Welcome to the final part of Autostraddle’s Sober Series, a four-part candid conversation between members of the Autostraddle team on sobriety.
Dani Janae: I want to get your thoughts on how your life has improved since becoming sober.
Analyssa: I spend so much less energy thinking about mine and other people’s drinking! I used to just have this unending internal monologue about how much I was drinking and how fast and could I get another and was I getting drunk and should I eat more or less and will I blackout and will anyone take another shot.
Dani Janae: Totally! One of my big drinking memories is looking at a half-filled liter of wine and panicking because I was almost out! It’s so much better to not be living drink-to-drink anymore.
Tracy Levesque: The mental energy taken up by drinking (or attempting moderation) is absolutely exhausting. It’s something I love being gone now.
I love my life now. My wife and I have so much fun together (hangover-free sex is way better). I’m a much better parent. I feel generally better and more energetic. I do NOT miss drinking. Thinking about booze makes me think about hangovers and hating myself.
Analyssa: Big huge yes to no hangovers! And yeah, I’m a lot less self-absorbed, which included beating myself up for embarrassing shit I did while drinking (even thinking you’re the biggest loser in the world is very self-absorbed thinking!). I actually try to listen to people, and I care for and about others more. I can show up for people!
I’ve learned so much about my likes and interests and dislikes and boundaries. I’m in love, and it feels real and stable and not just like infatuation but a partnership built on work and understanding and trust. I’m feeling all sorts of feelings I simply ignored or ran from or decided not to feel during the years of my drinking.
And like, it’s not perfect. I’m still a procrastinator, and I still get so irritable or short-tempered, and I still sleep in late any chance I get. And I now just get to know that that’s me and not booze.
I’m feeling all sorts of feelings that I simply ignored or ran from or decided not to feel during the years of my drinking.
Dani Janae: I love that sober sex is so much better for me. Even masturbating is better. When I do date I’m WAYYY less obsessive, like I’m not waiting by the phone all day and thinking about the other person nonstop. I have more time for stuff I care about, like my brothers, my niece, writing, and reading.
A funny thing I used to do while drinking is think to myself about all the things I deserved while never putting in the work. I do put in work now, and I have a great life because of it. I used to be like “Autostraddle should hire me!” But I’d never apply or even pitch lol — now look at me!
Analyssa: I couldn’t have done the pandemic or this most recent work stress while drinking without running my life into the ground, I know it, and I’m thankful every day I didn’t have to do that.
Or reading something and thinking “I could write that!” But simply never writing…that was me.
Tracy Levesque: Well, I tried to do that for you haha.
Analyssa: I was so scared of sober sex, but yes!! Love it, so much.
Tracy Levesque: So much better!
Dani Janae: Also, I feel so in touch with what I’m feeling for the first time. Like I can actually tell when I’m depressed or angry instead of drinking through any negative emotion.
Analyssa: And I can tell which emotions need tending to versus which will pass? This ties together what Tracy said about alcohol being gasoline, and Dani, what you said about obsessing in dating but when I was drinking any perceived slight could spiral into a HUGE ordeal rather than being able to acknowledge it and meet it at the level it actually required.
Tracy Levesque: When we hit six months, my wife said to me: “That’s a first since you were a teenager.” And she’s right. I haven’t known myself alcohol-free for multiple months in a row since I was essentially a kid. So it’s like getting to know the real you.
Analyssa: Yes!!! I had the same thing at six months. It was the longest I’d not drank since I was 15.
I remember another sober person I met once told me a story of after she stopped drinking, going to the grocery store to buy toilet paper and realizing she had no idea what brand she liked. Because she just hadn’t cared for years about things like that. And I sort of laughed, and she was like yeah, it’s extremely silly but also it’s amazing — now I know all my favorite brands of things. And I love that and think about it all the time.
Tracy Levesque: That’s awesome, I love that.
I love that sober sex is so much better for me. Even masturbating is better.
Dani Janae: When I got diagnosed as bipolar and put on meds, my psychiatrist was like “now you can start getting to know the real you,” and I owe a lot of that to getting sober and realizing there was something happening with me.
Analyssa: It allows so much more honest connection with yourself!
Tracy Levesque: Y’all are making me emotional lol.
Analyssa: This whole thing has truly made my week wow.
Tracy Levesque: Me too, I was really looking forward to it. Besides my wife, I don’t really have anyone else to talk to about it.
Dani Janae: Lol omg me too! It’s just such a better life, at least for me. When I was weeks in, I cried about missing alcohol. Now I feel so free being away from it.
Thank you so much for doing this with me!!
Analyssa: Oh, I was the surliest bitch alive a few weeks in, even a few months in. I felt like there was this huge loss in my life and like the horizon of a life without alcohol was just endlessly stretched before me. And now, I simply could not be happier that that’s the case.