Has it been hard for me? Not really. It hasn't been the "one day at a time" struggle that it perhaps could have been.
Do I miss it? Sometimes, sure. Especially wine. I'll admit to taking a whiff of someone's glass if they're having one while they're with me.
How do I feel? Good (and pregnant, of course). It took awhile, making it difficult to say if it's the absence of alcohol or my current hormonal balance or something else that caused it, but I almost never have headaches any more. When I was still drinking, I would almost never wake up completely clear-headed, even days and weeks after having imbibed.
So why did I choose to teetotal? Personally (because it's a personal decision), I didn't get much satisfaction from limiting myself to what's generally regarded as safe. Mind you, I didn't often get wasted, but a single glass of wine rarely did it for me. I preferred a whole bottle. Trust me, I see the cause for concern here. At a doctor's appointment a couple years ago, my general practitioner actually told me to watch my alcohol intake after I disclosed how much I drank and doctor's don't always ask or discuss this. Naturally, I started to track how many drinks per day and per week I was having in order to stay within her recommended limits. And I rewarded my exemplary behavior by indulging another vice: scratch tickets. But I digress. Even in my thirteenth month of sobriety, I have legitimate concerns that I have some level of alcohol dependence and/or poor impulse control, and I know that it's better for me (and baby) if I just don't have any. Will I never ever have another pisco sour or cabernet sauvignon? I'm not sure. I think forever is a long time to deprive myself of something I enjoy. Even as I near the end of this pregnancy, I still have the breastfeeding period and my new role as a mother and perhaps another pregnancy to consider with regards to alcohol (more blog material to come!). I'm leaning towards limiting myself to drinking alcohol (responsibly) only on special occasions in the future. But then what constitutes a special occasion? Weddings, anniversaries, birthdays, book club? I guess it seems that I am living my own version of one day at a time after all.
Meanwhile, there are other benefits to not drinking alcohol that should be noted. This first benefit comes as no surprise: I've saved a lot of money by not drinking alcohol. And I save even more when I don't buy scratch tickets! I'd love to say that I've saved every dollar that I would have spent on fancy drinks and put it into a college fund for baby girl, but that's not really why I gave it up and I think that would have given too much importance to the vice. Rather, I guess I've mostly spent it on putting better things into my body like organic vegetables and grass-fed meats. And then there's the social aspect. Some will argue that there are certain situations where it's preferable to be tipsy and not have full control of one's mental faculties. I understand where this idea comes from, but I tend to disagree. Even when I anticipate awkward or challenging situations, I prefer to maintain awareness of my surroundings. I'd also argue that you don't have to be sober for a year in order to realize that alcohol is often a major culprit in making many situations awkward, challenging, and unpleasant in the first place. In addition to the money I've saved, I've also saved myself a lot of grief.
So that's my story and I'm sticking to it ... for now. I don't anticipate giving up alcohol forever, but who knows when I'll feel the time is right. Thanks for reading and if you have any comments or your own story you're willing to share, please do.