It’s such a privilege to say that I did not hit rock bottom to give up alcohol. I am so grateful that it did not get to that point however many signs showed I was developing a drinking problem. It was just a matter of repeated nights of binge drinking and horrible hangovers that caused me to see how alcohol was hindering my personal growth. At one point, it was affecting my professional life as well.
My drinking days started when I was about 19 years old. But it wasn’t until my early to mid-20s, when I began to question what life would be like without alcohol. But, it was just a thought that I never really tried to entertain so I continued to drink without noticing that I was becoming addicted to alcohol.
I started to become aware of my drinking patterns when my therapist told me that I could be considered a functional alcoholic. She also explained to me that even though I was a young girl who was accomplishing many goals that alcohol addiction does not discriminate and if I continued with my drinking behavior, alcohol could destroy my life. While all these were harsh things to hear, I soaked up the words to evaluate my relationship with alcohol.
I cannot tell you how many times I used to drink and daydream about the woman who I can become if I was sober. I would wonder about the things I could do if I wasn’t hungover. Alcohol did not allow me to think clearly and I used to hate that I couldn’t articulate myself after a night of drinking. I used to hate myself for not having the best boundaries with men when I was drinking. I knew that my confidence was low due to alcohol. I used to hate how aggressive I would become with the people I love. Deep down, I knew that without alcohol, I could tap into parts of myself I never had discovered. Spiritually, my soul was calling out for sobriety but because the alcohol addiction was in my veins, I struggled for some time taking control of my drinking. I felt like I was being held hostage by alcohol.
In my professional life, I’ve embarrassed myself at a couple of work happy hours. At the age of 26, when I landed my first school counseling job, I started to drink with co-workers because I was trying to create “connections and relationships,” with them. Additionally, I was so stressed out navigating a new career as a first-year school counselor. I was also anxious and miserable because of how I was being mistreated at work. Since I was drinking excessively, I would call out of work or arrive late. I was unaware of how much I was coping with alcohol. While no one noticed what I was going through, I knew that alcohol was not allowing me to be the best school counselor I could be for my students.
Since alcohol was a major component in my 20s and I finally saw how much it affected me, I did not want to enter my 30s with the same lifestyle. I wanted to build a new foundation for the next stage in my life. Over the summer, I felt I NEEDED to make changes and so I decided to commit to a year of sobriety on my 29th birthday this past September on the 12th. If I can reach my goal that means that this year on September 12th, I would turn 30 and be 1 year sober. How dope is that? While the journey is not about the goal but the process…the goal keeps me committed to my sobriety and personal growth. My desire to personally evolve and become the woman of my dreams before 30 was stronger than my desire to drink which is why I embarked on this path that I call…my journey before 30.
On January 12th, I made it to 4 months sober and I would not trade this experience for a night of drinking. Why? Because life has been so much better and manageable for me. To be honest, there are times when my sobriety feels like pure bliss. I love waking up every morning hangover free to enjoy my cup of happiness which is coffee. I’ve lost about 10 pounds. My skin looks BOMB. I’ve been going through spiritual awakenings. I’ve made discoveries about myself. I can see what I need to work on in terms of my mental and emotional health. I am creating new healthy coping skills such as journaling, crying, meditating, learning to sit with the discomfort, and my fave, DANCING! I’ve been able to set STRONG boundaries with men. I’ve also tapped into my creativity by creating a website so I can blog about my sobriety and personal growth. It’s been so therapeutic and fun creating content people can benefit from and enjoy!
Sobriety is not just about not drinking, it’s about taking on a new opportunity to live a different and better life for yourself when you realized alcohol is no longer serving you or holding you back. It is not easy but it’s so worth it! Sobriety is an act of self-love. The pros of sobriety always outweigh the temporary buzz you get from alcohol.
If you are sober curious or questioning your relationship with alcohol, there is so much FREE and accessible content out there, especially on IG. You can look up hashtags such as #sobercurious #soberwomen #alcoholaddiction #sobercommunity to find info and come across people who are sharing their sober stories loudly! There are also so many good books out there! My blog is also a place you can visit if you want more info!
This article was a submission from Anina Beija. To connect with her and her journey, www.aninabeija.com and on her social media, Instagram @aninabeija.