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Sober July Is The New Dry January

I've decided to write this blog to explain a few recent tweets of mine. Because once again, what is a platform without being honest and open? But I don't do these blogs or posts or tweets for validation. I'm not looking for a reaction. I do it because I've always viewed my online presence as a digital scrapbook and I believe in authenticity. I do it because it's healing for me to write and I need an outlet as such. And if I can make someone else feel less alone, can entertain, can teach, or I can just be mindless content to distract from daily life, then I'm happy with that.

I have never participated in Dry January. I have a January birthday and there are usually just so many things going on that I've made up excuse after excuse. But Sober July is a month I've just created and fully sticking to. I have always had a complicated relationship with alcohol. I started drinking around 15 and quickly fell in love with the feeling. But I didn't start to see an issue until I started going to therapy at 17. I was diagnosed with Alcohol Use Disorder. Alcoholism is a street term and what we more commonly know the highest degree of the disorder.

AUD is similar to Autism where there is a spectrum of varying levels and degrees. I was never clear on which level I was at but I do know I did not have an addiction, I lacked control. I went off to college and stopped therapy due to scheduling reasons. But I tried to stick to the methods that I learned. I was supposed to set limits with myself, one drink at a pre game and three drinks out or vice versa. But how did that workout? I was considered a VIP at Liberty Tavern, drinking Lib Punches out of a pitcher with a straw. College makes you believe this is normal. "It's not alcoholism until you graduate" is a common phrase. Being able to open a beer at 5:30 AM on SantaCon and drink until 10 PM is considered legendary. I was that girl - I could handle it without getting sick and I was a life of the party type so why would anyone consider me to have a problem or be concerned?

I used to be able to drink and remember everything. I never blacked out, I never got sick, I never got a hangover. I used to brag about being 22 and no hangovers! But then 23 happened. I was paying for all my years of drinking and heavily.

I'm back in therapy now (with the same psychiatrist as 2014) and I feel way more in control than I have before. I know genetically that I am more at risk for certain addictions and alcohol consumption causing illnesses. Did you know that after a certain amount of consumption that alcohol does not break down the same and it starts to store a small percentage in your brain? You lose sober memory. You lose ability to concentrate and motivation. That is something I want to and will take very seriously since I've been made aware. Currently, I black out like a light switch after only a small number of drinks consumed. I feel extreme pain from hangovers. I've been known to embarrass myself from time to time without a recollection in the morning. I become very loud with too much alcohol and lose my emotional intelligence. I don't enjoy the drunk Clare that I become and I wish her to not come around often.

Sober July is my small step to living without needing or wanting substance. Specifically alcohol but I say sober instead of dry because this isn't a 'California sober' where I'm picking and choosing. I mean everything cut off from my body. I want to willingly and on my own, be sober for the pure joy of understanding myself. July is month filled with barbecues and concerts; it's got birthdays, weddings, and graduations. I want to enjoy these things without the dependency to drink. And to know that alcohol isn't the enemy, and neither am I, but moderation is a must and consistency with that is key.

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