One of the very hardest things for me in getting sober was the massive shift I had to do in reshaping my identity. Aside from beating cravings and just getting through the days without drinking, I had to somehow reconcile myself to being a sober person, and in the process say goodbye to the ‘old’ me … the fun-loving party girl.
I did love that fun-loving party girl.
I think it helps to be honest about the aspects of drinking that I really enjoyed. Obviously there’s a reason I drank so enthusiastically for over twenty years! And although my drinking turned incredibly sour towards the end and I hated every bit of it.. prior to that there were many occasions of great enjoyment.
I loved being the fun gal with the twinkle in her eye suggesting to my houseguests that we open another bottle and turn the music up.
I loved being the party gal dancing till the wee small hours in the bar, exclaiming ‘Yes!’ when tequila shots were suggested.
I loved huddling and talking bollocks with the boozers at boring events, forming our own mini gathering separate to the main event.
I fitted into those scenarios extremely well, they were fun! They were me to a tee. So when I got sober I was pained to know I’d never quite be that girl again.
So how did I adjust to that? How did I learn to fully adopt my new ‘sober gal’ persona and inhabit it so that I could live happily and not drink for the rest of my days?
Well, first and foremost I had to acknowledge that the boozy party gal was gone forever. I had to accept the death of my former persona and grieve. There’s no escaping that truth. I’m simply not her any more. She died when I put the drink down. So yes, it was a grieving process saying goodbye to her (but a relatively easy one .. nothing like losing a real person). Still, the sadness is there and I think I’d be a fool to deny that.
Next I had to focus on the aspects of my new persona which were so good. Sober me has many great attributes that are now being allowed to shine. I have a much greater ability to fully connect with my fellow humans in any circumstance. I’m always available to listen, empathise, understand, support … and drive!
Some of my most satisfying parenting moments come late in the evening or in the middle of the night and some of my best and most memorable conversations with friends and family have happened towards the end of a wedding or party.
And finally I had to realise that there was still a fun-loving party gal inside of me, but that she was going to appear less frequently now that she wasn’t being artificially bought out with alcohol. When the stars align and I’m at an event or party (or even at home!) and my mood is genuinely elevated and I’m feeling feisty and good, I’ll turn into that fun-loving party gal again.
I’ll dance the night away not giving a toss what I look like. Music definitely does it for me (I seek out big concerts more often now because I know what a big rush of happy endorphins they give me).
I’ll huddle in a group talking silly bollocks, cracking bad jokes or just laughing freely at others who are on a roll.
I’ll light candles, keep the mood warm and cosy and stay up late chatting or playing games.
And most of all I’ll do all of that safe in the knowledge that I’ll remember every aspect of the fun and camaraderie, will sleep well afterwards and wake up free from any guilt or regret.
Because no-one ever woke up regretting not drinking the night before.
Inspirational read this early Mondaymorning to help me through the new day, a new week and the real me, unnumbed😀
Extremely helpful comments. My husband died suddenly late last year and I have been drinking quite excessively to numb the dreadful pain and lonliness without my soulmate and best friend.
I have to stop this. I am also an introvert but need, like others, to embrace and accept my true self, giftings and talents. 3 people have told me this week what a beautiful person I am so I need accept this truth about myself and live accordingly. My husband left me a legacy of loving people as he did. He and I both have had imparted a spiritual healing gift so I need to step back into this and be strong and resolve those things which have caused me to drink quite excessively.
Thanks mrs D you should be New Zealander of the year. You deserve it so much
Thank you for this post, it’s inspirational!
I’m both scared and looking forward to who I’ll become when I’ve gone a while without drinking. I’m hoping for positive change but worried how I’ll be without the social lubricant of wine. Drinking permeates my life – getting together w/my sisters, friends after work, drinks around the fire pit, even w/my kids (adults). Will I be so self conscious that I can’t talk. I won’t miss hangovers, the awful feeling of being drunk, the cotton mouth tho : )
I think I need to print out the last line about never regretting not drinking the night before, and stick it up somewhere obvious as a reminder. Thanks!
I needed to read this after leaving a party tonight early using an excuse of having to pick up my teenager. After 6 years of being a non drinker and a homebody, I still feel like the odd one out when it comes to parties and Often being one of the only non drinkers there. I’m surprised the reactions I get from Women my age who say ‘ oh Come on just have one when we’re out.’ I’m like ‘I haven’t drank for nearly 6 years! Why would I start now!‘ I wish everyone looked at alcohol like smoking then it would make life a lot easier in my world. Xx
Great post, thanks! I can really relate to saying goodbye to some of those old things and parts of us that we loved so much. The part I struggle with the most sometimes is, although I know I should say goodbye to that stuff and to her, there is a small part of me who hasn’t closed the door yet. Maybe it’s because I’m still not totally sure saying goodbye will be worth it in the end, maybe I’m worried I’ll live in a perpetual fomo state once I say goodbye? But then I read things from people (like you) who have done that, and who are okay, or more than okay, and I’m reminded that there is hope!
Loving it. Thank you Mrs D.
Gosh I so relate to that! I have only just started grieving my party girl, but actually I reckon she will still pop up at times, happy partying sober I’m hoping for! Thanks Mrs D 🙂
Great post, @Mrs-D. I’m definitely still working on the identity – The old me was a better fit for a lot of my social circle than the new me.
What a pick-me-up Mrs D! I’ve read this every day since you posted. xo
Awesome perspective. I think I’m going to have a sober grieving party for the person I didn’t like being after drinking 🤗
Great perspective on the change from drinker to non drinker. It reminded me of going to a 21st nearly 40 years ago and the Tequila came out The rest of the night was a blur. My friend phoned me the next day and said how much fun I was. As a shy young woman who lacked confidence, I took those words onboard but didn’t become a party girl for another 14 years. I now look back and realise Alcohol is not fun. As a society we need to change the messaging around Alcohol.
Oh I relate to this so much!
It’s bittersweet changing your perceptions about yourself.
I’m still learning how to be myself out. The alcohol suppressed a lot of self doubt and insecurity. Without it, I can be quite self conscious.
That’s not always a bad thing though, or better than being brash and overly confident.
I’ll get there, still early days (423 I believe).
Thank you Mrs D
Timely post, although Im not the party girl any more I am finding new ways of adjusting to the new me. Still learning about myself at my age, who new!
I was that same party girl and really surprised to learn when sober that I am more of an introvert.
I have had to relearn how to enjoy and have joy in settings where I once used alcohol to facilitate. Now, if I see someone who resembles the old me talking a little too loud , laughing a little too much , drink in hand all night long, I feel compassion , not envy. It just wasn’t as much fun as alcohol distorted it to be ! I do think sometimes I’m a bit boring but I work hard to let go of my need to entertain and keep the party going, or what we know now is codependence.
I’m delighted to be the real me again. This is the happiest I’ve been in years, the true real authentic me has returned. Your post was spot on!! Many thanks 😘
I struggle with that too as I was the one skinny dipping or leading the night somewhere… I am glad you have resolved it and you are content in yourself. What a great feeling! Thanks for this Mrs. D!
Oh, I really liked this post and connected to it a lot. I am a slow learner and just now am really feeling like I am ready to accept the ‘new’ me as a keeper. Loved the part about the best parenting moments being in the evening and at times when we would normally be very drunk. Also, the part about being better at listening and really connecting to others. Thank you for this xo
Great topic! Thanks
I miss her sometimes too, my party girl, but now it’s a bit like missing my youth, something I just can’t keep going forever. Recently I have had to start caring for my elderly mother and the conversations and interactions I share with her are a complete change to how we interacted before. So the saying that ‘the only constant is change’ feels apt right now.
Am I reinventing myself? Or evolving? Or adapting? Not sure what to call it but I’m happy to be present and conscious and sober while it happens. Don’t want to miss out on seeing what’s next.
Thanks for this, altjough I don’t miss my party girl, my friends do but she was not the real me, the real me is quiet and a bit introverted, I created s whole new person with drink, who was she? Dancing on tables, singing, it wasn’t me that’s for sure! Ha
Lovely post. Thanks.
Thank you kfor your honesty and time.
I like that last Line Mrs. D. “No-one ever woke up regretting not drinking the night before.” I’ll remember that when I feel tempted. I ordered your book and I am waiting for it! Can’t wait to read it!
Great post Mrs. D.
This is great. Thank you for sharing.