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On Sobriety, my story
First half-year anniversary reflections
Hello, dear reader,
It has been six months since I stopped drinking alcoholic beverages (and liquids containing calories in general). I thought it would be a good time to write about my experience.
For me, this topic was simultaneously out in the open and somewhat undercover. It's still uncertain whether I'll ever decide to drink alcohol again; there are no strict prohibitions. But for now, I'd like to share my journey and experiences.
What was my usual behavior regarding alcohol?
I have to admit that I love the taste of certain drinks – bitter beers, sour ales, dry wines, ciders, and single malt whiskeys. I appreciate their complex flavors, the tingling sensation on my tongue, and the warmth in my throat. I'm drawn to small-batch productions, intriguing backstories, and an overall air of mystique.
There were times when I enjoyed the wildness that alcohol could bring, whether at a metal concert, a music festival, or a lively gathering with friends. I'll leave the tales of the crazy things I did during those times in the annals of history.
But why did I decide to stop when it was so much fun?
Well, we arrived in Turkey in November 2022, and in just five months, I started feeling uncomfortably overweight. I also noticed an increasing craving for beer by the end of the day. Please consider this as a vulnerable and intimate account of my journey, one that brings me closer to self-love, self-respect, and the joy of being alive in my own body. This is not a scientific statement, advice, or a call to action; it's simply my perspective on my life.
This feeling of discomfort came with an additional six kilos. The delicious Turkish bakery, generous amounts of olive oil, large restaurant portions, daily beers, and the stress of the immigration process all contributed. I also began feeling terrible in the mornings after even a small amount of alcohol the previous evening. My head would spin, my mouth would taste sour, and my thinking would become foggy. It just wasn't worth it, given the price I was paying.
After we moved, I quit my job to focus on being a full-time mother because there was no daycare for Lukas in Turunç. If you're familiar with the demands of catering to a 6-year-old 24/7, you'll understand that, by the evening, one might seek some form of blissful escape. For me, that escape was alcohol.
Around this time, I learned that my friend Natasha was taking a nutrition course and was achieving success with it while enjoying delicious foods and shedding unnecessary weight. I asked her about the next course start date, and to my surprise, it was only five days away. I saw it as a sign. I also discovered that the course required participants to commit to abstaining from alcohol during its duration. The reasoning was that a) alcohol contains a significant amount of calories, and b) for most people, controlling food intake becomes more challenging after drinking. I was hesitant because beer had been my solace at the end of days filled with parenting, anxiety, immigration experiences, and doomscrolling. However, my discomfort in my own body was intensifying with the onset of summer, and in a climate where people wear less clothing, I felt increasingly self-conscious. So, I decided to give it a try.
I won't delve into the course too much because it primarily served as my entry point into abstaining from alcohol.
I realized just how accustomed I had become to daily alcohol consumption over many years. University years? Absolutely! Working backstage at metal gigs? Of course. Working in advertising agencies? Google "99 francs"; we did it all. I had visited Turkey twice before our move, but I barely remember the names of the places because these were corporate alcohol-soaked events. During the one of those trips, by the end of the second day, we had depleted the hotel's entire alcohol supply. It was fun back then, but we were probably the type of tourists that hotel staff dream of bidding farewell to. Now that I know a lot of people who work in hotels, I feel disgusted by how we behaved back then. Parenthood also provides wide opportunities for regular beverage intake, but I won't even begin to discuss that here.
Anyway, let's return to the present moment. How am I doing now?
Now, approximately six months have passed since I stopped drinking alcohol. I was afraid that I wouldn't be able to join my friends at bars, that it would be challenging to find suitable beverages during social events, that I would miss the taste of beer or wine, and that I would have no way to shake off anxiety. I also worried that it would be excruciating to live in a touristy seaside village during the summer when everyone starts drinking at 11 am. None of these did happen. Initially, it was challenging to break the habit itself and be the one sipping tea or cola zero at the bar, but there was tremendous support, and no one mocked me. I explained my situation a few times, and it was perfectly okay.
I believe that facing the challenges of leaving Turunç sober brought me more clarity and the opportunity to witness a week of breathtaking sunrises. I was able to face the whole swing of emotions and live through them fully. Additionally, we now have a beautiful album featuring portraits of all our Turunç friends. Is that a significant achievement? I believe it is.
The album lives HERE if you haven’t seen it yet.
I definitely feel a sense of creative freedom and greater clarity.
What's the plan?
There's no plan. I've simply fallen out of the habit of consuming alcohol, and I've achieved my goal. The extra weight has also vanished. I won't lie; I occasionally have cravings, but they are manageable and don't affect my mood.
I may provide an update on my progress at my one-year anniversary or later. Perhaps this will become a way of life for me, or maybe not. It's difficult to make long-term plans in the current circumstances.
We all struggle with something, and I wanted to share my story so that you could read it and perhaps find a connection with other stories or make it a part of your own. After all, we are storytelling creatures, aren't we?
Thank you for reading,
PS: I don’t really have any links or advicces to accompany this dispatch, so I will leave some stuff that got my attention lately for the next one.
PPS: I notices that when you receive my letters you have a note down below that says you can pledge me money to support my writing, please don’t. I appreciate Substack desire for authors to earn, but I won’t have a chance to access these money. I will establish a tipping/membership thing soon, and will let you know. Also these writings will be forever for free.
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