A Top 10 to celebrate two years sober

Thank you to this swan for sharing how good sober feels after two years.
My two year soberversary takes place on Tuesday and knowing I have a busy start to the week work and family wise I thought I would take the time now to write something about this milestone.
I love a list, it must be the planner/organiser in me, so have prepared a top 10 of things that are better now I don’t drink. I have indulged a bit recently in some self pity and “fear of missing out” and I know those feelings can dominate many of our minds, so in my spirit of thinking positively and rejoicing in the good things, I thought an upbeat list would be better. Well here goes:
1. I never have a hangover.
Wow that feeling of waking up and feeling normal just never gets old and I love the fact that in the last two years I have never woken up feeling nauseous, with a throbbing head and dry mouth.
2. My skin and hair are in tip top condition.
I get compliments quite often about how good my skin is and how shiny my hair is. I don’t have a massively expensive or complicated beauty regime and eat relatively well, just a normal balanced diet ( with quite a bit of chocolate) but my skin and hair are the best they have been since I was a teenager. It has got to be down to the lack of alcohol.
3. My weight is stable.
I do have a sweet tooth and eat more sugar than I should. However, I maintain a stable weight and although would like to lose half a stone, I don’t find it as hard to maintain my weight now I am not necking a bottle of wine or two a night.
4. I am brainier!
Yes I know that sounds a bit daft, but since stopping drinking I feel so much sharper mentally and can work harder and achieve so much more. I just feel so much more on the ball.
5. I have more money.
Well not spending upwards of £5000 a year on booze means my husband and I can spend more money on other things we like doing such as family holidays and we even bought a blow up canoe this summer.
6. I am rarely ill.
Yes I am touching wood as I write this () but since stopping drinking I can’t remember the last time I was properly ill. Yes I have had the odd cold and migraine, but I can definitely say I feel a lot healthier. I also don’t have to panic every time I read something linking cancer or Alzheimer’s to drinking.
7. My teeth are in much better condition.
During my last trip to the dentist, I was told my teeth are in much better condition than they were previously and whatever I was doing, to keep it up. I guess the alcohol I used to pour in my mouth each day does your teeth no good as well as sometimes forgetting to brush them as I passed out rather than got ready for bed.
8. I feel free.
I didn’t realise how much alcohol shackles you and ends up making so many decisions for you, until you become free of it. I now don’t have to worry about who is driving, do we have enough drink in, what if I am the one drinking the most, have we booked somewhere for our holiday that is within walking distance of a restaurant, how will I get through this certain day with a hangover etc etc.
9. I am much less anxious.

I still do suffer from the blues and anxiety at times but it is so much better now I don’t drink. I don’t have the 4am strike of fear, where I worry about what I said, who I talked to, did I make an idiot of myself and think oh god why did I drink so much, I hate myself etc. Life isn’t suddenly brilliant, crappy things still happen and sometimes I let negativity way too heavily in my mind, but it is so much easier to kick myself out of it now I am sober.
10. I know I can do anything I want to.
I stopped drinking after a many years of drinking more and more as did my husband. If you knew us prior to late 2013 we were the couple you would have said were least likely to become tee-total, ever! Friends used to joke about having liver transplants after a weekend at our house and we were daily drinking to dangerous levels. I never thought I could be happy and never drink and I never thought I could just not drink, but I can and I did. So really I can do anything I set my mind to – even if I need to remind myself of that fact every now and then.
So two years on, stopping drinking is the best decision I ever made. It is so much worth persevering through the early days and weeks and looking back they were not as hard as I thought they would be. No it wasn’t all plain sailing, sometimes it seemed hard and unfair but in retrospect I have been through worse and survived. Stopping drinking was the kindest act I have ever shown myself and being kind to yourself is as I have learned one of the most important things you can do. Thank-you for listening.

104 weeks or 730 days

First posted April 4th by Rachel Black
Two Years Sober
Today I am 2 years sober.
104 weeks
730 days
many many hours, depending on how you count your sober time.
Either way, it represents a lot of wine I have not consumed: at my last pace this would be at least 500 bottles of wine and that’s only allowing for 5 per week! No extra at the weekend or other occasions deemed ‘special’ in some way or other.
500 bottles of wine! Picture that in your recycling bin for a moment, the image seems much more significant than merely saying two years!
I haven’t mentioned the date at home. My OH would not realise, ask, wonder, nor find it in any way relevant, so I quietly congratulate myself on my achievement, remembering how hard it was to stop drinking and how much harder it was even to decide to do so.
Did I celebrate? Yes and no. There has been no widespread marking of the occasion but I have gifted myself two identical, new beads for my charm bracelet. They’re fairly plain: white, with little metallic shiny details. Simple yet elegant, with no resemblance to a drink, a glass, a bottle of wine,  or memories of those things. I love them: they are totally my style, my choosing and I know exactly what they represent.
I’m surprised at how two years with no alcohol seems to be both a massive deal and a non event at the same time. Not drinking alcohol is a big part of my life because… it does not feature in any aspect of it. Further, as time passes it no longer features in my thoughts and does not often make it onto my day to day radar.
The ‘challenges’ are no longer challenging. The organising and planning no longer required. Things, stuff,  life, just happens and do so without booze by default. That’s just the way things are now. I firmly believe there is no option (for me) and I’m pleased by that. I don’t actually want any option: any choices to make or consequences to consider. I honestly would not now have a glass of wine even if you told me I could and that I would stop at that one. I don’t see the point any more. It would not enhance my life. I can see through the smokescreen to the hype and the myths that having a drink or getting drunk is fun. A quick flick around my facebook friends any day of the week confirms I am right. Tales of woe, regret, embarrassment, shame. Apologies for being vodka fuelled monsters and offers of amends that will be made, while knowing deep down, that whatever has happened cannot be changed.
I feel lucky to have learned this lesson and the one that follows: that the future can be changed and none of us are helpless to make the changes we truly want badly enough.
In my life, alcohol is almost like a massive storm, a tornado even, whipping up chaos and destruction in its pathway with me tightly sucked into its vortex. The devastation so significant my life cleaved into two parts; before and after.
For many years I stayed there, within its boundaries and control, feeling unable to escape its complex distortion until I saw the solution was not to try to control the uncontrollable, but to remove it completely from my life. Remove any role it had, remove the fuel from the fire and wait for the storm to die down.
It did.
I can see it so clearly now, and believe me when I say, there is no-one more surprised by this than me.
Read more about this on my blog here