Welcome to The (Not) Drinking Diary Series, today I’m chatting to Zoey, blogger at 365 Days of Not Drinking (I LOVE Zoey’s blog, she updates with how she’s doing – it’s raw and real and you should go read it).
Zoey writes the blog 365 Days of Not Drinking, she’s sober and works in marketing in Des Moines, IA.
In her own words: I’m passionate about arts & mental health. And my dog Bruiser Jenkins.
Read on for her not drinking diary …
Location: Des Moines, IA
1.Tell me a little about yourself …
Hi! I’m Zoey. I’ve been sober for almost 9 months. I would consider myself an advocate for arts, music & mental health. Professionally, I work at an arts & lifestyle marketing firm.
Outside of work, I produce my own female-focused music festival, go to therapy, practice yoga, hang out with my dog and read (a lot).
2.Tell me a little bit of your drinking story …
I’ve pretty much always had a turbulent relationship with alcohol. The very first time I drank, I puked… everywhere.
It was never just a drink or two. Or very rarely was it just a drink or two. So my first drink would have been 10 years ago, when I was about 15. I’m 25 now. Drinking was the catalyst for countless hookups, regrettable phone calls, missed appointments, terrible fights, wet beds (yeah, I know… so gross). I drank until I was not myself and then I drank some more.
It wasn’t an every day thing. I didn’t wake up at 8am and start drinking. But when I did drink, it was a deep dive. An intense binge. And I was mortified, often. I created chaos for myself and kept myself stuck in a spiral of…. *I’m not good enough. I’m bad. This stuff happens because I’m not deserving of anything better. I always do this. I’m never drinking again. Okay, well maybe just one.* And then one turns into ten, and I’m crying and upset and drunk.
I stopped drinking because I just got fed up with it, and I was tired of feeling stuck.
3. What led you to think differently about drinking?
In the past ten years, had periods where my drinking was more moderate. I have plenty of horror stories but I was overall a pretty highly functioning alcoholic.
t’s been a huge journey of self discovery, and I’ve realized that drinking exacerbated my depression and dulled my shine. Starting my blog was probably the most loving thing I’ve ever done for myself.
4. How would you describe your relationship with alcohol now?
As I said before, I’ve been sober for nearly 9 months. I don’t miss drinking. I do sometimes miss feeling like apart of the culture but then I realize how much richer my friendships have become and how much closer I’ve become with myself.
I am still working on self love, in a huge way, but I know that drinking will not bring me closer to my goals and I’m fine without it (or, actually – way better than fine).
5. What’s been the biggest challenge you’ve faced since your approach to alcohol shifted?
Dating has been really hard without alcohol. It was always easy to go grab a drink or just pick someone up at a bar. (L’s note: I AGREE – I wrote about dating and not drinking here)
My dating life has slowed down immensely, but I also think it’s for the better. It goes along with not creating emotional chaos for myself or hooking up with people who aren’t really in line with my long term goals.
6.What lessons have you learnt about life (and yourself) since your relationship with alcohol has changed?
The biggest thing that’s changed has been my self-talk. It’s kind of like Brené Brown describes the difference between shame and guilt. Shame is I am bad and guilt is I did a bad thing.
I am able to see the difference now.
I know that I am loving, loved, deserving of love. I am love. When I was drinking, I wasn’t able to connect with myself in that way and was often stuck in a spiral of negative self-talk. Otherwise known as a shame spiral.
7. What benefits of cutting down on alcohol or stopping drinking have you experienced?
I’ve saved some money. I’ve made closer friendships. I’ve found purpose in life again. I’ve gotten a handle on my depression and anxiety (I still have bad days but the amount of good days I have has doubled/tripled/quadrupled).
8. How do you start your day? Do you have a morning routine?
I would like to get better at routine. It’s something I struggle with. I usually wake up, take my dog for a walk, get coffee, go to work. I would love to allow for more time for meditation or exercise in the morning but I can’t seem to get the motivation to get up early enough. I would love tips on this!
9. Are there any resources that have helped you to cut down or stop drinking?
I go to a 12 step programme. I started going about 3 months in. It’s helped me a lot – mainly because without it I wouldn’t have many sober friends IRL. I only know one other person my age who doesn’t drink alcohol IRL. Everyone else I know is from the sober Instagram community (which … many of them are in New York or London or Chicago).
Going to a 12 step programme allows me to have real conversations with real sober people in real life. It helps me stay grounded.
10. Do you have any rituals you always make time for?
I meditate before bed every night. That’s about the only one. Again, I would love to make more space for this.
11. What’s your favourite thing to do (hangover free & not drinking) at the weekend?
I love to wake up early and enjoy my mornings. I’ll drink coffee, read, go for a long walk, go to yoga, get coffee or breakfast with a friend. I used to have debilitating hangovers and all I could do was eat hashbrowns and groan in misery.
My hangover free Saturday and Sunday mornings are my favorite thing about being sober.
12. When it comes to your own personal development, what is one thing that you’re working on or learning right now?
I’ve already touched a lot on this. I’m big into self love and positive self-talk. Mantras, affirmations, meditation. It’s hugely important to me.
13. What is the one thing you’re obsessed with at the moment that’s making your life better?
I’m really into Brené Brown, as I mentioned. I highly recommend Gifts of Imperfection to anyone who wants to fundamentally change their life! I’m sort of kidding with that last dramatic statement, but I do really feel like it’s an amazing and impactful work.
(L’s note: buying Gifts of Imperfection right now!)
I’m also OBSESSED with House of Cards and Veep. Which have nothing to do with sobriety but I love well-produced political dramas/dark comedies.
Oh, I also really like my Clean Day app. It counts my sobriety number. I get comments on it all the time because I post my sobriety number to Instagram fairly often.
Oh, I allsooooooo really love my Danielle LaPorte Desire Map Daily Planner. Daily journaling (or attempting to journal daily) has been really amazing and I love the design/layout of this particular planner. It’s so streamlined and does a great job of incorporating daily tasks with spiritual goals.
14.Any go-to people we should follow for inspiration? (Health, Fitness, Life, travel you name it!)
My favorite sobriety accounts:
and of course @laurievmcallister 🙂
I’m really just inspired by real life people who are doing the damn thing day by day and showing that sobriety doesn’t fit one mold. It’s real and we’re in it together.
15. And finally, thinking differently about your relationship with alcohol can be challenging and isolating, is there any advice you turned to or do you have any words of wisdom for people reading this?
I don’t know. It’s hard to give advice. You really just have to want to do it for you. You are the only one who can change your life. You have to want it. And once you want it, you work for it – it starts to happen. And then life unfolds in a beautiful way.
In the beginning, I made a ton of gratitude lists. I would say what made me happy, what made me feel good, what made me feel grateful. Keeping the good things in perspective helped me stay the course in the early days.