So, I got to the 25th, which I reckon is a pretty respectable effort. As long as you don’t pay attention to the fact it was obviously a complete failure.
I ALMOST got there. But here’s the thing*. Thankfully it wasn’t the temptation of booze, or the pervasive levels of boredom as I realised that being sober was bloody boring. The truth is I got the the 25th and I realised that I first of all I was just sick to death of talking about it and I was sick of being isolated by it. Everywhere I went, it was a thing. Literally. Whenever I talked to someone it just became this huge song and dance about how and why I wasn’t partaking in the world’s favourite way of getting over our common social insecurities. And people were nice about it, they were genuinely supportive, until they actually realised that I wasn’t joking. It was actually weirdly quite isolating, both from the look on the face of the people I was about when I ordered my fourth Coke as well as from my own feelings of “otherness”.
Now, you might argue that I’m overcomplicating this, that there are hundreds of people out there who don’t drink and who get along just fine, but I ask you, do they really? The strange thing about the drunk/sober divide is that it applies to a lot of things. Any kind of intoxicant suffers from this “I don’t want to do it on my own” paranoia. People don’t like the idea of someone who can, once all is said and done, judge them for actions they had while in one of the only consequence free zones of social leeway with have. It’s like we all agree that you can’t blame someone for acting differently because they weren’t themselves and the truth is, they’re right. At the very least, drinking iss an incredibly important stress management mechanism because the truth is, interacting in a social sense is bloody stressful sometimes. And being sober all the time wasn’t just boring, it actually made me occasionally dislike people I love. And not because they were acting badly, the opposite is absolutely true. All my friends are lovely drunks. I didn’t like them cause they looked like they were having more fun than me. The truth is that in the same way you don’t want a person standing around quietly judging you the whole night through, you don’t want to be the person surrounded by people you can’t help but judge.
So, what have I learned about my drinking habits? That firstly, It’s time. I’m cutting way down. I feel better, the hangovers are a pain in the ass and I get a lot more done. Plus when I do get drunk, it’ll be more fun because it won’t just be some vaguely depressing attempt to be in some state of “readiness” for when something fun is happening. Secondly, I need more friends who don’t drink. It just seems weird that I don’t have any non-drinking friends, like there’s some massive shortcoming in my ability to relate to people in a more genuine sense. Thirdly, I need to stop drinking Guinness cause in the month that I cut it out I lost a SHITLOAD of weight. Which is awesome.
All of this seems pretty obvious, but at the very least this experiment taught me that being relaxed around people is something I can control on my own if I work on it, I don’t need to rely on booze to bridge some kind of gap. So that’s a good thing I guess. It’ll certainly make my relationship with alcohol less manic because with time and discipline it’ll stop being tied up in more complicated insecurities and just be an expression of fun and relaxation.
*Get ready for the thing.