There are dozens of reasons why I'm profoundly grateful to be sober (58 years old, drank since high school, sober 18 months).
But one of the biggest is simply being free of the sheer nuisance of NEEDING to always find a way to include alcohol in everything I did. And, as you say, not just the emotional impact of the guilt and the fear of a disastrous accident, but just the f-ing nuisance of it all. It's just such a tiresome burden.
A couple weeks ago I got pulled over for a traffic stop for running a stop sign. I had an intense moment of PANIC and then remembered "oh, yeah. I haven't had a drink in a year and a half. It's OK." I think I was so bizarrely cheerful when the cop asked for my license that he let me off with a warning.
Bottom line: recovery help was more available than I expected, more effective than I expected, and while sobriety hasn't been effortless, it wasn't the daily struggle that I expected. And now, it's just a matter of being diligent and not taking anything for granted.
And sobriety is delightful. I really don't miss drinking other than a few random drinking thoughts now and then.
I felt better right away, but sobriety just keeps getting better. After 3 months my life was completely transformed.
I'm lucky that I was a solitary drinker and my wife and those close to me can truly take it or leave it. So, in my case, I was joining the mostly sober world around me rather than escaping from a network of heavy drinking family and friends as some need to...