Why I chose sobriety

I decided to go sober a few weeks after I turned 19. Seems like a weird idea, right? Isn’t this supposed to be a time in my life when I let loose – throw back shots with my friends, dance erratically at Ducky’s, let go of my worries for a little while? This was a time that I had been idealizing since my first year of university, when all of my friends were becoming legal while I was still underage. As it turns out, I was definitely not cut out for party culture.

As someone who struggles with both impulsivity and addictive tendencies, I could never have just two drinks. Two drinks would turn into three, then four, five – until I inevitably ended up hanging my dizzy head in the toilet for the rest of the night. This wasn’t just happening on Saturdays, either. I eventually came to a point when all I could focus on was getting through my classes so I could unwind in the evening… alone in my bedroom with an entire bottle of wine, day after day. This became my normal, and I was so lost in the blurriness of my mind that I hardly thought much of it all.

One day, after realizing that I had blown far too much money on alcohol that week, I began to think about sobriety. I laughed about it at first – me? Sober? Do people even contemplate going dry before they turn, like, 50? I ran the idea by my girlfriend, hardly believing the words that were leaving my mouth, and we decided to both try going sober for one week. Looking back, I remember feeling as though the week would last forever. I can clearly recall being on the verge of panic when I thought about lasting seven days without the comfort of my go-to coping mechanism.

As it turns out, the experience was an eye-opening reminder that I am capable of so much more than I think I am. After one week, my head was clearer, my concentration had improved and I found myself having solo dance parties in my room in the evenings instead of pouring myself another vodka Diet Coke. I was so relieved that all it took was seven days to start feeling human again. When I checked in with myself at the one-week mark, I knew that it was time to commit to sobriety, no matter how scary the idea seemed.

I am now celebrating two months sober, and I am so proud to say that I didn’t settle for a lesser life. Didn’t settle for all those wretched hangovers that left me depressed and crying on the bathroom floor. Didn’t settle for letting my family worry themselves sick over how I’d been living. This body is my home, the only one I’ve got, and it feels like a miracle to finally be treating it as such.

I’m not saying that sobriety is for everyone – I think and hope that most people are able to drink in moderation, and that’s awesome (I’m low-key jealous). But if your story resembles mine and you’re looking to make a change in your life, you have nothing to lose by giving sobriety a shot. We can walk through it together.

Sophie Betts