TW: alcohol and sobriety 7 years sober. Even I can’t believe it’s been that long since I had so much of a sip of alcohol. I’ve wanted to write this blog post for years now but I’ve always shied away from it. Living a sober lifestyle is a very personal thing that I don’t discuss often.
My journey to giving up alcohol started in January 2014. It’s only recently that I discovered that I was relying on alcohol for confidence. Throughout college and university, I would drink alcohol in almost every social setting, mostly in bars and nightclubs.
Where my relationship with alcohol started
It’s a weird one because I didn’t start drinking until I was 19. I took a gap year after school to work, which meant when I went to college at nearly 18, everyone was a year younger than me. When I did start drinking, I barely stopped. I wasn’t drunk during the day, I didn’t drink on my own but I started going out three to four times a week. I’d finish college on a Monday at 3.30pm and get to my friends for pre-drinks at 7pm. We’d be out all night until about 3am and I’d be up for college at 6am to start again. I was going out drinking on Mondays, Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays. Not all four days every week but usually at least twice a week.
I think I made up for no underage drinking when I got to my 19th birthday. It’s strange because I’ve only been full-on drunk once and it was a horrible feeling. I turned up to college the next day remembering little and it turns out I’d really embarrassed myself. Safe to say, I never got drunk again. My friend’s parents liked their kids going out drinking with me because I was the responsible one. I wasn’t afraid to go up to the bar and ask for a glass of water, I knew my limit (apart from that one time) and I always made sure my friends got home in one piece. Yet alcohol seemed to be the only way I could bond with people and be my true self.
Who I became when drinking
When I was drinking a lot, I was a completely different person. Alcohol made me extroverted and confident yet looking back, it was like I was playing a character. I was incredibly sociable, with tonnes of friends in lots of different groups, and really flirty. I’ve lost count of the number of guys I’d kiss, sometimes multiple in one night. I might be embarrassed about it now but it was literally the height of my confidence! College was certainly where I was my happiest, but mostly when I was drinking. However, relying on alcohol to become a different version of myself was never going to be healthy.
There wasn’t a particular reason for quitting alcohol; I guess I just got fed up with the headaches the morning after and the lack of energy. I didn’t make a big announcement that I was going teetotal, I didn’t set an end date or a goal for myself.
7 years on
Since I’ve stopped drinking, I rarely socialise. I’ve grown apart from a lot of friends because my idea of fun is no longer a night out. Sure, I have some amazing friends now who know about my relationship with alcohol, but it’s a small circle. However, I now have high-quality friendships with who I have tonnes in common that isn’t just drinking. Most of them drink, which is fine by me. Living a sober lifestyle has meant I can’t be around those who are drunk though so I tend to stick with eating out, rather than bars and clubs.
Whilst I don’t drink myself, I have no issue with people who do drink. Do I think people should drink more responsibly? Absolutely. Can they do what they want? 100%. What I do have a problem with is asking me why I don’t drink. I’d never ask someone why they do drink so why is it acceptable the other way around? I’m not ill, I’m not an alcoholic, I’m not boring, I just take better care of myself now. Those people who have had an issue with me being teetotal aren’t in my life anymore.
I’m not sure if I’ll ever drink again. I’d never say never but it’s not something I’ve given a great deal of thought. Not drinking has allowed me to focus on what I want to do in life.
Thank you for sticking with me while I discussed living a sober lifestyle. Being teetotal is something plenty of people know as I talk about it on Twitter. However, few people know why. Feel free to comment below or send me a DM on Instagram if you want to chat more about living a sober lifestyle.