Cutting back on the booze or going completely alcohol free is becoming ever increasingly popular. Over 9 months ago, I decided to kick the drink to the curb and have not looked back since. If you are considering cutting back or giving up booze entirely then good for you. I have put some examples of experiences I have encountered going sober that you may relate to:
You get tired of explaining your reasons for abstaining- If like me, your friendship group is quite boozy, informing them about your sobriety may be scary. It is likely that they will find this news hard to swallow and not understand the decision. They may try to reassure you that you do not have a drinking problem, this is not because they are bad friends or do not support you it is just that they are worried about losing you. After a while, they will not even notice you are not drinking. Many of the friends I was worried about telling turned out to be the most supportive.
You will however constantly have to explain yourself to those you do not know so well. People will probe, ask you how you do it and occasionally, wonder what huge event could have taken place that would make you consider such a life change and tell you they really need to cut back whist taking a shot of tequila. After many attempts at explaining myself, I have found that in fact the best way I have found to handle this is to nod, smile and change the subject.
You try to make it look like you are drinking- Sometimes to avoid the above you may decide to pretend to be drinking (e.g lime and soda). I did this a lot throughout my first three months as a teetotaler. It is a great way to avoid all of the questions and awkward comments. Now I am a lot more confident and very proud of not drinking so do not feel like I have to pretend.
Your weekends become much more productive- Never underestimate the benefits of living without a hangover. You are now able to go out and enjoy a Friday night without writing off your entire weekend. Saturday mornings can now consist of brunches, yoga classes, days out with kids and meet ups with friends rather than the usual day on the couch feeling sorry for yourself. Before I stopped drinking, I spent most Saturdays in bed until midday and afternoons usually involved either more drinking or binging on the latest box set with a side of nausea. I now spend weekends exploring London or seeing friends and family. I have seen more of London in the last 6 months than I have during my 6 years of living here.
You are invited out less- For some reason people seem to interpret the fact that you no longer drink alcohol to mean that you no longer want to leave the house or be involved in any social occasion. Once people realised I was not drinking I stopped being invited to nights out, works drinks and parties. Quickly nip this in the bud by informing people in a polite way that just because you do not drink does not mean you are now an unsociable bitch who only wants to stay at home. I find a sarcastic comment can work wonders. People will soon realise that you are in fact still fun on a night out, you enjoy hanging out with them and you are actually less of a liability than your old drunken self.
Sparkling water sucks- In most restaurants the soft drinks selection of the menu is never as appealing as the wine and cocktail list. Usually consisting of coca cola, orange juice or sparkling water they can be very unappealing to the newly sober. Time and time again I would panic when asked what I would like to drink and order a coke. I do not even like coke it just sounds less pathetic and makes me feel less of a bore than ordering a sparkling water. There is nothing enjoyable about drinking a sparkling water on a night out unless you are attending a dessert rave. Do not fear most cocktails bars will be able to whip up a mocktail for you, do not be afraid to ask.
You save sooooo much money- Alcohol is not cheap, especially if you are going out and drinking in pubs and bars. Throughout my drinking career, a big night out on the weekend would cost around £10, mid weeks drinks would set me back at least £50 and an all-day drinking session could take me well over £150. The alcohol itself is not the only thing that sets you back when you are drinking. the taxis, cigarettes, late night kebabs and money spent on activities you miss due to a hangover can cost a fortune. Since giving up alcohol, I have noticed a huge decline in my expenses and have been able to save a lot of of money in only 9 months. I also have more money to spend on food, travel, clothes and sober activities.
You will be forgotten in a round- I will not even go in to detail with this but now that you do not drink you will be left out of a round, it just happens.
You love a good evening at home- Whether its binging on the latest box set, having friends over for dinner or just treating yourself to a nice bath, there is nothing better than a good night in. At home, you do not have to spend outrageous money on soft drinks or “bar snacks”, nor do you have to put up with inappropriate fondling, force anyone into a taxi, listen to pathetic arguments or mop up anyone’s vomit. Invest in some gorgeous lounge wear and make the most of your newfound fondness for an evening in.
You discover drinking does not make life better or more vibrant- Over the last 6 months do not feel like I ‘missed out’ on a thing. The truth is I experienced more because I was awake for every experience. I also started doing new things I always told myself I was not interested in, or could not afford to do. I grew closer to friends and family as I was present when I spent time with them rather than distracted and worrying about where my next drink would come from.
We Brits are obsessed with alcohol- It was not until I gave up alcohol that I realised just how obsessed we all are with the stuff. It is everywhere, wherever you go people will tell you to relax and have a drink, birthday cards telling you to ‘necko the prosecco’, mojito popsicles are handed out next to the tube station and even your local wholefoods plants prose throughout the store. It is hard to get away from the stuff. Even after I quit I became obsessed with how much I was not drinking and started obsessing what others drank and monitoring how much they drank. I now no longer care what others drink or how much I have not drank but instead focus on how much I am enjoying life.