Revisiting The Intentional Sobriety Experience

Today will be 6 weeks since I stopped drinking alcohol.  And “NO,” I didn’t join AA.  But I did decide to stop drinking for three months to see what it’s like to be a sober adult in social situations.

So far I’m finding that it’s boring.

  • First of all, there’s nothing to look forward to on the weekends.  [Oh Barkeep, I’ll have a cranberry juice, please.]
  • Plus there are no more sparks of creative thinking while inebriated.  [What to write, what to write… why can’t I think of something??!]
  • And, not to put too fine a point on this, there’s no way to politely tune-out the dull peoples when you’re sober.  [Dear lord, is that boring man still talking to me?]

• • •

My decision to be alcohol-free came about by accident.  On Labor Day afternoon as Zen-Den and I sat outside, drinking the last alcoholic beverages in the house, it occurred to me that I was *duh* sipping the last beer.

We were out of our staples, beer + bourbon + wine.

Z-D was leaving that week for his annual Canada camping trip with his friends, then he was traveling for work most of the rest of the month.

I realized that I’d be on my own most of the time in September, and in that moment it dawned on me this would be a great time to revisit the intentional sobriety experience, something I dabbled in for a few years, a decade ago.

Back then it was difficult for me.

• • •

At this point I’d love to tell you that I’m a better person because of my decision to not drink.  That I feel healthier and more alive.  Filled with clear thoughts and a strong connection to those people around me.

But I’m too sincere to lie like that.

Despite taking in fewer alcohol calories, I weigh the same as before.  So there’s no news of that front.

And despite being an introvert, I haven’t felt any social pressure to drink this time around, confirming that I don’t need alcohol to feel comfortable among the peoples of this world.

No, the only concrete change that I can see is financial.  That is, reduced grocery bills and smaller restaurant checks.  Nothing to sneeze at, but nothing of much spiritual significance either.

• • • 

Obviously I have 6 more weeks to go with Project Intentional Sobriety.  I don’t know how I’ll hold up under the upcoming plethora of social activities we’ve planned, but I’m thinking, based on what has unfolded so far, that I’ll do okay.

It might be that not drinking is no big deal for me.

Coming from the WASP-y family that I do, and begging their forgiveness here, I admit that the words above are about as close to an anathema as one can get.

But I said them and I mean them.

People change all the time, right?  So maybe, for at least these few months, I am a new Ally Bean.  Bored. With a bit more coin in my pocket. But happy that I’ve trusted my instincts to explore this way of living again.

For a while.

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Ally Bean

Observant. Creative. Humorous. Adaptable. Happy enough. Looking for the crumb of truth in the cookie of life.

27 thoughts on “Revisiting The Intentional Sobriety Experience”

  1. It was the headaches that forced me on the wagon. Seemed no matter what I drank, if I had more than a glass, the Migraine Fairy was sure to start stomping around in my head. I admit, I miss the giggly, “relaxed in any social situation” high but have decided to forgo social situations in favor of keeping the pain at bay. I too, am an introvert. Who needs people, right? lol. 😉

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    1. Satin Sheet Diva, I get what your saying. Tolerating the peoples is easier when you’ve had a drink or two. But avoiding the peoples works well too. It’s a balance all introverts have to find for themselves. We’ll see how I do as we get closer to the dreaded… holiday… season. 😉

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  2. I’m not much of a drinker so I’m not sure if I’d notice a difference. Can’t have more than 1 drink or I would be under a table in a fetal position (not a pretty look for an older woman). I do like that once in a while special treat. It’s like a liquid donut!

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    1. Kate, I come from a long line of people who can drink. It’s a WASP thing, you know? Years ago I felt awkward for not drinking when I was socializing, but now it’s a lark to be non-social when socializing. We’ll see how long this lasts.

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  3. I can’t remember if you commented on my last Boob Report, but I don’t find weekends boring at all. I look forward to adventures and eating out. I don’t miss alcohol, but never relied in the buzz to have a good time. In fact my loose tongue would occasionally get the best of me! Impulsivity and alcohol don’t mix. Ha!

    It takes a while to get used to not ordering alcohol when you are out and my friend ALWAYS comment. It is healthier in many ways because cancer.

    I gained weight last fall thinking I could eat dessert instead. My plates of pie were probably 4 times the calories. 🙂

    Good for you giving it up! I’ll be curious if you feel a difference in the next six weeks.

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    1. susie, I stumbled into Project Intentional Sobriety by chance, so this has been a bit of a lark. As an introvert I don’t drink to be the life of the party, but to survive the party. I know that some docs think drinking is healthy while others don’t. And I also realize that over the years what has been defined as moderate drinking has changed. So far, I’ve been underwhelmed by how little my life had changed since I gave up alcohol– but maybe at 3 months I’ll feel differently. We’ll see, won’t we?

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  4. Interesting that you’re doing this experiment. I wonder how you’ll feel at the end. Will you jump at the chance to have a drink? I don’t drink much, just an occasional glass of wine here and there. But I grew up in a” tea totaler” household. Looking forward to what happens to the end of this!

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    1. Beth, at this point it’s only after working in the yard or while attending a NFL game that I’ve thought [wistfully] about drinking a beer. Not missing wine with dinner at all. And as for bourbon, I drink it more in the winter so it’s off my radar at the moment. Can’t say for sure what’ll happen after 3 months, but thinking that sobriety might not be as big of a lifestyle change as I thought that it would be.

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  5. It’s worth exploring different ways of being. I quit drinking in my 20s for a decade or so since I saw some behaviors I didn’t like. It was a good thing to stop. When I started drinking again, well, I’d like to say I was more mature, but I think I just lost my taste for it. I have the occasional drink now and I cook with alcohol. Don’t like to be around drunk people but then I’m not that social. I, too, am curious about how you will feel in another six weeks.

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    1. Zazzy, I agree: try different ways of being. I did this personal challenge because there it was– and because I wanted to understand how much I depend on alcohol in my life to survive social situations and uncomfortable emotions. So far I’m not seeing much in the way of personal development or deeper awareness which makes me wonder if I’m missing something about myself OR if there’s nothing there to see. I’ll let you know in another 6 weeks.

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  6. I never drank a drop until I was 33. Sometimes, I wish I’d never started, as wine made me appreciate food/made me eat more/made me gain weight. But I’m happier. So there’s that.

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    1. Andra, if wine makes you happy, then wine is your friend, even if you two met later in life. I have to admit that I’m not missing wine at all, but beer… now that’s another thing entirely!

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  7. Sounds like a cool project to undertake. I don’t really drink enough to do something similar. Sometimes I’ll have a beer on the weekend, sometimes not. And on the rare social occasion I attend, I usually avoid drinking. As an introvert, my tongue gets tied enough. A few beers are bound to make that worse! 🙂

    Good luck!

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    1. Carrie, so far I’m finding that I don’t even think about drinks now that there are none in the house. And as for social events, I can’t avoid them but no one seems to care that I’m not drinking with them. Can’t help but wonder if that’ll change as we get into the holiday season & people want to force happiness on you! 😉

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  8. I like beer, although I have given it up at times for various reasons. I always adjust fine, but life is a little grayer, although I usually substitute sugary frappucinos for the booze. I have to have some way to treat myself, I’ve found. And unfortunately, it can’t be healthy like some carrot sticks. 🙂

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  9. I have been living the International Sobriety Experience since the day I was born. It’s certainly not for everyone, but I can’t imagine how much weirder I’d be if I drank…

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  10. I’ve given up alcohol several times in my life and for various reasons: pregnancies, migraines, meds, and a couple of times for An Experiment, like you. And, like you, it wasn’t particularly enlightening or…Difference-Making in any meaningful way.

    Excepting the health of my two fetuses, of course.

    My eldest is currently observing “OctSober”–or so he tells me. I am not joining him, feeling no inclination to go for any length of time without a glass or two of wine when I feel like it.

    Thanks for the term “Intentional Sobriety.” I’m passing it on to Jared, my son, who will be glad for the more lofty term.

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    1. nance, somehow I thought that I’d feel or sense some great transformation as a result of this experience, but so far no dice. Regardless, I’m going to continue on with Project Intentional Sobriety & report back here with my conclusions.

      I like the term Octsober. Clever kid.

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  11. I rarely drink because I have epilepsy and it doesn’t mix well but I like to order a glass when out with friends because I like the social ritual of it: everyone choosing the wine, everyone toasting, the discussion of the smell, the oohs and ahhs. Of course, I’m only having one sip but so often it’s about the camaraderie of it, isn’t it? Looking forward to hearing about the rest of your adventure!

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