On Sobriety

Aside from a celebratory glass of champagne to celebrate a startup milestone a while back, it’s been several years now since I’ve had any alcohol.

I know, I’ve had to experience the Trump administration while sober.

It’s been an interesting journey, and I thought I’d share a few observations in the event that someone might find any of them helpful:

  • While my largest reason for eliminating alcohol was/is drug interaction-related, I’d be lying if I didn’t admit that I’d spent years looking forward to my next drink(s) a bit more than I should have. Being forced to make a hard stop was dramatic, but very effective.

  • Alcohol is still woven incredibly deeply into adult society. Explaining that you don’t drink inevitably makes the situation weird, and that’s unfortunate. Those rare few people that simply say “oh, ok” and move on when the topic comes up? Absolute saints.

  • Arguments about alcohol amounts (mostly my own chafing at self-imposed limits) were a periodic source of friction in my marriage, and I’m glad that my sobriety has removed at least one item from my wife’s list of family concerns. That said, I still leave my shoes scattered by the door and make the bed incredibly badly, as I don’t want to shock her system with too much change.

  • I’ve found that having replacement beverages has been critical (probably similar to former smokers chewing gum to build new muscle memory habits). The past few years have taken me incredibly deep down the seltzer rabbit hole, and, thanks to a co-worker’s recommendation, I’m currently having a torrid affair with Topo Chico.

  • Finding alternate ways to relieve stress and anxiety is also essential. Pharmaceuticals can go a long way if they make sense for your situation (and are recommended by your doctor), but I’ve also found a surprising amount of success with meditation and a utility belt of various other shenanigans.

Obviously everyone’s different, but I wish anyone the best of luck if they’re trying to change a longstanding habit. I definitely won’t ask you why.