On January 1, 2016 I decided that I was going to do Sober January. I announced it on all my platforms as an extra way to hold myself accountable, and to invite others to join me on the 31-day challenge.
I had done Sober October the year before, and made it the entire month. I realized it had been close to 10 years since I seriously took 30 days to not poison my body, and really give it a break.
After completing Sober October, I found clarity in areas of my life that I hadn’t even realized I needed to. I ended a relationship, pushed even harder in my career, and made some realizations about people I thought were my friends.
Recognizing the clearness that comes from being beyond aware 100% of the time, I vowed that I would do this at least once a year.
Thus the beginning to my sober challenges began.
This time around I made it to January 31st without any problems. I still went out, and was social, but I would be lying if I said that it wasn’t challenging at moments.
I have since decided to keep this challenge going, and have made it to day 48. I hadn’t intended to go longer than the month, but when I was first presented with a drink it just didn’t feel like the right timing.
I also want to make it clear that my sobriety meant no drinking, no drugs, no preworkout. Sober is sober.
I don’t know when I’m going to break my sobriety, or if I’m even going to, but I can tell you 10 reasons why I first started this challenge, and why I’ve kept it going.
1. I was over being distracted.
We use drinking to distract us from the fact that our lives aren’t exactly how we want them.
When we don’t like something in our lives, or we need to make something or someone seem better we often resort to altering the state of our mind.
Boredom is another big reason why at moments I found myself drinking.
What should we do on a night that we don’t have to sleep well, wake up early and be productive? I know! Let’s drink, so that we can forget about how hard the past week was, and the fact that we’re going to have to do it again.
I really like my life, and want to be aware of how great it is, or isn’t, so that I can make real changes.
2. I didn’t want the people and things in my life to just be bearable.
Hey, this bar isn’t so great, let’s drink to make it fun. Your friends are being kind of shitty, lets drink so we have a common activity to do, and forget we don’t have a lot in common.
I didn’t want to just bear the club, friends, or my surroundings. I wanted to enjoy all of them. By removing any kind of haze from my mind, I was able to really focus on the people, places and things that make me happy.
For some reason we often forget what those things fundamentally are when we get caught in the rat race of life.
3. Releases come in much healthier forms.
I didn’t want to have to fuck my brain and body up to forget about my troubles. I wanted to breathe in the positive, face them head on, and get outside of my comfort zone as much as possible.
Drinking shouldn't be a coping method for anyone, but unfortunately it is for many people.
I have always enjoyed fitness, and found that it was so much easier to incorporate other healthy habits into my life, once I got on the sobriety train.
I have since made flossing a nightly occurrence. Not sure if there's a correlation, but I’ll take it.
4. My body is my temple, and it needed a break.
I wouldn’t say that I was a big drinker to begin with, but I still found myself drinking to get drunk on many weekends, and it truly takes a toll on your mind, body and soul.
I traded booze for water, and slowly but surely watched the dark circles under my eyes begin to disappear, my skin clear up, and my muscles become more defined than ever before.
Additionally, I’ve been able to gain the 5 pounds of muscle I have wanted for a long time. It’s been easier to make smarter and healthier food choices, and I don’t find myself eating crap late night, which often comes with being drunk.
5. A dolla makes me holla.
Drinking is expensive, especially when you live in New York City.
I don’t know about you guys, but I’d rather save my money for something more important that can add real value to my life. Trips, nice dinners, and fun activities have all been less stressful to think about doing because I’m not wasting upwards of $100 on booze on any given drinking night.
Money doesn’t buy happiness, but making smart financial decisions can definitely help keep you feeling sane and more at ease.
6. Sleep, sleep, and some more sleep.
As anyone who has ever drank and then gone to bed can tell you, drunk sleep doesn’t ever refresh you. To make matters worse, you usually end up going to bed much later than normal, and wake up earlier than you’d like, or find yourself laying in bed for hours just trying to get out of bed.
Call me old, but a really good night’s sleep sounds so much more appealing to me than a late night out and getting fucked up.
To properly recharge your body, you need to go into a proper REM cycle, which takes 3 hours and a healthy body. External factors like drinking make this incredibly more difficult to achieve.
7. It was a challenge.
I knew that there would be occasions that would arise that normally would make me want to drink. I knew it wouldn’t be impossible, but I knew it would be hard. I knew it would be a challenge.
I have to admit that I often preach about getting outside of your comfort zone, but I still often find myself nervous at the thought of doing just that in many scenarios. However, knowing this to be the case, I have made sure to fight my own fears, and push beyond my own boundaries.
I must admit that every time I do in fact push myself, life truly ends up that much better, and this challenge is no exception.
8. I was over losing time.
As you get older you realize how precious time truly is. Drinking, partying and staying out late are super fun, but it stops being entertaining when you realize how much time you are wasting sleeping in, feeling like crap and pregaming for the main time waster.
I’m not saying that I have stopped going out, or that I regret partying, but what I am saying is that my priorities have truly changed. I’d rather spend time with my friends in quiet environments where we can hear each other, share what’s going on in our lives, and be comfortable.
9. I was over holding myself back.
I’m going to reiterate that I didn’t have a problem, and that I may drink again in the near future, but what has changed for me is feeling the need to do what everyone else is doing because of FOMO, or because I want to have cheap fun.
My life is evolving in a really amazing way, and I don’t want to hold myself back from achieving everything I ever dreamed of because I made myself feel less than great.
I’d rather keep my two steps forward, and get rid of the one step back when it comes to my life, my productivity, my fitness, my friends, my time, and every other aspect of my life.
10. I was ready for change.
They say you can’t force someone to change, and I’ve learned that to be incredibly true.
I don’t know why, but something has come over me. I’ve found that I’m more confident than ever before, I trust my own judgments, and I don’t need external validation the way I used to.
Maybe it’s the fact that I’m heading into my late twenties, or maybe it’s the fact that I’ve made my life more mindful in many significant ways. Whatever the case is, I’ve enjoyed my 48-day journey, and the changes it has brought.
I share this story, and the things I have noticed to spark something within yourself. I share this to affirm what many of us already know, drinking and drugs aren’t good for you, and you can live without them.
If the idea of doing a sober month sounds hard than I say great, all the more reason why you should seriously challenge yourself. If nothing else, proving that you can accomplish a goal to yourself is an incredibly fulfilling feeling.
Drink, don’t drink, just make sure you are honoring your truth and taking care of yourself mind, body and soul.