An Open Letter to Sober-Curious People

The day before I quit drinking, I would have told you that I did not have a problem. I did not look like someone who had a problem. And yet, I wish someone (anyone) would have pulled me aside and confirmed what I knew deep down. My drinking was hurting me.

Ever since that morning of my last hangover ever, I have been committed to sobriety. Deeply. Every single day.

I also decided that part of my work in this lifetime is to tell others what I wish someone had told me. So, with that, here is my letter to you if you are questioning your drinking.

Dear Sober-Curious Person,

If you are curious about sobriety, this is for you. If you are managing or negotiating with yourself (or those around you) when it comes to your drinking, this is for you. If you have had the thought, even once, that maybe you need to stop, this is for you.

The first thing I want you to know is that you don’t have to hurt more than you already do. You don’t have to be in unimaginable pain in order to stop hurting yourself. You can just decide to stop hurting.

You don’t have to be more of a hot mess in order to be worthy of sobriety. You don’t need to be more of a trainwreck in order to “prove” that you need to get sober. Again, your life is your own. You get to just decide if you want to.

Sobriety isn’t better if you suffer more; you don’t need to “earn” a redemption arc through hurting yourself or messing up your life. It doesn’t have to be that dramatic. You can just stop hurting.

If you’re curious, that might be a sign.

If you’re working at managing it, that might be a sign.

If you’re reading about it or listening to podcasts about it or talking to friends about it, that might also be a sign.

And if you’re fighting to justify that I’m not talking to you, that might also be a sign.

The sign that you need to quit drinking doesn’t always come in the form of blackout binges. Your drinking might not be threatening your career or finances or relationships (now or ever). Maybe your sign comes from the dull shame of thinking to yourself, “Not again.”

Sobriety isn’t always light and easy. Some days it is a slog and you’ll wish you could just give up. Don’t. Because you are worth not being in pain.

You will still have fun. There will be parties. There will be celebrations and connection. You will still have your friends, your family, but most of all you will have yourself. And the people you lose along the way, who can’t stand that you are holding up a mirror to what they might also know deep down inside about themselves. Let them go if you need to. What you lose in sobriety isn’t always painless, especially if you’re holding on tightly. But what you gain is so much more meaningful.

Most of all, I want you to know that you can let go of regret and shame. You can forgive yourself for where you’ve been and find a new path forward that looks and feels rewarding and authentically you. You can find new things to think about, worry about, and practice in your life.

There is more for you. I am cheering you on so hard.

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