Today I’m 25 days sober. Today I tackled the Great British Beer Garden without drinking alcohol, on a Bank Holiday, for the first time in my adult life. Not going to lie: it was fucking shite. But I did it. And, given I’m usually nursing a surgically-attached straw of gin & tonic down my throat at this hour of a Bank Holiday Saturday; not writing blog posts, I suppose that’s pretty good going.
If you too are afflicted with the ‘alcohol basically ruins my life’ disorder, this post is written in both solidarity and the hopes of helping inspire others to take the sober route, if they think it’s something they ought to do.
But how, you ask? How in the sweet mother of Christ does one avoid the sweet nectar of beer when the sun is shining out of its proverbial arse and I swear to god the birds are tweeting “go ‘ed mate, get that vino down you”?
I don’t have all the answers – believe me, I’ve just sat with a face like a slapped arse in aforementioned beer terrace (see above) and had a slightly teary meltdown upon returning home – but these are the things that have helped me stay on the straight and narrow. And they’ll hopefully be of some help to you too.
Avoid Places Where People Are Solely Drinking
Putting this one in here mainly as a reminder to myself… Most of the time since going sober, I’ve managed to avoid pubs, bars and clubs like the plague but, when the sun comes out, so must the guns and the inevitable beer garden visits.
If you have to go to somewhere where a) the bulk of the clientele will be drinking b) people you’re going with will be drinking, my best advice is to make sure they do some guise of non-alcoholic cocktail, beer or spritzer, to stop you feeling like a complete alien.
Luckily, the lovely people at YES in Manchester do bespoke virgin cocktails, so I had the pictured lemon, lime and grapefruit concoction whilst my partner had a normal one (he usually doesn’t drink around me – major kudos – but I’m not a complete dragon).
Remember WHY You’re Doing This
After having a little moment of feeling sorry for myself on the sofa when we got home, I started reflecting on why I enlisted myself on this wholesome (pain in the arse) journey in the first place. It’s nearly 8pm now – I’d wager that Past Ebony would be just about to fall into the ‘oh god, it’s hometime bitch’ category of drunk at this point – inevitably becoming a nightmare and/or blacking out/causing a huge argument/wasting all her money/causing general havoc.
Past Ebony was sad, a lot. Today I feel pretty sad – I’m not going to lie – it does feel like I’m mourning a part of myself. Because the initially drunk stages of Ebony are fun; I like her. But I don’t know how to just be her and then kick the cup, so to speak.
Think Outside The Box
This has been my favourite element of going sober, by far. My life used to be coloured pretty much exclusively by alcohol – sitting in bars, sitting on the sofa, throwing terrible shapes in clubs – just booze, booze and let’s be honest: boring booze.
Since going sober, I’ve tried: golfing at a driving range (big fan, v good for a mardy mood), joining a book club (with girls who drink at the meet-ups, but I have mocktails), a poetry workshop at HOMEmcr, an afternoon at the fair then dicking about the park with a frisbee, and some incredibly amateur modelling. Tomorrow, we’re going outdoor swimming, Monday we’re going for a walk with alpacas.
What I’m saying is – don’t focus on what you can’t do – make your life so interesting that you only focus on what you can do. And hey, you’ll have way better anecdotes than hazy recollections of being a wasteman (I’ve already got a lifetime of these).
Work Out How Much You’re Saving
If you’re anything like me, you spent a hefty wedge when you were drinking. Not just the purchase of alcohol itself, but the whole ritual of it: the drinks, the cigarettes, the taxis, the hangover takeaways – that shit adds up. The last time I had a Big Night of Drinking, I spent around £70 – which is basically a very nice dress and this upsets me quite a lot.
Happy Bank Holiday, guys – here’s to waking up each day not feeling like we’ve been hit by a train, or wondering what the bejeezus we did the night before…
If you’re also sober, or looking to cut out the bevs, feel free to follow my journey and drop me a line on Twitter @Ebzo.