I’m at the start of a few weeks break before I start my new job. The sun is shining, I slept for 10 hours and made a delicious breakfast and I’m curled up in my living room with some relaxing piano music and my laptop.
That sentence right there ^^^^ has got SOBER written all over it. The kind of sentence that makes a sober heart sing with joy at the serenity and peace of not being hungover and that the drinking mind thinks ‘booooooooring’ at the mere sight.
But it’s not boring, it is, quite frankly, delicious. Every other Good Friday for the past few years I’ve been wallowing in a hangover. I’m not sure what it is about Brits and Bank Holidays, but it makes us go a little crazy and hit the pub HARD. In former years, I would have got smashed last night in an unremarkable way, woken this morning feeling shitty and made it through the rest of the weekend by continuing to drink in the evenings, with a bit of afternoon drinking thrown in if I was *really* struggling. Yesterday was so dramatically different to that. There was champagne opened in honour of my last day at work and I refused it without a pang of resentment I couldn’t drink it. I went to the pub after work for my leaving drinks and had soda water all night, not yearning for a beer like I usually would. One of my colleagues asked ‘Do you think you’ll never drink again? You seem to really enjoy not drinking’ to which I replied ‘I don’t know about forever, but for now, I’m enjoying it’ and he accepted that.
One of the things that has been fascinating about sobriety is that people REALLY DO NOT GIVE A SHIT. I was worried for so long about peer pressure, particularly around my boss who drinks a lot, but last night not one person tried to persuade me to drink, and my boss bought me soda water all night. I created that barrier to change, the notion that I would be rejected if I didn’t drink. No-one cares. People admire it when you go, have fun and stay sober. They like it when you’re happy to chip in with rounds even though you’re not drinking. In other words, they’re happy to have your company, not to have just another drinking partner.
After my struggles with sobriety last weekend, I’ve been doing a little exercise called ‘Old Post Bingo.’ I get my WordPress app out, scroll up and down through my old posts with my eyes closed and pick one randomly to read. The idea of this was to scare myself into never wanting to drink again by seeing my own despair on the page in black and white, but of course in reality, the exercise has been much more subtle than that. I’ve seen before my eyes the slow march of progress towards a better life.
This morning’s bingo post was this. The moment that after months of being dissatisfied with my current job, I was forced to go out and find something new. The joy of reading this back with the power of hindsight is that I can see my newly found sobriety glowing strong through my thoughts and actions. I didn’t get wounded or panic but was proactive and found a new job, my dream job in fact, that I’ll start in a few weeks time. What I didn’t know then was that I’d soon be offered another contract at the company I was with, negating the panicky situation. If I’d been drinking, I would have been too hungover to do anything proactive, dragged my feet and eventually found myself with a new contract offer without having to lift a finger. I would have been absolutely fine for a job and money, but drink would be ravaging my body and mind and I’d still have that niggling feeling that there’s a better alternative out there.
SOBRIETY is that better alternative. Everything good in my life over the past few months has come from sobriety. And whilst I might still have my wobbles and the urge to drink sometimes, it fades, whereas my little sober flame does not.
Pretty cool huh? I’m looking forward to a weekend of relaxation, calm and above all, sobriety.