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  • Writer's pictureLandon Payne

Sober Life, Pt. 3: The Year That Changed Everything

Updated: Feb 14, 2022

On January 23, 2022 I woke up one year free of alcohol. When I made the decision to stop drinking, I didn't do it thinking that I'd actually stick with it. What I did know was that it was time to change. There was no rock-bottom moment, health issue, or tragedy that shocked me into quitting. Internally, I just knew it was time.

A few days before my sober date, I was hanging out with a couple of friends when I declared "I'm going to stop". Of course, they looked at me like I had antlers growing from my head. I'd said the same thing so many times before only to end up back at square one. Something was different this time. To this day, I can only explain the feeling I had as desperation. I had to stop and I refused to give myself a choice in the matter.

Photo by Polina Tankilevitch from Pexels
Waking up with a hangover is never worth it. Sobriety is a surefire way to avoid it!

So many times before, I spent time contemplating quitting. The excuses were immense! I couldn't stop because I was going to a wedding in the next month, a friend's birthday was the next week, or Beyoncé is performing at Coachella in a few days and I need cocktails for the occasion. The denial was eating me up, but I KNEW I had a problem. I didn't want to separate myself from my addiction because I was afraid of what would come after. Setting my sobriety date and sticking to it was the best decision I've ever made.

These tidbits are things I've learned on this journey. I hope they'll help you too!

Moderation Ain't For Everybody

A spark becomes a flame, and a flame becomes an inferno. If you are reading this, chances are you're in the unfortunate number of the population that can't control their drinking. We don't have an off switch. No drinks is actually easier than just a few drinks. It may not seem like it in the moment, but you'll be glad you abstained in the long run.

Alternate, baby!

Having a cold bottle or glass in your hand does wonders for the psyche in recovery. Sparkling water and ginger beer are two of my favorite non-alcoholic beverages. Those orange + grapefruit AHA! drinks have me in a chokehold and I love it. There are also so many incredible non-alcoholic options. I'm afraid they will trigger me, so I'm steering clear of them for now. If you'd like to try some, this list from Rolling Stone is a great resource!.

Get Active!

Now I'm still working on this one. I'm the type to exercise when I feel like it and the feeling is rare. Exercise is a great way to curb cravings, not to mention it elevates your mood and may improve mental health conditions like depression. Whenever I feel cravings coming on, I like to do a few push-ups or ANYTHING to get me off my ass. Exercising is especially important in regards to my next tip.

Eat ALL The Sugar

You stopped drinking. Treat yourself. 😁

Photo by Polina Tankilevitch from Pexels
Treat yourself, but keep in mind that too much of a good thing can hurt you. 😂

Check In

I can't stress enough how important it is to have support when you decide to stop drinking. I quit cold turkey, but I have a strong support system that holds me accountable. Whether you go to AA or another support group, be sure to check-in daily. Good or bad, having a sound board and/or accountability partner is so important. SAMHSA's National Helpline is a phenomenal resource if you're not sure where to start.

Be Proud Of Yourself!

In a way, being in recovery is like being a veteran. You've been through some shit, you've seen some shit, and now you're stronger and wiser. Being open about your addiction, your recovery, and your goals to stay sober will not only keep you on track but may also help others around you.

I remind myself everyday that I'm winning a battle that many have lost. It's up to me to fight and win this battle every single day for the rest of my life. And I'm damn proud to do so!!!

You earned your stripes. STAND TALL!

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You deserve to be happy and healthy! Give yourself the fresh start you deserve!

At this point, there's no doubt in my mind that sobriety is for me. I feel and look amazing, relationships with my loved ones are 1000x better, and I finally feel like I know who I am as a person. I've fully embraced my new sober identity. The things that I've accomplished in the last year would have never been done if I were still drinking. I have money in my pocket, no hangovers, my mental state is TREMENDOUSLY better, and did I mention that I LOOK GOOD!

The benefits of being sober are more fantastic than I can explain. If you're contemplating getting help, tapering, or looking to quit cold turkey (if you are able to), I strongly encourage you to do it! It's not an easy journey, but it's totally worth it.

My next 365 will be my best. 💪🏽

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