“Can I buy you a drink?” “Let’s do a shot!” “What are you drinking?”
That’s usually how this conversation begins for me.
How I answer depends on the setting, the person and how I’m feeling that day. Usually, I start out with a simple “No thank you, I don’t drink.” However, that answer is often not sufficient enough on it’s own and requires further explanation.
The replies and looks I get are always entertaining. People are repeatedly taken back by the fact that I don’t drink. Here are some of the responses I get:
The egg on: “Oh come on, just one shot.”
The pessimist: “Really? Why, what’s wrong with you? You must be boring”
HA! If you only knew, buddy!
The clarifier: “You mean not even wine?”
Last time I checked wine is considered alcohol.
The offended: “Oh, well that sucks.”
Turns head and I am now wearing an invisible cloak to them.
The joker: “Why – what are you pregnant?”
Yep – You guessed it. Look at my huge belly.
The sweetheart: “How bout a water? Red bull? Ice tea?”
You have my attention now. Thank you for being respectful from the jump.
The intrigued: “Wow, that’s interesting. Do you mind me asking why?”
Hmmm, do you want the short or the long version?
As you can see, when you walk a life outside of the norm like I do, there are many ways a conversation like this can go. Our society is largely driven by social settings where throwing back a few drinks and letting loose are the standard.
And I get it. I used to be right there. There is nothing wrong with having a couple drinks and having some fun. In fact, I still love to hang out with my friends and watch them have a good time. For me, drinking is just not a fit because I really suck at the whole limits and moderation thing.
What I am good at is being sober. When I try to explain why I don’t drink to people, there are a lot of reasons outside of my story as to why I have come to enjoy living the sober life. The more I have gotten comfortable with this lifestyle and the tough skin it requires, the more I realize…
10 Reasons Why Sober Is The New Cool:
1. I remember everything now.
Beer goggles are so 5 years ago. There is no more fuzzy memory or calling my friends after a night out to get the back up story to, “I heard I had an awesome time.” Everything is now crystal clear. I wake up and I know exactly where I am and I remember conversations, people I met, places I went and overall I remember the awesome time first hand.
2. No more embarrassing nights.
I no longer have to bury my head in my hands as my friends tell me things I did the night before like going up to the DJ booth, writing a song on a napkin and plastering it to the glass begging them to play it as I hurl a wadded up $5 bill at them. Yep, true story. That was me! But not anymore. Now I’m the one who gets to laugh and tell my friends the embarrassing things they were doing the night before.
3. My bank account has never looked better.
Gone are the days where I wake up to receipts, add them up and shake my head wondering, “How in the world did I spend $250 last night?” with absolutely nothing to show for it, but a headache and a slight case of amnesia. On average, I used to spend about $300 partying each weekend. Let’s do the math. 52 weeks a year times $300 – that’s about $15 G’s. So, now I’m saving all that money or using it to travel. Water is cheap my friends, in fact it doesn’t cost a dime.
4. I never have a hangover.
Let’s say that again. I NEVER have a hangover! This in itself is freaking glorious. I never wake up to light hurting my eyes. My head doesn’t feel like a volcano is going to erupt inside it at any moment. I don’t have nausea or puke alien vomit anymore. It doesn’t take me 2 days to recover from a night out. The last time I said: “I’m never drinking again,” I actually meant it.
5. No more toxins polluting my body.
I try not to even think about all the crazy, nasty stuff I used to put into my body and up my nose on the regular. Between the drugs and the alcohol, I probably had enough toxins in my body to kill a small village. Since I’ve cleaned up my act, I’m much healthier and I look healthier. My hair, skin and body thank me everyday for taking better care of them. I now understand and appreciate the concept: Your body is a temple.
6. I have more energy.
This goes hand in hand with the toxicity levels in my body being much lower. I get better, more quality sleep. I work out more often. I’m more alert and not always in a fog. As a whole, I experience more ability to focus instead of constantly worrying about what I did the night before or how and when I am going to get to happy hour and find my drugs that day. Instead of being lit, I’m lighting a fire and I’m more on the top of my game then I’ve ever been.
7. My relationships are stronger.
My friends and family enjoy being around me much more now and they appreciate where I’m at in life. There is no more selfish Carly with an agenda and the if you want to come along, great, and if not, smell ya later attitude. I genuinely care more about the people in my life and I think this shows through noticeably more. I am more mindful of conversations and I want to know how I can help people. I try to take into consideration how others feel and how my actions can have more of a positive impact as opposed to the negative influence I used to carry with me everywhere.
8. I enjoy life more because I know how to relax.
My idea of blowing off steam and taking the edge off involves a fuzzy blanket, my couch, my furry kids and a good book. Rewind 5 years, and my version of relaxation looked a lot more like an 8-ball and a bottle of Stoli Blueberi. What I had to learn was how to deal with life on a very real level. There is no more turning to the bottle and booger sugar to ease the stresses of life. Instead, I’ve learned how to work through them by learning to say no, praying, staying positive and by being comfortable in my own skin. This new frame of mind affords me a different kind of relaxation. I no longer feel like I’m missing something by not going out. I cherish my downtime and I use it to rest and refuel my desire to lead a more productive lifestyle.
9. Commitment to anything is much easier now.
When I want something now, I always put it into the perspective of if I can stay clean and sober for 5 years, I can do anything. The key to commitment is this: You have to REALLY want it. You have to want it so bad that the fears of it and the opportunities missed because of it are far outweighed by the benefits.
This is true for anything. You want to lose weight. But how badly do you want it? Bad enough to give up sugar, carbs and that extra 30 minutes of sleep in the morning so you can go work out? I’ve found that once you commit to something substantial in your life and you see it through, it makes the success and follow through of future commitments that much easier.
10. There is a respect level that comes with sobriety.
For the most part, people like to see success stories. It gives them hope for whatever they are going through. The series of questions and responses I went through earlier usually end with the other person giving me a high five and telling me that they respect me for what I’ve overcome.
Not only that, but I’ve noticed that my friends and family come to me more often for advice on life. I think it is because they know that I will always shoot it straight, even if it hurts. There is a certain mentality that comes with being able to work on yourself, set a goal, stick to it and meet it. Once you’ve done that, not only do people respect you, but they see you as reliable, trustworthy and many of them want what you have.
Ultimately, my answers to the questions people ask me about why I don’t drink always have an underlying theme. And that is this: