'I’m Never Drinking Again': How Life Gets Better When You Mean It

by Carly Benson

We've all said it before, sometimes more than once. After nights of too much booze that lead to bad decisions, a hangover from hell and some wicked self-loathing, we often utter the words, "I’m never drinking again" — only to find ourselves right back at the bar shortly after.

The last time I said, "I'm never drinking again," I meant it, and I actually followed through with it.

As I approach my seventh year of sobriety, I’ve come to realize that living the sober life is drastically different than the life I used to live as an alcoholic bender extraordinaire.

Settling into a life of sobriety requires a lot of discipline and willpower, but the rewards, in my opinion, far outweigh the sacrifices.

If I told you there was a way to have more money, better sex, more meaningful relationships, increased health, a free anti-aging serum and new ways of having fun, you would say, "sign me up," right?

Transitioning from being the ringleader of the party scene to the master of movies on the couch isn’t for everyone; however, some of us either desperately need to make the switch or finally decide that drinking and partying isn’t all it’s cracked up to be.

Sobriety is currently on the rise as people begin to make better, healthier choices for themselves.

As the shift continues to happen for many people, a culture of its own begins to emerge. Sobriety isn’t as scary as everyone thinks.

Sober life definitely has its perks, and to be honest being sober is actually pretty cool. Here’s what happens when your declaration to never drink again becomes a reality:

More Meaningful Relationships And Better Sex

One of the biggest changes happens in the dating scene. Grabbing drinks no longer drives our dating lives. Instead, we tackle dating sans the buzz.

It takes a lot of guts, courage and a strong sense of what you really want, but this helps in the pursuit of finding someone who is actually a true fit instead of someone to just pass the time with.

We aren’t interested in substances unless it is a meaningful conversation and the only chemistry with which we are concerned is that which comes from natural pheromones rather than the beer goggles we used to heavily rely upon.

Gone are the days of alcohol-fueled causal sex, which lacks real connection. Sloppy sex is a thing of the past. And to be honest, it becomes nightmarish to sleep with someone who is hammered when you’re the sober person.

Sober people crave real intimacy and won’t — or should I say can’t — settle for less.

Sex becomes something we only enjoy if we are truly attracted the other person because anything less won't actually tickle our fancy (if you know what I mean).

Our dating and sex lives become richer with intimate connection as drunken rendezvous begin to lose their luster.

In short, for most people, sobriety creates a paradigm shift packed with more meaningful experiences that offer a new take on relationships.

Once sober people become comfortable in their skin and familiar with this territory, relationships and sex will take on a new level of pleasure across the board.

Increased Health And A Free Anti-Aging Serum

"Hangover" is no longer part of our vocabulary. This is something that should be glorified because it is pretty freaking glorious.

We rest better because we sleep without the toxins, bad decisions and restless nights of alcohol-infused slumber that used to weigh us down.

Another obvious benefit of going sober is that it doubles as one of the best weight-loss plans around that puts all other fad diets to shame.

Sober people lose weight because we don't consume those extra calories from throwing down drinks laced with sugar. Our waistlines shrink naturally when we stop feeding our love handles beer, wine and chocolate martinis.

We look younger and we feel younger. Our skin gets clearer. Our overall appearance, energy level and immune systems reap significant and positive change when we are free from all those toxins alcohol leaves behind.

People think I’m 10 years younger than I really am every time the topic of age comes up. I explain that’s what six plus years of alcohol-free living will do for a person.

Sobriety is better than Botox — and it comes at a fraction of the cost, my friends.

Furthermore, it feels damn good to wake up each day with a clear conscience. A vibrant mind and body make for a lifestyle that is all-around healthier.

Clearer thinking allows us to make better decisions, follow our intuitions and live our lives on a whole different level.

More Money In The Bank

Say goodbye to mornings where receipts come out of all pockets and corners of our wallets.

We don’t have to total up how much we spent the night before or check our bank accounts to see if we actually did, in fact, tip that bartender $100.

There is no more waking up to wonder, “How in the hell did I spend $250 last night?” with zero to show for it except a throbbing headache and a slight case of amnesia.

A sober person's bank account has never looked better. We can actually save and get ahead because our paychecks no longer fund our blackout escapades. Instead, the money piles up and we are able to spend it on things like nice dinners, travel and spa days.

We begin to see how much we spent on all those nights that turned into mornings, and while they may have been priceless in memories we struggle to remember, the money we spent on all of them could feed a small family.

Our financial landscape becomes something we begin to watch more closely as we realize how much more we can actually enjoy life with the extra cash flow.

Not only that, but we become the cheap date for family, friends and loved ones. Running up a tab and popping bottles is nowhere on our accounts any longer.

People enjoy how easy it is to please us. In fact, we surprise ourselves with how little we need to spend for a night out or to generally be happy. Less becomes so much more.

Huge dividends in our financial situations begin to surface when take that leap into sobriety. Forget Wall Street, sobriety is one of the best financial advisors you’ll ever find.

New Ways Of Having Fun

Sobriety frees up a lot of time to build new hobbies and experience life with new definitions of fun. Our ideas of relaxing or blowing off steam shift from bar hopping to hopping on a yoga mat or a treadmill.

We enjoy our downtime instead of running from it. Stress relief comes in the form of a good dinner, a sunset or spending the night couch surfing.

We are actually up before noon to venture outside and enjoy nature instead of staying in bed all day to nurse a hangover.

FOMO and YOLO become something we find ourselves laughing at because we know we aren’t actually missing anything.

The drama that comes from drunken nights out becomes something we only hear about instead of participate in. Our conversations with friends and family are of substance, not based around substances.

Gone are the days of seeing random bruises, horrible pictures of our drunken faces or finding phone numbers with names in our phones with zero recollection of who they are or where we met. Instead, we wake up to texts saying, “Thanks for driving me home last night.”

We get to chuckle at our friend’s drunk rants on Facebook. And, we actually know everyone in our phones without the need of a rating system or a location-tag word.

Fun is having a cop driving behind you without having your heart drop into your stomach. Fun is only having to apologize for leaving early instead of all the embarrassing things you said or did because you stayed too late.

Fun is having people respect you for your commitment. You become the reliable friend with the good advice.

I don’t know about you, but I’d rather be known as the friend with her head on straight than the hot mess any day.

Just think about the possibilities of actually following through on that ever-famous line, “I’m never drinking again.” Sober people get to swap that out for, “I never have hangovers.” I mean, can we say it again? “I never have hangovers.” Try that on for size.

I used to think I was cool because I could drink anyone under the table. Now I feel like the coolest kid on the block because I don’t need alcohol to have fun.

Sobriety puts you in a league of your own, and there is something to be said for being unique in a world full of people who just want to fit in.

Going against the grain instead of lighting a shot on fire is much more badass in my book.

When sobriety starts to soothe your soul in ways alcohol never could, you realize you’re on to something. There is that saying, “When you do things from your soul, people really dig that sh*t.”

While not everyone understands it, most people do really dig it when you say, “I don’t drink.” I’m often asked why I don’t drink. My answer is always because sober is the new cool, man.