When I was in culinary school, every few months, a class was held at the hotel our department ran. It was a class for people who had DUIs (driving under the influence tickets) and attempted to help them get sober. Each day, we’d see them come in with this gallon cups filled with coffee. The culinary students, myself included, used to make fun of how they just kept drinking coffee like there was no tomorrow.

I am now two months into being alcohol free, and I completely get it now. For the students in that DUI class, it was a way to cope. It wasn’t necessarily that they wanted coffee, they needed something for their hands to do, something for their mouths to drink. They needed something a substitute for alcohol. I’ve opted for sparkling water, coffee, baked goods and making crafts. I’ve made enough crafts that I’ve reopened my Etsy shop, Perfectly Imperfect Jewelry Designs .

You know what I miss the most about alcohol?

I miss not dealing my my emotions and the worries of the day. It is so much easier to wash down anger, fear and other things with a cold beer or glass of wine. But then, you wake up the next morning and the problems are still there, plus maybe a hangover.

I don’t miss hangovers or being more angry at myself the next day because I let alcohol dictate my evening.

I also miss having something to do — it was mostly drinking and mindless eating — after I got off work. That used to be time with my family. Sure they were drunk times, but we watched movies and did stuff together.

I really, REALLY miss the carbs that come in alcohol. I’ve been making or buying sweet things — mostly baked goods — in order to help curb my incessant need for carbs. I wish I could say its going well. I’m not drinking, but all these sweets aren’t exactly helping my waistline.

My favorite drink of the moment — coffee poured over ice cream. In this case it’s Chocolate mint ice cream so I get a mint mocha with melty chocolate chips at the end. *drool*
My favorite sweetness hack is to put ice cream in my coffee cup and pour coffee over it. It’s hot and humid were I live, so having a cool version of my daily cup of coffee is divine. I also eat semi-frozen pieces of fruit with some nuts, chia seeds and flax seeds sprinkled on top. The cold fruit, but makes the heat and humidity a little bit more bearable.

I don’t stay up much after working night shift anymore. I just go to bed. But if I get off early, it feels weird to not have anything in my hand as we watch Anthony Bourdain reruns or whatever YouTube video my husband’s watching. So again, I craft or just mess around on my phone.

It also sucks that so many life experiences have an alcohol component  to them. After some races, there’s a beer garden set up, or heck even runs through vineyards. I’ll stick to the water and Kool-Aid tasting Gatorade, thanks. But I’m sorry, Gatorade sucks. I like chocolate milk after my runs.

There’s Wine Wednesday. Facebook posts of moms needing alcohol after a hard day. Painting and yoga sessions with wine. Beer-tastings at the farmer’s market. Shirts that tout alcohol as the best reward for exercise and any other activity.

Everywhere, there seems to be a message to drink alcohol. As someone who can’t stop at one or two drinks, it’s a challenge to focus on staying sober. The world tells you that’s drinking is OK after your body tells you that it wasn’t.

I tried some non-alcoholic beer made in Germany a few weeks ago. Like it’s counterpart — real beer — I didn’t do so well in limiting myself to one bottle a night. I think the taste just triggered something in me.

Sparkling waters, well, most of them suck. Some tasty like bubbly Kool-Aid. Others are like water with bubbles and no taste.. When I buy cranberry, raspberry flavored-sparkling water, I want to taste cranberry and raspberry, not tonic water with a minimal fruity aftertaste.

I think as you make a transition into sobriety, you pay more attention to the messages and what’s out there in order to avoid it.

One think I can’t avoid, is trying to keep this going.

To track of my sobriety, I use an app called Nomo. It’s free and occasionally you’ll get messages from the creator asking you to financially support the app. Nomo works on a chip system. You get a chip for each milestone — making it one day, 48 hours, a week, a month. two months, etc.

If you falter, you can reset the counter. It tracks your resets and how much money you’ve saved. Since starting to use the app in March, I have about 12 resets. I’ve saved about $300, although I have used a lot of that to test sparkling waters.

I want a drink sometimes still, but I know that alcohol won’t help my situation.

I am giving myself permission to ride this sobriety train out and letting things fall as they may this upcoming year. I know other have gained weight their first year of sobriety, so if that happens, so be it. If I get cranky and fall into a rabbit’s hole of my own mind’s making, I will recover with a clear head.

I’ve been under alcohol’s spell for about the same amount of time as I have been sober. It’s going to take some getting use to this.

I think the biggest impact has been realizing: How did I expect my kids to be calm and not so … frustrating … when as an adult I couldn’t do it?

Mind you, I can count the times I got totally wasted on my hands, and did take three pregnancies off of drinking. But almost every night for 21 years, I had to have something to take the edge off. If we didn’t have anything at the house to do that, I was mad about it, like the rest of the day was ruined.

This revelation has led to some reconnecting at my house. So far, this has been a good thing.

It’s a journey I wouldn’t have taken if I hadn’t done other positive things in my life. Team Red, White and Blue made be want to be a better person. My kids wanted me to be a better mom. My husband wanted me to be like I was before alcohol and life made me what they did.

I finally believed at some point that I could be better and could do what needed to be done.

I’m nowhere near done with this journey as it’s a constant struggle. But I’m further along than I was several months ago. That’s a big victory for me.