When I first realised I may have to take a step back from drinking, the thought of going sober absolutely petrified me.
Not because I didn't think I could do it, but because of the pushback from society on non-drinkers.
I've been a part of that, embarrassingly, but I know better now.
There's this idea out there, that the majority of people have, that you can't possibly function or have fun without alcohol; and if you don't drink then something must be wrong with you.
Even if you simply didn't feel like drinking for whatever reason, you will still be questioned about it and possibly shamed for it.
As you've probably heard a lot "alcohol is the only drug that we have to explain not using"; and when you see it phrased like that, it really makes you realise how fucked up our society is.
To me, normalising sobriety is about breaking down the stigma around not drinking. Which, for starters, means educating ourselves (and others) about the pitfalls of alcohol.
Sadly through the years, alcohol has been glamourised.
It's been made out like it's this amazing elixir that fixes all problems.
Feeling sad? Have a drink. Feeling happy? Have a drink. Hard day with the kids? Wine will fix that. Beers after work? Sure why not.
And you know what - alcohol does make things momentarily better; that's the beauty of alcohol.
It makes us feel good. It warms us up, relaxes us, loosens us up and even gives us confidence that we normally wouldn't have.
But it's all a facade. Alcohol alters the chemicals in our brains and slows down our central nervous system. Not only does it relax us, but it also reduces our judgement, inhibition and memory.
In reality, regardless how you want to look at it, alcohol is a toxin. It kills microorganisms which is why we use it to preserve food and sterilise skin, needles etc.
Whilst a few studies have shown that "drinking a glass of wine a day is good for your health", fact of the matter is, global studies have shown that there is no such thing as a safe level of alcohol consumption.
Normalising sobriety is also about breaking down the stereotypes around non-drinkers.
We are often seen as not able to have fun, as being judgemental of those who do drink and as being boring people.
Of course this is far from the truth, but as I mentioned above - society has conditioned us to think that drinking alcohol makes you fun.
So if you don't drink alcohol, you must not be fun.
I want my kids to grow up and realise that there's no harm in choosing sobriety; but of course I would have always advocated for this.
However, I want to educate them about alcohol and the risks around it; as well as society and its role in romanticising alcohol.
I want my kids AND OTHERS to confidently be able to say they aren't drinking without fear of judgement, or criticism.
I want drinkers to realise that not drinking doesn't make a person any less "normal".
I don't know if any of it is possible, but that's my goal around normalising sobriety.