Our Stories: Kim

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Drinking more than you want to is just about the most common experience a drinker can have. You are not alone.

This series shares stories of strong-ass women (and men!) who decided to stop settling for less. Inspiring a whole new generation of people that you don’t have to drink if it doesn’t make you happy.

Kim from 100 Days of Sober

We convince ourselves that the only people who give up drinking look a certain way. Had a visible problem where drinking was taking over their life, night and day. But that’s not how it plays out for millions of us. It’s a much more quiet issue not defined by black or white.

On the outside, everything looked great . . . Kim had a loving family, successful career, nice house. She accepted that wine was the solution to help her power through the stress of having it all. She accepted that every social event revolved around alcohol—and would be followed by a sleepless nights and a day wasted afterwards.

She turned her assumptions on their head and started asking, could there be something to living a fuller, more energetic and positive life if she threw away the corkscrew?

On the other side, she found compassion, energy, and self-love. I’m so excited to share Kim’s story and tips for sober living.

Q and A with Kim

What did your drinking look like before you quit?

My drinking varied the years leading up to my 100 Days challenge. There would be weeks where I would drink a bottle a night during the weekdays and more on the weekends. But then I would realize I was drinking too much and “reign it back in” as I like to say. I wouldn’t drink for a few days and start to feel better and then think I “had it under control,” which would slowly lead me back to drinking a bottle of wine a night again.

When you became consciously aware you were drinking more than you liked, did you try to moderate or cut back? How did that go?

Yes! Always. I would recognize that I was drinking too much and not feel great about it or myself. And that would always propel me to stop drinking for a while. But every time I started again, my intake would slowly creep up to where it was before I had quit. It was a cycle that left me feeling all sorts of emotions - ranging from sadness and depression to frustration and hopelessness. I never felt great about it - unless it was during the brief time of abstinence.

How long have you been alcohol-free?

Since July 2, 2018.

What finally clicked for you? How did varying approaches lead you to your ultimate decision to leave behind alcohol?

My “go to” reaction for everything was “I’ll just have a drink.”

  • The kids are crying? “I’ll just have a drink.”

  • The dog is driving me nuts? “I’ll just have a drink.”

  • Had a crap day at work? “I’ll just have a drink.”

  • Had a great day at work?! “I’ll just have a drink.”  

I just always reached for a trusty glass of wine to deal with every emotion and, after SEVERAL - dozens - attempts at going alcohol free, I finally had the thought, “If I don’t do this now, I’ll still be where I am a year from now. I’ll keep on disappointing myself over and over again and I need to learn how to do all these things and feel all these emotions without reaching for a drink.”

I guess that’s where the determination kicked in and I just said, “no more. I don’t need it.” And once I did that, it became easier and easier to say, “you said no yesterday when you were stressed. It’ll be easier to say no today.”

What does a hangover-free life mean to you? Has your sense of happiness changed?

It’s more of an alcohol-free life versus a hangover free life, for me. Even when I was drinking a bottle or more of wine a day, I would very rarely have a full blown hangover. I was more tired and groggy and everything was a lot harder (like concentrating for work, enjoying a run outside, connecting with my husband, etc.). I also found myself jealous of everyone around me. I was way more snarky, if that makes sense. I guess I wasn’t happy with myself so I wasn’t able to be happy for anyone else around me.

Now that has ALL changed. Most days I have more energy, enthusiasm and compassion for others. I find myself cheering other people on just as loudly as I would someone in my own family! I want people to succeed at whatever they are focusing on. I have an internal peace that was just not there before when I was drinking all the time.

How has quitting alcohol pushed you out of your comfort zone in other areas in your life?

I used to suffer from anxiety. My world was always worried about this or that or what so and so thought of me. I could not stop the negative internal dialogue in my mind and always talked myself out of things I wanted to try.

By quitting alcohol, I have put myself out there SO much more than I ever would. My local newspaper did a story about my 100 Day Journey and I would have never participated in something like that before. Too much noise would have drowned out any positive benefits.

I created a course for people wanting to reset their relationship with alcohol in January - and I never would have had the energy, motivation, confidence or interest to do that before. I’m exploring other ways to connect with people where I used to just sit comfortably as an introvert with the same three friends. Everything has changed!

Do you have any tips or words of inspiration for people exploring sobriety? 

Give yourself time to feel better, realize the benefits and be kind to yourself with lots of pep talks and positive visualization exercises!

I get the question, “when will I feel better?” a lot. Believe me, I understand! I am just as much a fan of instant gratification as anyone else - but it takes a little time to rewire your brain and body that has (maybe) been dependent on a toxic substance for so long.

The first 30 days I was SO tired and crabby and almost gave up and thought, “what’s the use?” But there really is a magical experience that happens when you start to embrace your life without the crutch of alcohol. I used to hide that I wasn’t drinking at parties or special events. I would order a soda water with lime in a cocktail glass so it would look like I was drinking a gin and tonic. And now I celebrate the fact that I’m not drinking! I’m proud! I want people to be curious and ask me questions and perhaps be inspired to try it for themselves.

Life will never be perfect - for anyone - but it is so freeing to feel every emotion and deal with any hiccup in the road without immediately wanting to soak it in booze.

To anyone who is curious, I would encourage them to try it and commit to at least 30 days! There are so many physical, emotional and mental benefits to kicking the booze, even if just for a month. :)

Check out Kim’s website for inspiring blog posts and guides to survive happy hour:

100 Days of Sober