The Scary Truth About Being Sober By Caitlin Thiede

Whether you're at a party, a restaurant, your parents' house, or even by yourself, something uneasy bubbles just below your surface when deciding to live sober. What was once a comfort for anxiety and nerves has become your arch enemy taunting your demise. Drinking used to be fun, but that was before you were dancing dangerously close with death or losing relationships because of your behavior. So, here you are choosing to live life to the fullest—and it's terrifying. The Great Unknown I'll be the first to admit that socializing looks a whole lot different when left to the devices of your personality. You're oddly aware of everything and especially yourself. In a way, it's nice. This can actually teach you to become comfortable in your own skin. You will literally feel like you are standing naked in front everyone. That's what sobriety feels like in the beginning—full exposure. Remember those times you would drink by yourself just to relax? Yeah, I did that, too. Until the "relaxing" became "drinking until I got sick" and realizing that this wasn't really relaxing at all! When you're sober, relaxing feels a lot like it's supposed to—cuddling with a book, watching a movie (and actually focusing on it), or chatting with friends. Come to think of it, relaxing is so much better because I am actually in the present moment. Unfortunately, this can also be scary at first because it forces us to be responsible for our actions and behavior with no way to blame the turn of events on "the alcohol." Embrace the Pain You'll also learn you're not as funny as you thought you were when you were drunk. In fact, you may even detest what you were like when you were drinking. While all those drunken stories you or others retold of things you did will no longer be told with the same vigor, you will be able to have a new perspective. When you're sober, you finally see things for what they are—and that's the real trouble. You see, when you’re sober, you feel every emotion, you think every thought, your sensations and memories are uninhibited by spirits, and for the first time in a long time, you are forced to interact with the world without any buffer. When an unpleasant feeling or memory creeps up on you, you have to confront it. When you realize something you did was wrong and you feel really bad about yourself, you have to deal with it. Being sober means sitting in excruciating discomfort because you're becoming in tune with yourself. Although this is really horrifying at first, in due time you'll enjoy this new lease on yourself and life. At some point, you'll actually even prefer being sober over drinking. Hard to believe, right? Yep, sobriety is scary, alright. Scary good.