Monday, July 29, 2013

Sobriety - One month in

30 days. No alcohol. 

It might not sound like much to some of you, and to others it might sound like the worst thing ever since they decided to end Friends

For me, it's a pretty big deal. It hasn't happened since my freshman year of college {about 5 and a half years ago, let's not talk about it}, when I decided to take 30 days off just to make sure that I could. And I could, but I haven't done it again since. Until now. 

I want to document this process. This is a huge life change, and if anything, I want to write out my thoughts and observations along the way. 

But I also want to encourage you. Whoever you are who's eyes have landed on this page (and have continued reading once you realized this post was about sobriety). I'm gonna let you in on a little secret, this post is about much more than just giving up alcohol. It's much more general than that. 

This post is proof that change is possible. This post is here to say that if something doesn't feel quite right in your life, if something is consistently bringing you down or making you feel bad about yourself, 
you are perfectly capable of changing that. 

You are stronger than you think, more capable that you even know. Don't underestimate yourself. If you don't like something, change it. 

It might not be easy, but you can do it. 

So here we go. The thoughts/feelings/observations/lessons/etc. from my first month of sobriety. 

And to offset the seriousness, a few pics from this past weekend in San Francisco. 
You're welcome. 

Went to a lovely wedding that deserves a post in and of itself!
In the 30 days, there were a total of 3 times that I noticed a distinct change in my lifestyle. That means only 3 times did I feel a difference, and honestly? That felt really good. Had this happened a year ago, or even 6 months ago, I probably would have felt a difference every single weekend night. 

What does that mean? It means that God had already been working in my life and pulling me out of the drinking scene before I made this decision. And for that, I am thankful. Not because the drinking scene is a bad scene to be in, but because there was a time that the thought of not drinking legitimately scared me because I thought I would lose friendships. 

I can happily report that my friendships have only strengthened. I can't even express how blessed I have been by the support of my friends. 

Reunited with my high school besties this weekend!

This month, I realized that I tend to over-analyze how people will respond to me not drinking. I learned this at a pub crawl earlier in the month, where people either didn't notice or were totally supportive of the fact that I wasn't having any alcohol. 

I was reminded of it again this past weekend, when I met up with a close friend from college. I was fully prepared to receive a loottt of ragging on my decision. But instead, without missing a single beat, he offered to grab me a water. And multiple times through out the night, he told me how proud he was of me. 

I'm learning that maybe, just maybe, I should give people a little more credit. Maybe I need to learn to believe the best in people, especially those who genuinely care about me. 

See people, even San Francisco knows what's up. 

I found that I never actually crave alcohol. Not once through out the month did I want to drink just to drink. I talked about it in this post, but it's the social situation that gets me wanting to drink. It's having a beer with everyone, having a glass of wine the the girls, or yes, even joining in in a round of shots (bleh). 

But given how alcohol has affected me in my life, given how it's affected my decisions in the past, and given how it pulls me away from God, wanting to drink just to fit in just isn't a good enough reason anymore. 

Because the fact is, regardless of what my insecurities tell me, I fit in just as much with or without a drink in my hand

So thankful for these amazing friendships that have lasted since high school!
You know what I really learned this month? Just how insecure I really am. It kind of crept up on me this past weekend, not gonna lie. 

It's hard! Making a life change like this. Taking out something that was once a big part of who you were, your reputation, and your regular routine. I hate admitting that that "thing" is alcohol, but it's true! Maybe not as much in recent months or years, but during college, alcohol was absolutely a huge part of my identity. 

When you've gotten used to relying on something for a sense of worth or value, it's hard to adjust to not having it anymore. Whether it's a relationship, a job, or in my case, just being the fun girl who can party with the best of them, it's going to take an adjustment process to get rid of the fear of losing that sense of identity. 

And honestly? I am sure I'm not the first to tell you that any time you are looking to something other than God for worth, identity or purpose, that other thing is going to let you down. It may take some time, but it's just how our world is. The only thing that can firmly and safely hold our identity is Jesus Christ, Himself. 

So what have I realized this month? That maybe it isn't quite to the extreme as it was in college, but there is absolutely a part of me who still looks for identity in being the fun party girl. 

And that part of me can feel so insecure when I'm sitting in a drinking environment without a drink in my hand. That part of me can feel so far on the outside when everyone is cheering their glass, or rounding up for a group shot. 

But guess what? That insecurity? It doesn't come from God, at all. 

You know what does come from God? The voice in my head that says "Amy, there is so much more to you than the fun party girl. Let me show you."

And in the moments when I'm feeling that insecurity surface? I will cling to that voice. I will cling to that truth


The Pink Growl said...

Amy I love this post! More than you know! I have been considering doing something like this myself. Alcohol is a crutch for me too, to make myself feel more secure and to make myself not care when I'm upset honestly. Good for you for recognizing the need to test yourself! You are a strong girl!

Heather Leigh said...

Wow girl!! I just love you so much.. You are such a strong lady and you carry The Strength of Jesus with you.. What truth! XOXO

Pamela said...

That's awesome!! I know it's prob not easy! Love the mint dress!! Very similar to the one I have! Love the mint color on you.

Rainey said...

I think as people get older, they're less prone to getting on someone's case for not drinking. I mean, you might experience some good-natured teasing, but it usually doesn't last long and they just end up going about their own business. I mean, really, my friends generally act like goobers when they're sober, so we have fun no matter what! :-) Good decision to not let alcohol define your social interactions.

Real College Student of Atlanta said...

congrats! that's seriously awesome!

Lee Ann said...

Amy, I just love you! You have no idea how much our stories are similar and that I can relate to so much of what you write. A couple of years ago I went sober for 2 years and it was a wonderful thing. I felt like God released me and I was free to have a drink after that, without it altering my relationship with Him. I am not saying the same will be true for you in two years. But, I can say, without a doubt, get ready for Him to rock your world and consume you. It is glorious and amazing!! congrats. Praying for you!- Lee Ann

Susannah said...

Wow, good for you girl! You decided to change something (even if only for a season) and did it! That's fabulous that God has been teaching you so much through this time and that your friendships have been so strengthened. What a blessing!

Jordan said...

I think what you are doing is awesome! I'm glad you are finding this not to be so much of a challenge as you expected. Congratulations on your first month and hope you have many more!

Leah said...

so happy for you Amy. keep at it girl, only good things can come when we surrender it to the Lord. so happy to see what He's doing in you!

Jess said...

Good for you gal! I know where your coming from & what you mean. I chose to do the same thing the past year or so. Now if I want to have a drink just for the purpose of having a nice relaxing drink, I'll do it but I've found that those times are far and few between and mostly and it's opened me up a lot to be able to avoid caving into the pressures in other areas of my life where I do things more because I feel like people "want" me to or I need to to "belong". <3

Hilda said...

Your post reminded me of what my mom told me long ago: "People change because they want to." So true. So proud of you, Amy, for changing your life for the better. As you can see, God blesses you daily. :D

Annie said...

& here i thought we were going to have all this fun come september ;]

honestly, i am so proud of you for making this decision! your commitment to Christ is such an encouragement to me, and i know He will bless you mightily for following Him even in this, even in the hard things. love you!

Kenzie @ Life According to Kenz said...

AMY...This post is absolutely incredible. I absolutely LOVE what you said about wanting to be the "fun party girl" because I definitely struggle with that, too and can identify with exactly what you said. Like you, I want to be able to surrender whatever I feel pulls me away from Christ, and this is one of those things. Sure, hanging out with the girls or being at a party with high school friends makes me want to cut loose, but if I feel like it's detrimental to my relationship with God, why on earth do I let it get to me?

Seriously...Thank you so, so much for posting this and being so incredibly honest. I'm beyond proud to know you!

Anna said...

Proud of you lady!

Anna said...

Proud of you lady!

Lovelyladyjb said...

Love this post!!

itriharder said...


I just wanted to tell you that I am so proud of you! I love you very much and pray for you all the time! Keep doing you because you do it so well!

Love you!