5 Great Moments in 5 Years Without Alcohol

by Rebecca A. Watson on April 3, 2018

in life, Recovery

A few weeks ago I celebrated five years without drinking. If you know my story, you know that generally I use this time to think about whether I will be “re-upping” for another year. If I had been thinking about that, the answer would be yes, but I haven’t been. Mostly because I rarely think about drinking anymore.

But also because, wow. Five years? That seems like more than just a passing phase. More than just a health fad. And weirdly, the people around me are drinking less too, even the ones who don’t have an alcohol problem. When I was writing for Mystic Medusa, she said she thought someday people will view the way we drink now in the same way we think about how people smoked in the ’50s.

Seems about right.

So, in an attempt to move along the middle road of life, I will still refrain from saying I will never drink again. I will say that every year since year one, it has become easier and less of a question and more just an affirmation. In thinking about these past years, I thought it would be fun to share some of my favorite moments that I believe were made possible, in part, by my lucid life.

Year 1: Moving to Europe

This had been a life goal of mine since I met my Norwegian friend Johanna who was always telling me I belonged in Europe. For as exciting as this move was, it certainly wasn’t easy. I am confident I set myself up for success by staying lucid. Considering I was about 100 days in when we moved, I am lucky that it was so easy to not drink in Germany.

Year 2: Adopting our Dog Neka

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We had wanted a dog since forever, but the timing was never right until we got Neka! We are so in love and I am so glad I have never had a drink around her. She is dark and hard to see. There are times when I miss her and she is right in front of my face. I am not the most graceful soul even when I haven’t been drinking. I am glad I never have to trip over her and try to catch my balance after a few drinks. I can just focus on being the best doggy mom and traveling around the world with her.

Year 3: Publishing a Book

change is easy rebecca watson

Another life goal: Write a best-selling book. First you need a book, right? What a journey this was, from beginning to end. And how much fun was it to do book signings? I have come to love reading out loud to people as well, which means I will need to write more so I can have more readings. This hasn’t been a best seller so far, but I have a feeling I have a few more books swirling around me.

 Year 4: Getting a Job in a German-speaking Office

I can not tell you how intimidating walking into an office and meeting all your colleagues in a different language is. All I will say is that it made a lot of other things seem pretty doable, like waxing poetic on printing trends and moderating conferences in Kiev. In the past I would drink when I was nervous, but in year four I will say that my confidence came to claim its space making it easier to handle stuff like this.

Year 5: Running a Half-Marathon

Yes I really was that happy–another life goal! This was at the midway point of running from Switzerland to France and then into Germany so I was still pretty energized. Running and training for a race like this took stamina and discipline that I needed to dig deep for on some days. On the weekends this meant 18 kilometer runs. There was no way I would be doing that, even if I only had a glass or two of wine the night before. When I quit drinking I noticed running got a lot easier and more fun. I am training for another half-marathon in August in Berlin.


As much as I would like to say it’s been all rainbows and unicorns, that is not really how life works. There have been some hard times to be sure. But life is as much a wave as anything else, and I am just trying to swim, float or surf, depending on my mood. I will say though, that both my mood and the wave have gotten much less extreme since letting go of booze.

If you want to read more about my journey, here are a few of my most popular posts or just check out my recovery category

100 Days. No Alcohol. 30 Lessons.
Before & After: One Year Without Alcohol
Will the “Functioning” Alcoholics Please Stand Up?

Photo credits: Ash Edmonds, Moving Guys, Amy Wolke, Sante Pelot, Other Tourists in the Park, Ansgar Wessendorf, Ashley Matthäus

{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

syrynx April 22, 2018 at 4:29 am

Hi Rebecca,
Thanks for writing about this, I just skipped over here after your post on Mystic Medusa came up in the sidebar, I think you wrote that at the 3 year mark. I was lying in bed last night crying, I have an off off battle with depression which I choose not to medicate and I had only had 2 glasses of wine, one of which was low alcohol, but I felt horrible, like I was poisoned as well as miserable. I really needed to read your writing so I am very grateful that you have been so generous and open in sharing your experiences.
All the best.


Rebecca Watson April 22, 2018 at 9:34 pm

Hey syrynx,

Ugh I’ve been there. I’m so sorry you’re dealing with depression. Alcohol definitely made depression worse for me. I think some of us are just really sensitive to that kind of thing. I’m glad you hear my writing helped you. Take care of yourself <3


Furtheron April 24, 2018 at 3:44 pm

Well done – any days sober is tough for someone who’s become reliant on it – to knit those days together into any form of contiguous sobriety is monumental. And look at everything you’ve done! Huge congrats


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