Life without alcohol: four months sober

I find I’m settling into sobriety now. Don’t get me wrong, I still miss cider like a missing limb, but at the same time I’m now completely in the habit of having a ginger beer instead. It’s become routine not to drink alcohol, which is all I can ask for, really.

Plants in May

I can’t believe how much my mental health has calmed down over the last few months. I still have depressed days, obviously, but they feel manageable in a way that they never did when I was drinking, and most importantly, they don’t have as much of an effect on my ability to get on with work and other important things.

Anxiety dream wise: I’ve noticed something very odd. I expected what would happen would be similar to the vegetarianism anxiety dreams I’ve been having for twenty years, where I suddenly realise halfway through my dream that I’ve accidentally been eating tuna fish (it’s ALWAYS tuna fish. I do not know why this is). I presumed that I would have similar ‘oops, I’m accidentally drunk!’ dreams. I haven’t yet, which I’m really glad about, because I expect they would be really upsetting.

However, what I am dreaming about – every night, which is just bizarre – is taking up smoking again. I quit smoking in 2008, which is eleven years ago now, and I’ve not had a craving for nicotine in waking life in…probably seven or eight years? I find the smell gross and offputting nowadays, and I would never want to jeopardise my running fitness by damaging my lungs again. I am the total stereotype of an ex-smoker. But I’m dreaming about it every single night. Maybe it’s my brain’s way of telling me it misses having a chemical stress release. I don’t know.

In the waking world, I’m still finding the range of sobriety resources available online and offline really helpful – it makes me feel a bit less alone with this thing.

Booze alternatives I’ve reviewed over the last month:

Things haven’t been totally plain sailing in recent weeks – I’ve realised that I need to plan better for events where everyone else is drinking, because at the moment it makes me feel a bit outside of things – but on the whole, I’m doing better, and learning to manage it better, and I’m hopeful that this will get even easier over the next few months.

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