When you’re used to drinking every evening — whether alone or with friends — you get a lot of time back when you give it up. I not only spent actual time drinking, but I wasted time thinking about drinking. Did I have wine at home? Should I buy the expensive vodka? Was I meeting someone for a cocktail after work? Do I need to find which place has the best happy hour?
With my new sober afternoons and evenings, I didn’t devote any energy to procuring alcohol. Instead, I found constructive ways to spend my time. I went on a lot of hikes, exercised every day, read more books, learned how to make sourdough bread, cooked a lot of meals from scratch and finally learned how to cut my hair.
Because I was not a binge drinker, I always scoffed at the idea that a couple of drinks would interfere with my nighttime slumber. Maybe I had a drink a little too close to bedtime, but didn’t think it affected my sleep.
But I didn’t know the meaning of sound sleep until I quit drinking. Even if I had only a single glass of wine, I would wake up around midnight. Then again at 3 a.m. And I was usually thirsty and had to go to the bathroom. According to the app I use to track my snoozing, going a long stretch without drinking has increased my deep sleep. I also have no problem staying asleep for long periods or getting up with the sun.