Not Drinking Is A (Great) Way Of Life

Alcohol is a strange old business. Ostensibly it’s just another beverage, but we all know it’s so much more than that. Drinking can often become a person’s defining characteristic. It’s the stuff they are made from: the rebel, the sex goddess, the sympathetic friend, the party animal, the sophisticated hostess. It turns the ordinary into the extraordinary – or so we like to imagine. Wrapped up in booze is a massive array of interwoven emotions and hardwired associations – a glass of chilled white wine on a summer day, a pint of real ale in a country pub at the end of a bracing walk, a cold beer on a Friday evening after work. The connections we make between alcoholic drinks and life are tenacious. It takes a lot of work to undo them.

I think I constructed my old persona as one that was intrinsically linked to alcohol because it was a means of avoiding how ashamed I was of the amount I was consuming – I wore my binge-drinking like a badge of honour, at least on the outside, and this helped me to push the negativity to the back of my mind. Waking up in bed next to someone who I could barely remember speaking to the night before? This was something to be laughed off with bravado, a funny thing to do after yet another night of hard partying – except I wasn’t laughing on the inside. I was filled with self-loathing (not that anyone would have ever known).

In the years since I stopped drinking, I’ve fully embraced life as a Soberista. Of fundamental importance in staying alcohol-free is learning to love sobriety, not resenting the fact that alcohol is no more a part of life but loving that it isn’t. I never thought I’d be able to do that. In the initial sober months I hated how I couldn’t drink alcohol without becoming falling-over drunk. I hated how other people seemed to have an off-switch and I didn’t. I hated beer gardens on hot summer evenings, filled with people laughing and drinking. I hated everything about being sober.

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I had to find a way of turning not drinking into something that worked for me. A new element of me that fitted with my personality, rather than this alien lifestyle choice that I had been forced to adopt (or, at least, that’s how it felt). Gradually, being a non-drinker became something that I was proud of. I stopped feeling so apologetic for it. I started to feel like I was a part of a new wave of people, a mini-revolution that had sprung up out of a widespread disaffection for wasted weekends, poor health and too many heartfelt regrets.

The things that mattered to me as a drinker still matter to me. The stuff that I was ashamed of, the less-than-perfect parts of my life have been resolved, dealt with, closed. The good bits have grown better. The crap has disappeared. I genuinely believe that kicking booze out your life is a very cool thing to do. Living free from the fog of alcohol, experiencing true clarity, knowing yourself inside and out, feeling intuition and being able to trust yourself to act upon it, loving and caring for yourself, feeling passionate about stuff other than drinking, knowing that you are doing your best in life – this is what being sober means to me. And I’m very happy to be feeling it all, right now, today – it’s a very good place to be.

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14 thoughts on “Not Drinking Is A (Great) Way Of Life

  1. I love this and I feel exactly the same!! I thought I would just scrape through life with this big hole inside of me that was all the “fun” and “excitement “, but a year latet, I am finding that I really enjoy and cherish my sober life. It is a life with meaning and value and I don’t miss the “excitement “!!!

  2. I am still having some issues with the idea that it is possible to have fun out and about without being intoxicated. I found that I used alcohol as a barrier between me and social situations. Any advice on still having fun sober?

  3. Stargazer says:

    Yes! exactly. I am in the process of removing the associations that have have been inked deeply onto my brain’s pleasure centres. I relate to how you talk about reframing the idea that not drinking is not ‘cool’, and that glamour, relaxation and good times can only be preceded by a few drinks to bring them to fruition. Thank you Lucy for your insights.

  4. Carla says:

    This is sober night 6 for me and I’ve been fighting the urge to drink quite a lot… I’ve not exactly been climbing the walls and my brain knows I will be bored by it and hate the smoking which I will have to do too… but it’s there hanging over me, goading me and making me feel on edge and not quite love my sober life yet ! I’m determined though… I want to be part of the mini revolution too, I want to be the best I can… I want to feel alive… I think I’ll order all the books this weekend and start running again… this site is amazing ! You look beautiful, happy and healthy in your photo… super inspiring !! Thank you ! xx

    • Hi Carla
      It’s hard at the weekends at first – I’m not going to lie! But I promise you life without alcohol is anything but boring. I do so much more with my time now I don’t drink and never look back to my drinking days wishing I still got drunk every weekend!! Good luck on your journey and stay in touch to let me know how you get on. Lots of love, Lucy xx

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