Top 10 Midlife Sobriety Questions Answered
I know where you are, you are questioning your drinking and wondering What will life be like if I don't drink? Your brain wants to tell you, you can't, you shouldn't, life will be boring and you will be left out.
To quit drinking is a commitment to yourself that happens in a span of a few minutes. Many women over 40 who I talk to think that it takes years to stop drinking; it doesn't.
Spending years in recovery and healing and connecting to who you are again; alcohol-free is the process of sobriety.
I want to tell you that I never thought I would adapt to being sober after drinking for thirty years. Alcohol was a big part of who I thought I was and what I thought I needed.
When you say, I'm going to quit drinking it's a scary place to be in. You are unsure of what to do and you are unsure of yourself and your belief that you will stick to your commitment. Now, you've committed, so what's next?
Please accept a virtual hug from me as I walk you through some of the answers to the questions I hear most from women just like you. I want to reassure you will be okay once you remove alcohol from your life, life will change, and that's a wonderful thing.
I wish that I had someone help me when I quit drinking on August 11, 2013, because I had the following questions just like you:
1. What happens when I quit drinking?
If you are at risk for detox, please get help before you quit drinking. There are so many different treatment options available to you to end the cycle of substance use disorder. SAMSHA is a great place to start.
I can share my experience with you when I quit.
At the end of my drinking, I was drinking two or more bottles of Chardonnay about 3-4 times a week. I did quit without seeking treatment, but again, this is my experience. I did not have withdrawals physically but I did mentally for quite a while.
When I quit, I turned to some of the holistic practices that I use in my coaching today; exercise, journaling, relaxation, and paying attention to myself.
It is important to know that no two women are the same when it comes to sobriety even though we all share one particular goal - to feel better and live a happier life.
2. I've drunk for decades, is it too late to quit?
It's never too late to quit drinking alcohol. Because you've been drinking for decades is the best reason to stop drinking in the middle of life. Your body is crying out for love and healing and attention as you age.
I want to give you extra reassurance that aging alcohol-free for me has opened up another life inside of a life. One that I never thought I would experience.
Envision the decade in front of you today. Do you picture yourself doing the same old thing year after year, or do you imagine yourself living life to the fullest, clear, and energetic, and present?
To tell yourself, it's too late is coming from fear and self-doubt. Lean into the fear and the self-doubt and take it 24-hours at a time. You can get and stay sober no matter your age, please don't give in to it's too late.
3. How do I know if I need to quit?
There is no one answer "fit's all" to this question; the answer is up to you. Chances are since you are reading this, you've probably been questioning your drinking for a while.
I believe that you need time to remove yourself from drinking before you have a definite answer. My certainty in getting sober came at about 90-days into sobriety.
For now, ask yourself the following (honestly):
- How can I keep going this way?
- How can I allow myself to miss out on life because of alcohol?
- How long am I going to feel this way before I do something about it?
- How much longer will I let my drinking interfere with my big goals and dreams?
Now, based on your answers, go with your gut instinct. Is your gut telling you it's time or is it telling you, you aren't ready yet?
Either way, the decision and choice to drink or quit are all up to you. You can do this; you just need to trust your gut.
4. I'm an extremely anxious person I use alcohol to relax. How can I relax and fall asleep without drinking?
Please try something else that is going to help you relax in replace of your nightly wine. Alcohol is a stimulant, and even though you may sleep at night, chances are you are not getting the deep sleep required for women over 40.
Alcohol tricks you into thinking many things, and relaxation is one of the biggest amongst women, especially as we age. Using drinking as the only way to relax is an excuse not to stop drinking.
To unwind at the end of the day, you can: unplug from all electronics and read a good novel, journal, meditate, chat with a family member over sleepy-time tea, take a gentle yoga class, or even do some strength training and light stretching.
Challenge yourself to step outside of your comfort zone with this one and find what works for you. Stick with it and allow yourself time to get back into a reliable sleep schedule without alcohol.
5. Isn't sobriety isolating?
Yes, sobriety can be isolating, but so can drinking. When you are overdrinking and erasing days from your life, you are isolating yourself.
When you are sober around friends and family who are drinking, you feel left out and not part of the "cool crowd."
If you are someone like myself who drank for many years on the couch, numbing out to Lifetime movies, that is isolation at another level. Even though there were other people present (at times), I was in my little fantasy world.
Isolation is not a good thing or a bad thing. Take a look at how you are viewing isolation in your drinking story and possibly as an excuse not to quit drinking.
I want to challenge you to look at isolation from drinking as a positive experience, one that helps you learn about yourself and what you want in life, unapologetically.
6. How do I tell people I'm not drinking anymore? I'm so ashamed that they're going to think that I have a "problem."
One of the top reasons women don't quit drinking and open up about their drinking is due to the stigma around alcoholism. I want you to put this in perspective with a fire inside of you: society says it's okay to drink and drink and drink some more until you have a "problem."
Once you have a problem, it is too shameful to talk about, so you need to keep quiet to make other people comfortable.
Can we take a minute and hold hands here? How f**ked up is this scenario that I laid out?
To feel shameful of anything that is stigma based in society is totally normal. To be addicted to a highly addicted substance such as Chardonnay is normal. To take a break or quit drinking is beyond normal.
If you feel shameful of it all, it's okay, just don't keep drinking because it's too scary to tell people you don't. I beg of you!
When I quit drinking, my friends and family were on a need-to-know basis. I didn't divulge anything until I knew for sure I could trust the person I was sharing with.
You don't need to follow anyone else's rules or plan when it comes to your drinking or not drinking, only your own.
7. I don't feel confident without drinking. How can I socialize?
Confidence comes from doing the things that you tell yourself you can't do or are too scared to try. Living life without alcohol as you age makes you a trailblazer. Trailblazers are full of fear but lead the charge towards a better way to live that doesn't include following the status quo.
When it comes to socializing sober, you will learn how freeing it is and how much better you feel about your relationships, conversations, and your memories.
8. What if I can't get sober and make it stick?
Ask yourself, what is the worst-case scenario here? Most of the time, the women I work with say people will know that I failed. Also, I will be successful, and then what?
The What If's of life are what hold you back from going after what you want. If you want to stop drinking and explore living without alcohol for good - you've gotta give yourself a chance!
Don't focus on what will happen if you don't, focus on what will happen if you do. Sobriety and recovery are personal - keep it to yourself and stay in your lane. What you are doing is hard and uncomfortable and life-changing; own-it!
9. What does it mean to live a Sober Lifestyle?
A Sober Lifestyle is one where you pay attention and nurture your mental and physical health vs. avoid yourself while you live life without alcohol.
I believe the foundation for living a long-term sober lifestyle is self-acceptance, self-compassion, release, connection, and (a whole lot of) self-care.
A Sober Lifestyle leads to transformation in all areas of your life.
You become happier, more confident in yourself, less worried, less regretful, and more at peace with your thoughts, feelings, and emotions.
A Sober Lifestyle does not limit you from having more; it makes it possible to have more than you ever thought you could.
10. What do you do as a Sober Coach?
As your coach, I know your pain and frustration, and I also know how to give you relief without wasting any more precious time. Every conversation we have is a reset to what is possible in your life.
I don't teach you how to quit drinking. I help you shift your thoughts, feel your feelings, and process your emotions on your own, alcohol-free.
We collaborate so that you reach your desired goals and vision for your life.
I support you, challenge you, and help you live a life you are proud of, that makes you feel alive and free forever from the vicious cycle of over-drinking.
if you are struggling with either getting sober or staying sober and you think that you can't do it, please think again.
It takes time to get to the other side of drinking alcohol whether you've been drinking for decades or just picked it up later in life.
Give yourself time and self-compassion, and know that you are worth the time that it takes.
If you have another question that you don't see here, please email me and ask!
I love hearing from you, and I appreciate your questions as they help me create more posts on topics you want to hear.
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