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  • Writer's pictureEmil Tiedemann

My Year of Sobriety

By Emil Tiedemann

I'll be the first to admit that I thought that going an entire year without a drop of alcohol was IMPOSSIBLE! That's what I thought, at least, at the very beginning of 2023, when even "Dry January" seemed an uphill climb. However, something clicked one late February morning last year, when out of the blue I decided that I wanted to take a break from booze...a long break. One year, to be exact.

At the risk of doth protesting too much, alcohol has never been a problem in my life, although it certainly has been for others close to me, and continues to be for millions of people around the world. But that doesn't mean that it's never had negative affects on my physical and probably mental health from time to time, probably like most people who would consider themselves casual or social drinkers.

So then why would I give up the joy of dark rums, sweet liqueurs, and Old Fashioned's?! To spare you from repeating myself, you can read about that in my original post from one year ago today, if you're interested.

The question I get asked more often, however, is: Have you noticed any difference? The answer to that is a bit complicated, I think; because, to be honest, I haven't noticed that much difference going from being a social drinker to being completely sober for one full year.

Considering that I've been a social drinker for more than 25 years, I would have expected something more profound. Perhaps it just means the level of drinking I did prior to this challenge simply wasn't enough to trigger any significant changes in how I felt.

That's not to say that I haven't noticed any differences. There's nothing better than never waking up with a hangover, or even any resemblance of a hangover. I feel better about myself and have more confidence, and I've discovered just how much control I have over something as addictive and potentially toxic as alcohol. I saved hundreds of dollars in bar tabs and liquor store purchases, and avoided any of those side effects caused by drinking alcohol, some of which can cause long-term harm. Oh, and not worrying about how I'm going to get home after a night of drinking was a welcome change!

Perhaps most importantly, I hope that I may have inspired someone even just a little bit...maybe someone who has been thinking about making a change in their lives. Just one person, and that makes all the difference.

Now that my 365-day sobriety challenge has come to an end, the next question is: Will I continue this challenge or return to my old ways? I've thought a lot about this question over the last several months, and have settled on something in between. I do enjoy alcohol and I have never believed it to be a real problem in my life, especially since I've reached my 40s. It's a nice stimulant when you "need" it, or a way to relax into a nice conversation or cap off a night at the end of a long week.

However, I have no intentions of ever getting totally wasted ever again, and I would like to reduce the amount of alcohol I consume both at home and when I go out. I don't need it. In fact, this challenge has confirmed that alcohol simply isn't necessary to have a good time when I go out with friends or family. It all comes down to balance, whatever that means to you.

I feel like I can now have the perfect balance when it comes to my relationship with alcohol, and I hope that I may have helped at least one other person seek to find their own healthy balance as well. Bottoms up!


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