Sober thoughts

Now I have been sober for a year, I am starting to feel a little like I did when I gave up smoking in my early 30s. Giving up smoking was difficult but I did it initially by ‘cutting down’ when I met my husband at 27. He has never smoked and so I didn’t smoke when I was with him. He came to live with me around a year later which meant I smoked even less, tending to only have a cigarette when I went out with friends and when I was drinking (which I’m sure you can guess, was a fair amount of the time!). When I found out I was pregnant at 31, I gave up entirely and never touched a cigarette again.

If asked if I was a smoker I said ‘yes’ for a few years after I gave up. I always felt like a smoker and at that stage I still had cravings for them, particularly when out socialising and drinking. I therefore considered myself a ‘smoker’ but just choosing to not smoke. At some point this changed. I can’t tell you when or why, but I realised I didn’t want to smoke, never had a craving and the thought of putting a cigarette in my mouth made me feel physically ill. That’s when I became a ‘non-smoker’.

How does this apply to alcohol? Right now I feel like I am still a ‘drinker’ but I just choose not to drink. The cravings are less but I still like the idea of having a drink at times. I don’t ‘need’ it or rely on it like I used to. Similarly, I stopped ‘needing’ cigarettes after I gave them up but I still felt like I was a smoker for a while. I wonder if, in time, I will come to view myself as a non-drinker in the same way. Whether the thought of drinking alcohol will turn my stomach the same way considering smoking does now. Having a cigarette no longer crosses my mind, yet I thought about it all the time in my 20s. I could never have imagined not smoking but now I can’t imagine what it’s like to smoke. Does that happen with sobriety and giving up booze? Will I forget drinking in the same way? I hope I do. I’d like it to have absolutely no place in my life or my thoughts. I suspect it won’t be quite the same experience though. There is more social acceptance, and even encouragement, regarding drinking. It’s hard to get away from it sometimes. Adverts, films, greeting cards, comments on social media, tv …. alcohol surrounds us. Maybe this means it’s harder to move on from being a ‘drinker’ than it is from being a ‘smoker’.

I’ll give it a damn good try though.

Claire x

25 thoughts on “Sober thoughts”

    1. It’s interesting isn’t it? I hope I do get to the point where I feel like a ‘non-drinker’ as opposed to saying I don’t drink. Thanks for commenting.

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  1. Interesting, I would also like the answer to this question! I also was a big smoker in my earlier life, thought I would never stop thinking about smoking, then finally quit for real when I got pregnant. I actually have had 2 random cigarettes over the last 10 years to see what it would be like, but they were gross. I never think about them now. I guess we will see!

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    1. You and I live such similar lives with similar experiences leafy! We will see. It would be good to get to that point with alcohol wouldn’t it? I do t know if I ever will though. Xxx

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  2. It’s interesting how, in a relatively short period of time, smoking has gone from being very much the norm to being something that’s socially frowned upon at any amount. But social messaging has stayed pretty much the same, except for drinking during pregnancy.

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    1. It was so very popular to smoke 20 plus years ago. It was unusual not to. But yes, it’s lost it’s sex appeal and, even with some negative marketing, alcohol retains positive associations in so many things. TV showing successful, intelligent, beautiful career women, coming home after a busy day and pouring a huge glass of red wine to relieve the ‘stress’ for example. You don’t see them then falling into bed 2 hrs later, slurring their words with a bright red tongue and stained black teeth!

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      1. I don’t know if they have images of cancer on cigarette packs there, but maybe the same kind of warning label on on booze featuring that kind of image could do some good!

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  3. that’s a great question !!! I have no idea. Probably because I am still struggling with the smoking thing myself… I don’t smoke but I still think go myself as a smoker, and I’ve relapsed several times after initially quitting 3 years ago. I hope the same won’t happen with drinking = falling off the smoking wagon and getting back on is not fun – I have no idea what it must feel like with alcohol. I HAD NO IDEA YOU USED TO SMOKE ! I can’t wait to have kids – then smoking will be completely out of the question in my mind. xxxxx Anne

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    1. Oh yes. I was a big smoker. Started around 16/17yrs … just a few here and there, by the time I finished university at 22 I was on 20 a day. That continued until early 30s. Cutting back when I met my husband but not quitting until I was 31. I’d smoke in the morning and in my car at work. Weird to think about it now. Xxx

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      1. You will. Enjoy this time searching, I look back now and wish I hadn’t worried so much about finding my husband etc. Such a waste of time because you can’t control when it happens. You are doing the right thing getting out there and enjoying meeting new people though. Exciting stuff won’t happen if we sit and wait for it xx

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    1. I think I will be the same Wendy. I suspect it will always be something I have to be mindful about and I’ll never find it turns my stomach. Having a glass at 80 sounds great 😊 xxx

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  4. Great question you pose. I assume it’s something that, once enough time passes, it doesn’t feel like part of your identity anymore. Your life and identity get filled by things you enjoy and you no longer associate with what you no longer do…at least I hope it’s that way! Hope you’re hanging in there dear… it’s ugly out. 😘

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    1. I’m doing ok thanks Collette. I am working really hard to recognise what I can’t control and trying to look for the positives and things to be grateful for .. of which I have many. Hope you are well too xx

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  5. Next week will be 7 years for me.
    I generally don’t think about booze at all. BUT when in crisis the thought of drinking in a self destructive way does come up.
    I see the thoughts and recognize that the best choice for me is to not drink, but I have had time where that was very very hard.
    I do think embracing myself as sober, someone who chooses not to drink because it was hurting my mentally and physically, helps. I don’t forget the soul deep fear I had when I drank compulsively. I think that reminds me not to go there.
    Maybe it isn’t like that for everyone…sobriety is my greatest act of self love.

    Anne

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  6. You are doing so awesome, Claire! I don’t know if I will ever stop wanting alcohol from time to time but happy it’s from time to time now and not this everyday “need.”

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