Who am I? Why am I here? Can I actually still live and be sober at the same time? All questions we ask ourselves when we finally collapse and admit we have a problem with our drinking.
In our image obsessed society, we have to find a way to detach, not only from booze, but from the constant need to curate our ‘brand’ identities on social media and to stop comparing ourselves with others.
The sickest part of modern society is the lie we’re told about how our lives should/must be, what we should be doing at what age, and where we should be aiming for. It’s all Complete Shit in my opinion, because it doesn’t allow us to find out who we really are, beneath the conformity and the booze which is part of that conformity. What’s our true nature? What is our personality type, and what are the habits and tips which work for us.
If you have gone alcohol-free or are trying to stop drinking, apart from logging in here daily, reading posts, commenting on them and sharing your journey, there is one thing I recommend above all others. The key to loving life sober is acknowledging your courage. Courage to imagine a life and relationships beyond booze; courage to begin crafting a life which has more purpose and joy than we ever thought possible; courage to return to old hobbies abandoned years/decades earlier, courage to reconnect with friends who live healthier lives, hoping to learn from them and courage to practise the radical acceptance that is part of sobriety: that we can never, ever change others, we can only change ourselves.
Every month I’m AF, I become more courageous. A while ago, I resigned from a voluntary position helping promote a new kind of mental health therapy in the UK. I resigned, because I recognised that I didn’t gel with the woman who runs the group, even though I supported her vision. Too many meetings, too many places to go: it felt like a job! And that I far prefer spending time online, from the comfort of my armchair, with people who want to quit drinking – it’s more fun, with less governance needed. My resignation was accepted – and here I am, with and for you 🙂
Yesterday, I was at yoga and a woman arrived very late, headed straight for me, made a lot of noise dumping her coat, bag and God knows what else. No attempt to be quiet, she was entitled to make as much noise as she wanted. I moved my mat further over, away from the noise. Later on, in some of the poses, with arms outstretched either side, I touched her hand, so I lowered my arm away from hers. I had the courage to adapt.
Rather than fume, at the end of the class, I decided to ask how long she’d been doing yoga: “years” she replied. I asked where she lived: “Cheltenham” (where the class is) and you?” “Gloucester” “Isn’t there a class closer to you?” FFS, it’s 4 miles down the road. “I like to travel and I like this class.”
She then told me that she hates driving at night, so she’d decided to try the lunchtime group for a while. “Well enjoy it while you’re here”, I told her.
I refused to be belittled by her somewhat selfish behaviour. Instead, I showed grace, curiosity and courage. That courage led to me googling Love Supreme later and finding out that Anita Baker is appearing this year, along with TLC and Sergio Mendes. Made for me. I will be booking my ticket tomorrow – my fourth sober Love Supreme! Love it 🙂 *Inevitably, with the pandemic, Love Supreme has been moved to 2021 – and I’ll be there, still sober!
So, in the early days sober, start exercising your courageous genes: researching alcohol-free options at bars, hotels and restaurants you’re planning visiting; not joining your friends in drinks at home, instead, opening a chilled bottle of AF wine or beer, meeting at cafes, rather than bars and going out for a walk at 8am instead of nursing a hangover. Add the courage to try something new today.
I wish you the gift of courage, whatever day you’re at.
“You cannot swim for new horizons until you have courage to lose sight of the shore.”
― William Faulkner
Come join us for a Sober September. It’s not about giving something up as much as it is about getting something back. Taking back your freedom of choice. Breaking the status quo. Putting down the booze not because you are weak and cannot handle it, but because you have found that you are STRONGER if you don’t drink. Don’t accept the inevitability of drinking in a culture that promotes drinking as essential. It’s up to you.
If you’re “sober curious” … If you are drinking too much too often and want to stop or take a break…or if you have stopped drinking and are trying to stick to sober! Talk to Us.
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Don’t let the shame of the stigma keep you from saying
“I think I have a problem with drinking”