I’ve been running Sobersistas Closed Group for over two years now and I’ve noticed that some of the same questions pop up on a regular basis so I thought I would tackle the top three.
Let’s start with an easy one:
Question 1 – I’ve just given up – why am I eating so much sugar?
I used to drink vodka and zero-calorie mixers because I read somewhere that it was the lowest calorie alcoholic drink. The fact that I drank so much of it and therefore still consumed tons of empty calories never actually crossed my mind. I consider myself a reasonably intelligent woman but honestly, the delusions I wrapped myself in about my drinking were astonishing!!!
It wasn’t until I spotted a couple of questions about increased sugar intake in the group that I did a bit of research. One of the things I learned was that an average bottle of wine contains 600 calories and you could tell that most women were replacing or even increasing those calories at the start of their sober journey.
When you give up drinking, especially if you’re a wine drinker, your body craves the sugar it’s missing and sends you running for stuff you would never normally consider eating. I have never been a big fan of cake but in those early days I could have eaten it for breakfast, lunch and dinner every day – and sometimes I did! It was ridiculous.
Whilst we do need to be conscious of our health, I firmly believe that if you want to eat cake, candies and chocolate whilst you let go of the poison that is alcohol, then that’s fine. The crazy sugar cravings do pass in time and for me, I would rather eat cake than suffer all of the shame, guilt, blackouts, sleeplessness and everything else that goes with drinking.
Eat cake and enjoy it with the full knowledge that you’ve embarked on something truly amazing that will transform your life for the better in countless ways.
Question 2 – How long will it take for me to experience that ‘pink bubble’ everyone talks about?
If you’ve been in Sobersistas for a while you will notice that many women post in the group declaring just how wonderful life is since they gave up drinking.
For me, it was Day 21. I was walking to work and I stopped dead in the middle of the street as this physical rush of pure joy swept over me. I was completely overcome. I was standing in a Spanish street with cars whizzing by and I had the biggest grin on my face. I knew that this was a life-changing moment.
I knew beyond any question of a doubt that I would never drink again. There was no internal argument, no doubt and no fear. Just absolute surety and confidence that the rest of my life would be lived without alcohol and that this would be a brilliant thing and my life going forwards would only change for the better.
And it’s been true. I love my life now and since that day I can see that every day just gets better and better. I am more confident, more sure of my decisions, bolder in my decision making and have this consistent knowing that everything is always going to be fine.
I’m not unrealistic. I know that bad times will happen but I also know that whatever is to come will be dealt with without alcohol in a calm and rational way.
It’s clear from the posts in the group that the pink bubble arrives at different stages for everyone. My guess is that it arrives on the day every single part of you knows you’ve cracked the habit. A recent study showed that the average time it takes to form a new habit is 66 days but the range that makes up that average is between 18 and 254 days.
That range of between 18 and 254 days would certainly reflect my own observations of Sobersistas reports in the group.
So, I’m sure your pink bubble day will come but just remember that every day before that day is a wonderful one where you can experience the true joy of sobriety. Don’t waste a minute comparing yourself to anyone else. Just focus on letting alcohol go.
Question 3 – How do I get rid of the Wine Witch?
I don’t know where this wine witch came from. I wish I did. For me, it is, without doubt, one of the most unhelpful things that has come out of the sobriety world in recent times.
The reality is that the wine witch is you. Telling yourself that this mythical creature was whispering in your ear last night and that’s why you drank is letting yourself off the hook. It stops you from taking 100% responsibility for your actions and more importantly for your drinking.
It’s a delusion that keeps you drinking and keeps you from setting yourself free.
I know how hard it is to change your thinking so that you are honest with yourself all of the time. That can seem really difficult to face. Alcohol seduces you into believing the lies it tells you and keeps you stuck in the wine o’clock habit.
But, when you make the decision to embark on a life of sobriety, one of the first things you need to tackle is to examine your inner dialogue and to get real. If this is something you’ve been avoiding for years then it’s understandable that you don’t know how to do it or you fear what you might find out.
For me, when I realised that sobriety had gifted me the ability to be 100% honest with myself, 100% of the time, the emotional freedom it gave me is something I now absolutely love. I love it when I realise I did something that I should have done better – because I know what is to follow is a braver version of me that I really like.
My advice would be to do some inner mentor work and tap into your innate, feminine wisdom that has all the answers that you need. Spend some time looking in the mirror at who you really are – not that grumpy, hungover bitch that you hate – the beautiful, wise woman that is the truth of who you are.
Write a list of all things you like about yourself without shame or embarrassment. Doing this will enable you to take the first step in loving yourself and when you fall in love with the real you, alcohol will never cross your mind again.
Bonus Question – I’ve been sober for 4 months now – why is my life so boring?
This question, or a variation of it, is asked in the group just about every week. There is always one woman who has reached this ‘comfortable with sobriety’ stage and is asking herself the question ‘is this it?’.
In those early days, it’s natural to be totally preoccupied with the mechanics of giving up. Working out how to navigate your triggers, dealing with the detox, avoiding social situations, being terrified of turning into a human doughnut, deciding what to drink instead, etc., can be all-consuming and exhausting.
Getting beyond all of this takes approximately 3 months. Of course, it’s different from Sista to Sista but generally, by month 4, most women have become confident that they aren’t at risk of drinking.
What tends to happen at this point is the lack of daily and intensive sobriety management creates a vacuum and into that space rushes in….well, not that much. When you drink every night you don’t have the time or the energy to do very much else. Just think about how many nights you’ve wasted watching crap TV with a bottle of wine. How many hours have you wasted lying in bed with a hangover? Alcohol leaves you no time for anything else.
No time for hobbies, personal development, charitable work, career development, spending quality time with loved ones – all of the time you could have spent on improving your life has been taken up chasing oblivion.
Naturally, it makes sense that you might think your life is now totally boring. You are so out of the habit of making a good life for yourself that it can be quite hard to see what else you could be doing.
So here’s my tip – write yourself a letter. Write a letter to future you, one year from now. Write about all the things you’ve done in the last year as if it’s actually happened. Don’t edit yourself or limit your ideas. Just write a perfect and brilliant year and see what that looks like for you.
It’s critical that you have a vision, a plan and a future that you are excited about. Otherwise, for me, it’s just a waste of sobriety.
With love, Jules xxx
If you’re struggling with these questions and more, you can join me in our private space with your fellow Sobersistas. Check it out here.