Sunday, 5 July 2015

I Hate Being 'Sober'

If you're reading this from the USA on the day after fourth of July, perhaps you've woken up with a terrible hangover and found my blog after googling something like 'how to stop drinking' or 'am I an alcoholic?'

Maybe one of the things that has stopped you quitting any earlier is the terrible thought of living the rest of your life sober.

Sober is a horrible word. I looked up the dictionary definition. It means serious, sensible and solemn. Other, equally ghastly synonyms are: grave, sombre, severe, restrained, conservative, strict, puritanical, unemotional, and dispassionate.

Do I want to be any of those things? No! Do you? I suspect not.

Part of the reason we all got into this mess is because we are not, and have never been, restrained or sensible, conservative or dispassionate. We were the wild ones! We still want to be the wild ones!

So we need another word.

I've been wracking my brains for some time on this question, and here are my current options. Instead of saying 'I am sober' how about:

I am free

Free of the wine witch constantly telling me to drink just one more. Free from fretting about how much wine is in the fridge, or what I said to whom the night before. Free of the crashing hangovers. Free of guilt and self loathing. Or perhaps....

I am in control

In control of my life, rather than the wine witch pulling my strings like a puppet. In control of what I do when, rather than scheduling everything around the hangovers and the drinking sessions. In control of all the other bits of my life that have gone crazy over the years - the waistline, the clutter, the house and garden, the relationships. Or maybe....

I am brave

Brave enough to face life head on without blurring all the edges, without seeking oblivion, without an artificial crutch.  Brave enough to walk into a party sober, to make new friends, to make up with old ones. Brave enough to meet with triumph and disaster and treat those two imposters just the same. Or do you prefer....

I am clean

Clean of any artificial stimulants. (Except caffeine. Nobody gets between me and my morning skinny cappuccino). I have clear eyes, clear skin, shiny hair. I respect my body and my mind. I am a finely tuned and beautifully oiled machine. I am - in a very tiny way - Gwyneth Paltrow. Without the unbearable smugness.

But here's the one I prefer:

I am me

Not artificially buoyed up by a drug. Not faking it, hiding from it, avoiding it. I am exactly as you see me, all of the time. I am, in many ways, more like the person I was twenty years ago than the person I was last year. I am passionate, emotional, unrestrained, happy, relaxed, carefree and wild..... other words, the very opposite of sober.

Happy, non-sober, Sunday morning everyone!

(S)M x

Related post: I hate the word 'normal'




  1. I love this post! Great Writing partner!! Hugs!
    Jen .... loves being me, clean, brave, in control and free!!

  2. I never knew that was the meaning of sober. I honestly thought it meant 'without alcohol'. What a dope I feel. But yes, yes, yes, yes and yes to all of your alternative words. Absolutely. Not 100% ok with being me though. Still trying to figure me out. How long do you suppose that takes? Big hugs x

  3. You're right, sober does sound like we're being punished, doesn't it? But we're actually getting a nice gift!
    4th was fabulous without a buzz! We walked around (80 deg F at 11pm) and watch the illegal displays of bottle rockets and roman candles. Beautiful!

  4. Great post SM! Hope you don't mind, I've shared it on my facebook page :)

    1. Spread the word as widely as you can WB!

  5. Great post SM. I have been to a few of the inevitable summer partys and BBQ's that occur amongst our circle of friends and if I am honest, I am not finding it easy, except that is for the drive home. I feel quite alienated, almost detached, like I see all the social interaction going on around me but I am not totally part of it.
    I am hoping that this is akin to giving up smoking and these are just trigger events that spawn the want for alcohol and will pass in frequency and severity in time.
    Have a lovely week. x

    1. Parties are my hardest thing too Tallaxo, although they are getting easier, so I'm hoping that eventually I'll be properly relaxed about them. I seem to remember feeling the same when I first stopped smoking. I guess we have decades of conditioning to undo. I also haven't bothered booking dinner out a deux, which I used to love. Somehow there doesn't seem to be any point.... I wonder how long it takes. Glad you're still here T! X

    2. Dinner parties with close friends are still my hardest times.
      I love not drinking all other times.
      Some people tell me it never gets much better, other people say it does.
      PS - I hate the "S" word too!!

  6. Yes. I am happy. Life is beautiful.

  7. This is a brilliant and positive post

  8. Possibly my favourite post yet!!!! I am me!! Love it. I'm on day 17 and it's just amazing to feel all of my emotions, found myself filling up at "feed the world" Christmas song this morning as I explained it to the kids!!! But I am also getting the amazingly happy emotions, and feel so so so excited for Christmas and being with my family and being alcohol free. Thanks so much for your blog xx

  9. Yes! I am reading this on my first sober holiday and my eldest asked me (when I was uncontrollably giggling after playing a family card game) - 'Mummy! Are you sure you haven't had some wine?' And I replied 'Absolutely not! this is me, sparkly effervescent happy holiday ME!'