Sunday, 13 September 2015

Addition, Not Elimination.

"Sober" is a word that for many of us is synonymous with "Deprivation".

 I think that is the reason why I struggled to quit the booze for such a long time. I saw my life stretching out in front of me with a big wine shaped void in it. 

Alcohol is woven into the comfort blanket of our lives from the very beginning - from "wetting the baby's head", we include drinking as the main feature of almost every milestone - romantic sun soaked evenings with Merlot, Chilled Champagne at the reception, Brandy on a winter's evening, Cold Beer when we're camping....right up to raising a glass to see us off into the afterlife.

It's no wonder that contemplating a lifetime with no alcohol can seem like a life sentence of self denial and isolation.

Diets are much like this. The new thinking around dieting, is that we don't actually "diet" (Lots of interesting information about this at if you are interested).

Have you noticed that so many diets start off with 'First eliminate sugar/fat/soda/bread.....whatever the advice of the day is, and first we start off with great intentions, but very soon we crave whatever it is that we are supposed to be eliminating?
Surely a far better approach is to focus on the good things that we add to our daily food intake?
Have that slice of chocolate cake, but why not eat a leafy salad in the evening as well?
The underlying theory is that as we notice how much better we feel when we eat the good stuff, we'll keep adding it, and eventually it will edge out the bad stuff. Without feeling that we have deprived ourselves.

In other words, a better approach is to eliminate the eliminations.

Much the same with Sobriety.

A similar approach is to focus on the good stuff, no, the great stuff that is introduced into your life, and very soon that feeling of loss and deprivation will fizzle are my top Great Additions since I gave up the booze;

  • Time.
When I was drinking, the day stopped at wine o'clock. Evenings were just hazy recollections of half watched TV reruns. Now, my evenings are productive if I want them to be. I have a good three hours to work, read, write, converse with my husband....and I can still watch the TV (and remember it in the morning).  I estimate that I have added about five productive hours to my day. I can also while away an afternoon just reading a good book, knowing that I have plenty of time to catch up with chores later. And most importantly, as the threat of about eight different major diseases has diminished, I have added a few more healthy years to my lifespan.

  • Mornings.
I used to say 'I'm not a morning person". Translated ..."I'm hungover and feel too shitty to appreciate the morning, person".
These days, I revel in the mornings. I love the smell of coffee (which used to make my stomach flip flop), I love to sit on my porch, and just be...before the day begins. Sometimes, I plan my day, sometimes I putter in my greenhouse.....whatever I do, the day starts with a sense of calm and contentment, that filters through the subsequent hours. A good morning almost never develops into a bad day.
  • Fun
Ha! You is "fun' possible without a drink? Not only is it possible, but fun is..well., more fun now I can fully participate! A day at the beach, an afternoon fishing, or an evening with friends around the camp fire - all far more fun now I am not worried if I have enough wine, if I am slurring my words, or embarrassing myself. 

  • Connections
 When I was drinking, I was boring and self absorbed. I rarely listened to what other people were saying, and if I did, I wouldn't remember, I took no interest in anybody else's life, because my whole being revolved around a wine glass. Now, I have real connections with people. We have real conversations. And more than that, old friends who drifted away, bored and irritated by Drunk Jackie, have reappeared in my life. And of course, there are the many connections that I have made in Sober Blog World, who support, comfort and guide me.

So there you are. Four major positive additions to my life that would not have occurred if I had still been drinking.

So, when your mind wanders to everything you think you are giving up when you quit the booze, try to focus on all that you have to gain.

And eventually you will eliminate the eliminations.


  1. That's a great way of looking at it. Thanks for the inspiration.

  2. Yes, sobriety is a life of privilege and early on I was so grateful for every clear headed morning and remembered book and movie. It was like I had awakened from a decades long sleep. They were gifts and wonders, something new to be exclaimed over and cherished.
    They still are. I just need to remind myself a little more.

  3. i have my evenings back! precious and important time to spend with the kids. no rush! in fact most things in my life have lost that 'edge' of always chasing my tail, getting annoyed, rushing about,getting stressed,etc etc. i have stopped sweating the small stuff. i also, for some weird reason, have got my giggle back and find myself goggling a lot at silly things just because they're quite funny. i still have moments of wistfulness about wine but they're getting less and less. So many pluses xxx