Day 92. Rhymes with Woohoo!
I was reading the Sunday Times yesterday, and found, on the first page of the Magazine, an article by one of their columnists - Katie Glass - entitled 'Here's to the most outrageous thing I've ever done: giving up drinking.'
Annoyingly, I can't post a link, because you have to be a subscriber (what happened to sharing nicely, guys?).
Katie talks about giving up alcohol for a month. She says "Things I discovered while not drinking: I am a morning person. I am not the Best Dancer Ever. Most thrilling: it turns out there's nothing I did drunk I can't do sober."
She also talks about the 'pink cloud.' She writes '...after a week or so, something new: I began to feel a deep sense of happiness, so euphoric, I didn't mention it to anyone, because it's so bloody smug....Still, there it is. A dreamy bliss, at times so overwhelming, it hits my stomach in a sheer rush of joy like going down on a swing.'
(Going down on a swing sounds a bit pornographic to me, but that's just my warped mind).
On the negative side, she says '...being so predictable reminds me why I liked drinking so much. Because you can open a bottle without knowing where it will lead - a bar, a book, an overdrawn credit card, a flight...' and reflects on a quote by Goethe: "A man can stand anything except a succession of ordinary days."
But, she concludes, 'eventually, even being bad gets boring. Saturday night - pub, club - becomes predictable too. And now binge-drinking is ubiquitous, staying sober feels a more outrageous thing to do.'
Thank you, Katie - who has, for the time being, decided to stay sober - for presenting sober as the individual, rebellious choice.
I posted the same thought a while ago in 'Rebel Without a Cause', and one of my much loved regular readers, Tallaxo, posted this comment recently: I never really followed the crowd and liked to be a little different, so that's the way I look at sobriety. It is kind of unique because so few people are doing it. I even have a silly grin on my face as I'm paying for my non-alcoholic pear cider at the Tesco checkout. It's a kind of 'look at me. Who's the clever one now?'
Because of years of marketing and brainwashing we are conditioned to see 'sober' as being something that some poor unfortunates are forced into doing because they are sick. It's up to people like Katie Glass, and all of us, to change that. To present it as a positive lifestyle choice.
I have - finally - started to tell people that I've stopped drinking. I don't tell them it's forever (as that makes them uncomfortable in the same way it used to make me uncomfortable), but I tell them that, having given up initially 'for Lent,' I felt so much better that I'm carrying on.
I tell them that I sleep better, I'm losing weight, my moods are better and I have more energy. Then they start to look at me with admiration rather than pity.
Most of the people I've come across since starting this blog never reached 'rock bottom.' We didn't have to stop drinking. We hadn't (yet) got to the point where our families and friends intervened. We hadn't lost our homes, our children, our health.
Most of us weren't even physically dependant and didn't need rehab. We chose to stop drinking because it was the better choice. We saw the road branching ahead of us and took the right turn.
The more we can shout about the benefits of sober, the more people will get off the elevator before it hits the bottom.
So thank you Katie, and thanks to all of you.
Love SM x