Reset How I Quit Drinking and Started Listening to My Body The Revival Issue
drinking glasses on table

How I Quit Drinking and Started Listening to My Body

Trigger warning: This article discusses depression and heavy alcohol consumption.

My last drink—or rather drinks—was in early August. It was a casual Friday, and I grabbed drinks spontaneously with friends after work. What started as a margarita in a coupe ended in me blacking out. The only thing I remember is how sick I was for three full days after. Unfortunately, this was nothing new for me. What was new was how I handled it. Over the past year, my depression got worse after every night of drinking. I felt like my whole life was punctuated by mistakes and that I had no control over my choices or my body.

That Saturday, between trips to the bathroom to vomit, I ruminated over how I could do this to myself. I would flash back to college when I spent so many Sundays in this same condition.

By 12 p.m., I had effectively canceled all my plans for the rest of my weekend. I didn’t want anyone to know what happened to me, so I went full DND for three days. This created more space for me to beat myself up without intervention. I thought about how it was wild for me to still feel like this at my age and after all these years of drinking. Everything seemed helpless, and I felt like such a baby for always having some version of this experience after a few drinks. After days of being sick and eventually needing to Teladoc some anti-nausea pills to end my suffering, I was fully shaken and decided to take my first full month off of drinking. This month led to another and another. Before I knew it, I was flirting with actually going sober.

Quitting Drinking


The first few months of my new zero-proof life were really propelled by the fear of this visceral experience. It had finally hit me how badly alcohol made me feel. Initially, I expected my whole life to be totally different and that I’d feel like a new woman after a month of sobriety. I honestly thought my depression would be cured and I was surprised that I didn’t see or feel that different. But the first notable positive side effect was that every day I could wake up and actually do whatever I had planned. I know that sounds really simple, but when you’re nursing a hangover three to four days a week, it’s a huge difference. I also noticed that my skin was clearer. After two months of not drinking, I retired my spironolactone prescription that I had taken on and off for about seven years.

After putting an end to something that had made me feel so bad for so long, I realized how much I enjoyed feeling good and uncompromised all of the time. I spoke to Dr. Nicole Swiner, MD, about the benefits of cutting out alcohol. She shared that you can expect positive effects like, “weight loss due to the decrease of empty calories, better sleep quality, [and] less fogginess of the brain and grogginess,” explains Dr. Nicole Swiner, MD. Not to mention fewer kidney and liver problems.

When I started feeling better, I wanted to take it to the next level to see if I could feel even better. I incorporated my very first vitamin (yes, this is real) into my routine, which I previously thought was impossible. After years of trying, it finally felt worth it to prioritize taking care of my body. The multivitamin led to another lifestyle change, and now I infamously start every morning by taking a 90-minute walk to get my 10,000 steps.

So many reasons had kept me from drinking, but once I started going out again, I was prompted to explain it to people, and that’s when things got rocky. So many of my wonderful friends were and still are so supportive of me. Making sure to point out the mocktails on every menu and never pressuring me to order anything different. But if I’m being real, a lot of people in my life had severe negative reactions. Saying things like, “It’s not forever, right?” and, “Eventually, you’ll have a glass of champagne at a wedding though, right?” when I honestly had not even thought about the future. Even my parents said, “You’re still so young. You should be drinking and having fun.” And I think many people would agree that having fun is synonymous with having a drink in hand. But my TikTok FYP tells a different story. 

In this TikTok, Double-Board Certified Psychiatrist, Daniel G. Amen, MD, discusses a brand-new report from the Canadian Center on Substance Use and Addiction with his 1.9M followers. The report states that “no amount of alcohol is good for your health” with a tagline of “that’s why if you drink, it’s better to drink less."

Regardless, I reached out to Dr. Amen for his full take. "Over three decades of brain-imaging work at Amen Clinics shows that alcohol harms the brain. It lowers blood flow to the brain, which we can see on brain SPECT scans and can be associated with mental health issues, substance abuse, and more,” he says.

One of the main reasons I stopped drinking was because of how much worse it made my depression, so I really resonated with these findings. But I have to admit, despite being six months “dry”, I still do fantasize about having a cold glass of orange wine or prosecco, but Dr. Amen’s personal approach to drinking is enough to make me reconsider. “I love my brain and I only consume foods and beverages that love me back,” he says.

Dr. Amen’s TikTok and his opinions are more on the severe side of sobriety TikTok, and because of this, the comment section is full of personal accounts and differing opinions. But this just shows that the information really makes you think.

Quitting Drinking


Seeing people living a similar lifestyle on my own curated For You Page is one thing, but when I decided to make the switch, I didn’t have any sober friends to lean on—or so I thought. Once I started being open about not drinking, I realized that so many people around me were sober or rarely have a drink. In an industry that’s punctuated with cocktail hours and never-ending pours, I was honestly surprised to find out that quite a few of my peers had arrived at the same conclusion.

“I stopped drinking about six years ago. I didn’t like being drunk and I felt like there were better things to do with my time and money. I hated the hangovers and I didn’t feel like I was getting anything from the drunken evenings—I’m the same sober as drunk,” says public relations professional Michelle Katz.

“I never exactly thought I had a problem with drinking, but looking back, I never knew how to control it. My all-or-nothing personality shined through when I was puking at weddings (and) blacking out pretty regularly. In hindsight, (becoming sober) was the biggest, most important decision I have made. No more hangovers; no stupid/regrettable things said,” says Jennifer Conlon-Pavelchak, the Managing Director at MP IMC.

And I deeply relate. Just because you’re not an alcoholic doesn’t mean you have a great relationship with alcohol, and that’s something I’ve had to come to terms with. And I don’t think I’m alone in this. Douglas Watters, the founder of America's first "Non-Alcoholic Liquor Store", Spirited Away, says, “As more people question alcohol's ubiquity in American culture and society and begin drinking more mindfully, demand for non-alcoholic alternatives continues to grow. There’s no stopping this movement.”

Even the idea of drinking mindfully is something I’ve certainly never practiced or even heard of before. For me, alcohol was always a “yes” until it was a hard “no”, and honestly I was shocked at how critically people are thinking about imbibing. Watters says, “Instead of just having a drink because that's what people do at the end of the workday, mindful drinkers are being more thoughtful and intentional about what we consume. We're asking ourselves, 'Do I truly want to consume ethanol right now or would I actually prefer an alternative that still allows me to enjoy the ritual, the moment, (and) the gathering, with none of the harmful ingredients?'"

It was hard to see my body as precious or something I needed to protect from alcohol until it hit me all at once.

It was hard to see my body as precious or something I needed to protect from alcohol until it hit me all at once. But I’m hopeful that in the near future, drinking will feel like more of a choice and less of an implication in our culture. For now, I’m sober, and as far as I’m concerned, I’ll stay that way even if it’s something that everyone doesn’t understand.

And sure, when I go out and ask for a seltzer with lime, I’m often met with, “Like a White Claw?”, but it really doesn’t bother me anymore. Almost every bar I’ve been to over the past six months has made me a mocktail with ease or riffed off of one of the drinks on their menu. My hangover-induced depression is no longer an issue, and every day I can wake up feeling physically well—which is incredibly special for me. Being more cognizant of not drinking has made me more in tune with the rest of the stuff I put in my body and how I take care of myself. I’ve realized that when I don’t have to worry about recovering, I can work on building myself into the person I want to be.

For more information and support visit

Related Stories