I Got Sober — And Had These 8 Life Epiphanies

Sobriety is not where I expected to see myself, ever.

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For the entirety of my adult life, from 18 on, I was a drinker. Like, daily drinking, drinker.

If I wasn’t drinking, I was drugged up at a rave. But, I could always walk away from the drugs. It was drinking that I couldn’t.

There were very few moments or parts in my life where I was not getting sauced.

This all came to a head when I found out that drinking exacerbates a blood disorder I have. And, I found out the hard way — by pissing reddish purple for two days.


My disorder was acting up more and more frequently since I turned 30. Eventually, things just became inescapable.

I had to quit drinking. As a result, I’ve been sober for over six months. I come up on my year in the fall.

Over the course of that time, several things happened. 


RELATED: He Got Sober. I Got Broken.

I got sober — and had these 8 life epiphanies: 

1. I put myself in a lot less danger

I love my times in the rave scene and the underground nightlife scene, but I’ll be real. I belong to a lot of extremely dangerous and deadly scenes.

Drug use has killed dozens of my friends. One literally overdosed on PCP in front of me.

Truthfully, drinking and using drugs have led to several close calls for me.

As in, I’ve had my heart stop at parties before. I’ve also gotten so drugged up that I blacked out and would wake up in different cities. Occasionally, I’d also wake up to people laying naked next to me, not that I knew who they were.


If anyone saw clips of a long-haired weirdo hanging off a subway car in NYC, that might have been me. A couple of times, I got wasted and started to crawl out of/between subway cars for s***s and giggles. This could have been deadly.

At the time, I didn’t particularly care. It sounds weird, but I just didn’t care if I overdosed or anything like that.

Now that I stopped drinking, I realized how absolutely insane it is that I survived all of that. Doing that risky stuff stopped being appealing.

2. I party differently

I was sloppy drunk and high for a long, long time.

I’d "spill my guts" and overshare or I’d babble nonsense, or I’d tell stupid stories that my druggy brain came up with.


Since I don’t drink and I stopped using, I don’t have the compulsion to talk as much. Actually, I’m rather quiet compared to how I was.

More importantly, I don’t have to be babysat at parties at all.

Though I didn’t have to be babysat all the time, when I did, I was a doozy of a babysitting job. It’s honestly kind of a relief that I don’t act that way anymore. I am lucid, I can hold my own and generally act as a rave mom.

From what I can tell, I think people like it this way. But, I’ve also heard people say that they missed seeing me as the wild and happy drunk who would give them stories to tell.

I’ve been told I’m "fun in a different way" from how I was when I was an addict.


RELATED: What I Learned From Spending An Entire Year Of My Life Drunk

3. My personality changed

So, like many alcoholics, my use of liquor was part painkillers and part liquid courage.

I have a long history of social anxiety that makes me act out in strange ways, and if I’m honest, my lack of socialization as a younger kid stunted my ability to talk to others normally.

Hence, I was way more social and friendly when I was drunk.

I was the drunkard that would go into a club alone and come out with five new best friends. And when we’d hang out outside the club, we’d awkwardly gawp at each other and realize we had nothing in common.

Nowadays, I’m actually way more awkward. I have a hard time timing my speech with others and can be weird when I try to broach certain topics. Sometimes, I barge in on conversations by accident. Other times, I facepalm when I see my friends doing stuff I used to.


So, I went from loud and obnoxious to…awkward, more concise, and less likely to be good at conversing.

Oh, and my BS tolerance dropped. So did my aggression and rage issues, which were often induced by substances. Honestly, it’s a lot better.

4. To a point, I felt a little bit of an identity loss

One thing many addicts don’t really talk about is how much your addiction can define you. After a certain point, you drink and party so much that it’s "just what you do."

When you don’t have that drink in your hand, you kinda just sit there staring blankly at people.

For the first time in years, I had no idea what to do without a drink in my hand at a restaurant. I mean, obviously, I ate, but like, it didn’t feel right.


It’s weird, because you’re stuck there, silently asking yourself, "What now?"

I’m no longer the wild animal that guzzles wine and pills at a breakneck pace. I’m no longer the one in the club doing stupid stuff or puking in the street or weirding normies out. So, uh, now what do I do?

There was a mild grieving period, but the truth is that part of me knew that what I was doing wasn’t sustainable. I didn’t want to become the Jersey version of Florida Man. This meant that for a while, I kinda didn’t know what to do.

Eventually, I started to try to figure out other things to do. I ended up going hard into my work. It paid off, quite literally.


Also, it helped me introspect more. In a weird way, I feel I grew up more in the past six months than I did in the past 10 years.

5. My friends are still there, but those who keep pushing me to drink aren’t

Because I have so much involvement in the NYC nightlife scene, I can’t say that I totally dropped out of clubbing. This makes me very different from most recovering alcoholics out there.

However, I’m lucky enough that the rave scenes tend to be surprisingly supportive of people who say they’ve partied enough.

So while they do partake, they don’t let me drink or use around them. They know my deal.

There were a handful of people who didn’t listen to me. They are no longer allowed in my house and they also don’t get replies when they try to reach out to me. I straight up told them that they can’t do that to me anymore.


Did my entourage change? Perhaps, but only slightly. I still see most of the same faces day in, day out.

RELATED: 103 Ways My Life Improved In The Years Without Alcohol

6. I started to notice what triggers me to drink, and I avoid it

One thing I never noticed until I had to quit drinking is what really triggers me to drink.

High-stress situations, PTSD, and social anxieties were what kept making it hard for me to quit. More specifically, working in toxic cultures would make me hit the bottle hard.

Quitting triggering jobs was easier said than done. In fact, I didn’t quit. It actually took getting laid off from my hyper-toxic workplace and having the company I was CMO of fold before I could actually recover.


Yeah, it was a struggle. I lost a lot of stability and also spent nights wondering why it was happening to me. At times, I really felt like just up and walking away from my apartment to go live in the NYC subway tunnels permanently. Somehow, I stuck to it.

Nowadays, my boundaries for bad contracts and venomous workspaces started to get stronger. I don’t think I can ever work in an office again, no matter what the circumstances are.

On a similar note, I stopped chasing the types of people that never like me. That was a major trigger of social anxiety and because of all the rejection dysphoria I experienced, it just was the smart thing to do.


7. Oddly enough, I did not lose weight

My love of drinking was a major contributor to my waistline, but the thing is, the weight still hasn’t come off.

However, that doesn’t mean I don’t look better. Rather, I started to get a bit more muscular than I used to be.

Oh, and I’m not dying at the drop of a hat anymore. People also tell me I look better, but I take that with a grain of salt.

I think part of the reason why I haven’t lost weight is my sweet tooth. It seemed to go into hyper gear after I quit drinking.

8. Missing alcohol also forced me to get creative

No joke, I do still miss the taste of champagne and red wine. I loved my tannin-rich, dry-as-a-bone wines. Loved them so much. I still crave that flavor and I still crave cocktails quite a bit.


So, like any other good culinary fiend, I got creative and got down to research. I found a couple of awesome alcohol alternatives, don’t you think?

Yep. I’m now a master at making mocktails and coffee mixes that will tickle tastebuds. Since my disorder doesn’t seem to flare up with CBD, kratom, or kava, I don’t mind occasionally indulging in that. Even so, it’s once in a blue moon.

It’s wild, there’s a whole universe of mocktails out there. Going sober or "Cali sober" is a thing now. I’m honestly grateful.

I’m getting reacquainted with who I am.

As it turns out, being sober made me stronger. Go figure.

RELATED: Why The 'Drunk You' May Actually Be The Real You


Ossiana Tepfenhart is a writer whose work has been featured in Yahoo, BRIDES, Your Daily Dish, Newtheory Magazine, and others.