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Finding joy in Sobriety

A mountain on a wooden chip with the text "one thousand sober sunsets."

By Kyra Tolley

Staff Writer

Last week I hit 1,000 days of sobriety. 

There is a short list of reasons why I used to drink. It was mainly for the social benefits and the momentary relaxation that came with lowered inhibitions. 

But there is a longer and more important list of reasons why I quit. 

One of those reasons is I didn’t feel like myself anymore. 

When I was younger, I thought I was funnier, more outgoing, and more exciting to be around if I had alcohol in my system. It made me feel more confident in myself during social situations that I typically would have felt insecure in. 

Yet I still didn’t feel sure about who I was. 

I realized I had to overcome my fear of being boring in order to better myself. 

I couldn’t justify continuing to drink when I knew how much it drained me and brought negativity into my life. 

Once I quit drinking, my mental health drastically improved, and nobody ever made me feel bad about it. 

The social side effects I had built up in my brain were all self-inflicted and once I committed to sobriety, everyone around me did nothing but lift me up. 

I’m fortunate enough to have been in a position where I didn’t need to go to treatment to become sober, but there’s no shame at all in doing that.

Don’t get me wrong though, it was hard at first. 

Sometimes it still is.

As a girl in her 20s, it’s normal to go out to parties and bars with friends on various nights throughout the week. There is a bit of pressure to fit in that comes with that. 

For me, I didn’t want to be the only sober person at the party or the only girl drinking soda at the bar while everyone else started to relax the more they drank. 

It wasn’t until I was sober for a while that I figured out when people are drunk, they really couldn’t care less if you are drinking Coke instead of a White Claw. 

My friends have even gone out of their way to buy me soda when we go out together to make me feel welcomed and safe. 

For my birthday, my friends and I had a mocktail party where everybody participated in sobriety with me. We had alcohol-free drinks that definitely tasted better than any cocktail you could think of. 

It made me feel so included and cared for. It was some of the most fun I’ve had and I didn’t need to be intoxicated to feel that kind of excitement. 

It was an incredible feeling that I will cherish forever. 

That day reminds me of why I decided to be sober in the first place because I finally felt like myself and was surrounded by the people I love the most. 

When I started, it wasn’t so clear. At first, it took a few tries of being interested, but for a while, I wasn’t quite ready to fully commit. Someone once called me “sober curious” which is a trend for young people in the U.S. these days.

Being sober curious is all about reflecting on your mental and physical health when you consider drinking alcohol. That can then help you make decisions about your relationship with alcohol and if you want to continue consuming it. 

Whenever I mention my sobriety to someone, they are typically very impressed. Sometimes they reply with “I wish I could do that, too.”

I always tell them if they are willing, they can become sober like me. With the proper resources, help, and support, sobriety is well within reach for many college students. 

In fact, a poll conducted by Gallup said the percentage of young adults who drink alcohol has decreased by 10% in the last two decades.

I strongly encourage any college student who has second thoughts about drinking to consider trying out sobriety for however long makes them comfortable. It could be life changing like it was for me. 

Even though it has been a while since my last drink, I haven’t forgotten about the girl I was before my sobriety began. She was sad and just wanted to feel better. 

But today, I couldn’t be happier. I’ve never felt healthier in my entire life and have zero regrets about my choice to completely ditch alcohol. 

Being sober is the best decision I’ve ever made and I think it could be yours, too.


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