The Sober Truth
When you tell people you’re sober, you might receive a lot of questions (and a lot of perceptions). So here, hello world - I am sober.
However, when I refer to myself as sober, I mean I intentionally abstain from alcohol. I am taking an indefinite break. I don’t have any agenda, but I knew it wasn’t serving my body or soul to drink every day. I found myself getting into situations that would later make me uncomfortable and I was blacking out almost every time I had alcohol, even if I only had a few drinks. So on January 1, 2021 I decided to start my departure from booze.
However my relationship with weed was a lot different. While alcohol was a steady pour, weed waved in and out of the picture. I created this self-limiting theory that I could only smoke herb if I was really drunk, so I wouldn’t feel paranoid. In my head it made total sense, but even with alcohol I was feeling extremely anxious.
After I stopped drinking, I created a new process around consuming cannabis. I didn’t want it to inherently replace drinking (I didn’t want anything to replace that in fact). I wanted to reimagine my relationship with weed. I wanted to have boundaries. I wanted joy to be at the forefront. I wanted pleasure to be present. And with a new mindset and parameters, I got exactly what I wanted.
I was also really pleased to see that without alcohol in the picture my anxiety reduced DRASTICALLY, and with that my anxiety while smoking also diminished. I also found in my experience that because I wasn’t drunk while consuming cannabis, I could be very intentional about the dosage and rate of consumption. I felt that I gained control back.
New Found Priorities
I understand how people look at smoking marijuana as a replacement to alcohol, and I am fine if that is your perception of me. But this feels different to me. I found a balance: where I could work my day job and pursue my writing dreams on the side, all while scheduling in joyous dance sessions, boisterous rips of my trusty bong, plenty of sleep, exploratory writing sessions, self-pleasure alone time, and anything else I desired.
After quitting alcohol, I never wanted to be blacked out to feel joy. I wanted the experience to be heightened and present. I now prioritize joy and pleasure on a daily basis. I became disciplined and created structure. I never smoke myself out of responsibility. I indulge, I relax, and I let myself be - and everything happens exactly the way it’s supposed to.
Now I am pursuing my dreams of sharing my stories and working with other people to find balance in their lives and livelihoods.
However, smoking weed is not always a good idea for folks who abstain from alcohol. For some, the best thing you can do is to completely cut all drugs out of your life. I respect and understand that perspective. With any process in your life, make the choices based on your own needs and experiences.
New to alcohol-free life/sober curious?
If you quit drinking alcohol, take some time to create boundaries and rules around the practice. You can even create a positive ritual around it. For example, I have a ritual of waking up earlier on Saturday mornings, smoking a bowl (I love to wake and bake!), making myself tea, working on writing pieces, and going for a walk. I then let myself rest and/or spend time with friends.
Carve out time for regular tolerance breaks
They can be for various amounts of time, anywhere from a day to a month+. I think a good rule of thumb is creating a schedule around taking T breaks. Every few weeks I like to do 2 days. I actually plan on doing a three week tolerance break soon, to really reset myself.
Radical Self-Acceptance is Major Key
Weed has helped me with my process of self-imposed perfectionism. It makes me messy in a very artistic way. I’m not going out and hurting anyone else. Often, I am putting myself out there, on the page, in a very intimate way. I love who I am when I am high. And I love who I am when I am sober. I accept all iterations of who I was, who I am, and who I am becoming. Self-acceptance, of the radical variety, feels very against the grain of what we were told growing up.
Jenna Borrelli is a writer and creative coach from Chicago, Illinois. She has seen firsthand the transformative benefits of incorporating cannabis into her life. She loves supporting others as they learn to lean into their natural ebb and flow, all while practicing radical self-acceptance.