Like I said before, my desire to drink has significantly lessened the past year-two years of my life. It was never a need, it was more of an escape I guess–and partially a way to fit in.

Imma have a drink to avoid doing the things I should be doing to better myself.

My previous two relationships wouldn’t have survived a second without alcohol. I’m not even sure these men would want me if I consistently turned down a drink. That’s some fucked up shit, but I allowed it to happen.

Y’all know about my hoe phase of 2018. Shit was ~lit~ and not really like me. In retrospect, I was searching for intimacy in all the wrong places. How many of these hook ups happened sober? Lol…zero.

It was the same destructive pattern. I’d get drunk, meet up with some guy, go home with him, have sex, hop in an Uber the next morning in last night’s clothes, get home, feel like shit, wait for a text that would never come, complain to my friends that men are trash…annnnd repeat.

I didn’t want this. No shame in the “hoe game” but it just wasn’t for me–even if I convinced myself it was.

***

Alright, enough of my drunken escapades.

How long have I been sober? Just about a month. Lol, that’s less than impressive. Sure, maybe, but that’s the beauty of being ~sober curious~. You get to choose how long your journey lasts and what exactly it means to you. If you last a month, 10 years, or maybe you mix in a glass of champagne for a big celebration–it’s up to you.

I don’t know if it’s the absence of alcohol, luck, or some greater being gifting me these amazing opportunities, but life is truly amazing as of late. I feel smarter, energized, my anxiety has lessened significantly, I sleep better, my choices are mine and not dictated by booze, work has been the most successful it’s ever been, I could go on.

I don’t say this to brag, I’m simply sharing my experiences in case you were curious. In terms of my dating life, it’s been stagnant, but I’m ok with it. Are there still men I think about? Of course. There’s still shit I deal with that I’d rather not–but I’m still human after all.

Tbh, I don’t miss the dating culture as I knew it. I don’t miss getting too drunk to ease my nerves, I don’t miss feeling anxious about his intensions or wondering if he liked me for me, or liked me with Jameson and Tito’s running through my veins. I don’t miss intimacy fueled by an B.A.C higher than I want it to be.

I don’t know what sober dating will look like, but I’m excited to try it and see where it goes.

While my dating life has been essentially non-existent, my other relationships have been fantastic. I go out sober with my friends and have a BLAST, simply because my friends freaking rock. I’ve created new, beautiful relationships with more people in the DC creative community–ones I know that will last for years to come. My emotions are heightened, but the good kind of heightened. I feel ~all the feels~ still, but understand what I’m feeling…if that makes sense. Alcohol doesn’t get in the way. It’s reminded me that people in my life are well, just amazing.

Is my life perfect? Hell-to-the-no. While life has been great, it comes with its challenges still. Such is life. The biggest difference is that I’ve learned to embrace the shitty moments rather than letting them define me.

I’m sure there will be more obstacles to come. I’m in no way saying the ~sober life~ is the key to a happy life. I have to work every damn day to achieve the life I want–work hard as hell. There’s still self-doubt and questionable decisions involved. My brain still operates a thousands miles per minute, as much as I want to turn it down.

I’m really excited to see where this journey takes me. While maybe you’re not interested in giving up alcohol, I encourage you to give something else up that may fuel your anxiety, whatever that may be. Even it’s for a week. Give your body and mind a break.

***

If you’re interested in going sober, there’s tons of amazing people and resources who support this lifestyle and create experiences for like-minded people.

Here’s a few people and communities I know of:

Nikki Blank — CEO and Founder of Sip City, a gut-healthy beverage known as “switchel” founded in DC. Not only is this beverage delicious, Nikki also promotes sober curious journeys. In fact, she interviewed me about my story. Check it out here.

Girls Night In — A community that promotes alternative activities to the typical “going out for a drink.” They believe in the idea that our bodies need a break, physically and spiritually, and host events in major cities around the country.

Club SÖDA — Unfortunately they only host in-person events in NYC at the moment, the founders do have several resources available for purchase or download including books, mindful meditations, and 100 Day Retreat programs.

Instagram — Slide into those DM’s with no shame. While social media can have a bad rep of lack of personal connection, it can also connect you to people who you may not have a chance to. For me, that was Nikki.

These are just a few, but I would love to hear more resources that you’ve been using to promote a more mindful life.

***

Signing off, but cheers to you in embarking in ANY journey that promotes a better you. I’m here for you.

 

 

 

 

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6 thoughts on “No, I don’t want to grab a drink.

  1. I love this because it’s nothing like my life but I can still relate and find good advice within it. I’m from a very small town–150 people. I had a graduating class of 3. Keep writing and I’ll keep reading! Check out my blog sometime =)

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  2. I love this!! I recently stopped drinking as well. I felt that my relationship with alcohol was unhealthy and more of an escape just like you. It was never a need but I felt like if I didn’t have a drink at a social event that there was something wrong. It’s definitely that FOMO feeling that gets you. I always regretted something that I said or did the next day even if it wasn’t that bad. I was just sick of having those anxious feelings. Now if I go out and I want to have a drink I’ll usually limited it to one or two good beers and limit it to special occasions to make it more of a treat than a part of my normal lifestyle to change who I am. I feel so much more confident in my decision because they know they are truly my own and I am more present and coherent. I’m just with it , ya know? Good luck to ya Beth!

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