Some sober awesomeness

I am writing this on the train home from London because I want to get this happy, sober feeling down on paper. This is a post for all the lurkers, who read my blog and wonder, should I stop drinking? Will it be worth it? Will I ever have fun again? Yes. The answer is yes.

I spent this weekend catching up with two of my oldest friends and I had such a brilliant time. When I first stopped drinking they were surprised but supportive. I don’t think they really understand why I had to stop, but they have always been totally fine about my decision.

Last night we got dressed up and tottered out in our highest heels for drinks at a bar in London Bridge, followed by dinner at the Shard. It is eye-wateringly expensive but I’ve wanted to go there ever since it opened. Even in the dark the view is amazing!

DSC00295

About half way through the meal, it struck me that I was having a brilliant time, sober. Not a brilliant time despite being sober, but because I was sober. A year ago I’d have found an evening like last night to be very frustrating. The 2012 version of me would have knocked back a large glass of wine at the bar, prompting me to crave more. I’d have joined my friends for a cocktail and would have convinced them to order a bottle of wine with the food. All night I’d be trying not to drink too fast. My eyes would be trained on the bottle but I’d be careful not to look bothered. I’d let someone else top the glasses up but when they weren’t looking I’d steal sneaky glances at every glass, to check I hadn’t been short-changed.

I’d find it hard to focus on the conversation or the food because I’d be so consumed by the feeling of not getting enough. It was miserable really. Last night it was so refreshing to not be worrying about all of that. When my friends ordered cocktails, I had a fresh cranberry juice and it tasted delicious. (I noticed they didn’t order any other booze after that, not even a small glass of wine). The food was superb and when the dessert menu came round I ordered a huge chocolate brownie, because fuck it, I can. I felt relaxed and happy.

I went to bed tired and slept like a baby. I woke up this morning feeling great. After catching up on Strictly Come Dancing (compulsory viewing) my friend K convinced me to go with her to a Sunday morning meditation class. I’m not really into that kind of thing but the new, open-minded me decided to give it a go. I found it quite hard to calm my racing brain – this might something I need to practice – but it was an hour well spent.

The 2012 version of me would have made my excuses and left London much earlier this afternoon. I’d need to get home so I could drink properly. Only I wouldn’t actually be able to wait until I got home. Inevitably I’d end up in M&S, buying those miniature bottles of wine and G&Ts in a can. I’d drink them on the train whilst listening to my iPod, hoping no one would notice. 

Sad isn’t it? I’m glad I don’t do that anymore. Tonight I am going to buy something nice to eat on my way home, have a bath and then go to bed. I have a lot to do over the next few days, starting with a spin class in the morning. I like this new me.

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41 thoughts on “Some sober awesomeness

  1. Shame Doesn't Define Me December 15, 2013 at 10:33 pm Reply

    I love this post: I totally love how you describe your old self at dinner…especially about being “short changed” in the drink department. When you stop and think about it, what would that extra 1/8 of an inch do anyway? But, I hear you. It was the point that someone else didn’t think we deserved a full glass. How backwards.
    I am delighted you had a great, sober night and a lovely new experience this morning. That’s fabulous.
    I also bought a new pair of heels; I used to avoid them because I knew I would be drunk and didn’t want to make a fool out of myself falling down in them. However, I managed to fall down in my flats, too. 🙂

  2. glenn December 15, 2013 at 10:38 pm Reply

    “Not a brilliant time despite being sober, but because I was sober.”
    This is so good to read as it perfectly describes grateful sobriety. Good for you and thank you for sharing!

  3. carrieonsober December 15, 2013 at 11:15 pm Reply

    This just proves that when we are in the right place with the right people and we are truly being ouselves, then it can and it will be fun again! Yes we may shed lots of superficial stuff from our social lives we previously perceived to be fun but we don’t miss out when it really counts. With sober time under our belts we can really live and enjoy stuff like never before without the panicking and obsessing.
    So glad you had such a happy festive fun weekend. X

    • soberjournalist December 16, 2013 at 11:53 am Reply

      Yes that’s exactly it. With the right people in the right place, life is fun. I never liked making small talk at parties so I don’t know why I thought it would suddenly be easier now that I don’t drink?! I guess it’s a matter of picking and choosing what to go to x

    • Mrs D December 20, 2013 at 5:48 am Reply

      Yes I so agree. This is a brilliant post and a brilliant comment. All just so great, what a totally fun sounding weekend – right up my alley! Lovely. Big ups to you my sober friend xxx

  4. lovinglife52 December 15, 2013 at 11:25 pm Reply

    I agree that going out for a meal and not having the stress of having to drink a lot is so great. In fact, I am far more social these days and really enjoy trying different restaurants, as it is the food and company that are important these days. London is actually a great place to put down the drink because there are so many other things you can do, and feel that filling time to change the old habits is so important in the early stages.

    I really enjoy going out to dinner, especially after the theatre, and it is great to be able to wake up the next day and remember it all in detail rather than trying to spend the morning piecing together whatever happened.

    Exercise, in a group is also a good idea, as it gets you amongst a group of positive people, most of whom, won’t be heavy drinkers. It is a great way to make new friends and get your health back. I do Pilates and run, and both have helped me in simple things, such as feeling energised as well as guaranteeing a good sleep at night.

    My lifestyle is so much better today than it was when I was drinking and I have no regrets about stopping. Life is easy for me now, although I do remember the early transitional times as being a struggle, and I feel for people at this time of the year, when there is a lot of temptation for some. Nobody notices or questions the fact that I don’t drink any more, so I am not so self concious about being sober. Many of my colleagues are regretting their drunken behaviour and resulting photos from this year’s Christmas party and I’m glad I don’t have to worry about that either these days. .

    • soberjournalist December 16, 2013 at 11:48 am Reply

      It’s great actually being able to concentrate on the food and company! I am looking forward to getting a bit more time under my belt, so people start to forget I drank in the first place, as they have with you. It’s annoying to have to keep talking about it and it makes me feel a bit self conscious.

  5. wren1450 December 15, 2013 at 11:59 pm Reply

    A wonderful post and I, too, could identify with so much that you wrote, especially about craving more and MORE all night, and then wanting to get home to start drinking “properly.” How sad, how true, and what a relief you don’t live like that anymore.
    Joan B.

  6. happierlikethis December 16, 2013 at 12:55 am Reply

    Love this uplifting post. All of it. Thank you.

  7. changingcoursenow December 16, 2013 at 2:58 am Reply

    “All night I’d be trying not to drink too fast. My eyes would be trained on the bottle but I’d be careful not to look bothered. I’d let someone else top the glasses up but when they weren’t looking I’d steal sneaky glances at every glass, to check I hadn’t been short-changed.” OH MY GOODNESS …THAT WAS ME! I read this post with a smile on my face. Can’t believe the similarities. I believe that I’ve never had so much in common with so many people as I do with all of you soberistas! That sentence is grammatically horrible. Sorry. 🙂 But I’m just blown away at all that I/we went through just to have a lousy glass of poison. So happy to be free. Hugs to all!

    • soberjournalist December 16, 2013 at 11:36 am Reply

      I know exactly what you mean! It never ceases to amaze me how many of us there are, all feeling the same way and struggling with the same thing: alcohol!

  8. Maggie Shores December 16, 2013 at 3:40 am Reply

    I love this! I love that you wrote it up when it was still fresh, so if you have a bad day you can go back to this post and have a reminder of how wonderful it can be to be sober! Thanks for sharing. Hugs.

  9. Lilly December 16, 2013 at 11:11 am Reply

    Love it! So relate to this, ALL of this. And have so had theses nights when I’ve realised I had a far BETTER time for being sober. This is great to remember at this time of year when it’s so easy to feel like we’re missing out. I did struggle mentally at moments at the wedding feeling I was missing some of the fun but also knew it would have ultimately detracted, not added,to the night. This post also makes me realise in part that was because those occasions (free flowing free booze, lots of people getting hammered) allowed us to drink freely and unemcumbered… But with that always came the other hideous stuff after.

    Yay yay yay for you! You are so solidly, happily, sober. This is so awesome!

    • soberjournalist December 16, 2013 at 11:33 am Reply

      Its definitely all about the people you’re partying with. If they’re really going for it and are totally focused on getting pissed, then people like us are bound to feel like outsiders at times. Just as in the past I have felt a bit left out because I don’t smoke – smokers spend a lot of time chatting outside together! But that never made me actually want to smoke. Drink is just another thing like that, it’s just something I don’t do anymore. That’s how I’m trying to view it. Some people have a problem with it, some people are absolutely fine because it wasn’t that big a deal to them in the first place.
      Hope everything is going well with your extended family and friends from home? X

  10. sobernorman December 16, 2013 at 11:14 am Reply

    Ha!! Great post. well chuffed for ya.

    • soberjournalist December 16, 2013 at 11:34 am Reply

      Thanks! Hope you’re having a good Christmas too.

  11. Anonymous December 16, 2013 at 12:53 pm Reply

    Thank you for writing this blog. I discovered you a week ago yesterday and your story has blown me away. It has taken me a long time to admit that I am an alcoholic because I never related to the alcoholics who drink in the morning, wake up in a strange place, drink a bottle of their chosen poison everyday, or go to AA. But when I read your posts I related to you immediately! And I cried. With relief mostly because I drank exactly the same as you, at night, alone, except my chosen drink was vodka. I could get through 2 large bottles a week, sometimes 3. I’d also go to work with monster hangovers and more recently take days off to recover from another bender. And this post and your others about how you couldn’t really enjoy a night out because you couldn’t drink like your friends and how you’d get home and then carry on until oblivion. That was also me! But I’m now 42 days sober. Day 50 will be Christmas Eve. I am re-reading your entire blog again and all the comments that people post. I think I can do it this time because I have discovered you and all the other bloggers, Soberistas, The Bubble Hour etc……So thanks again. x

    • soberjournalist December 16, 2013 at 1:31 pm Reply

      I am so pleased that my blog helped you. I started writing it to keep myself accountable but it’s great if other people benefit from it too. I had a similar experience when I stumbled across Unpickled’s blog. It was a real ‘ah ah’ moment because I could relate to so much of it and there was no getting away from the fact that I had a problem. Congratulations on your 42 days. Hope you have a fantastic Christmas, make sure you celebrate your 50 days on Christmas Eve! Xx

  12. Jane December 16, 2013 at 2:04 pm Reply

    This is my Sober Day No. 1, so I’ve a long, long way to go. I’m just discovering all these blogs and I’m sure they’re going to help me through it. I can totally relate to what you’re saying. I always make sure my glass is right next to my husband’s when he is topping up, to make sure that I get my fair share and I’ve very quick to snatch the bottle off him he’s got a drop more. What a sad way to live life. But that’s in the past (hopefully).

    • soberjournalist December 16, 2013 at 3:36 pm Reply

      Hi Jane – congratulations on taking the first step! These blogs have been a huge help for me. I would recommend you join Belle’s 100 day challenge (her blog is tiredofthinkingaboutdrinking). It will keep you motivated over Christmas. Good luck!

      • Jane December 16, 2013 at 8:47 pm

        Thanks. I have signed up for the 100 day challenge. Can’t wait to start ticking those days off.

  13. Rebecca A. Watson December 16, 2013 at 2:08 pm Reply

    Thanks for the post. Every word made me smile.

  14. sobermalarky December 16, 2013 at 2:50 pm Reply

    Wonderful post! Chuffed to bits for you. I too recognize the greedy glance, and the train drinking, which was absolutely compulsary. Strangely enough I actually find the sober Pendolino goes faster than the drunk one. I always felt like I couldn’t breathe on them before. I agree totally about choosing the socializing that suits you. I am not happy at house parties or in large groups of strangers, so I am not forcing myself through it to prove something to myself about sobriety, I am just accepting that I am a much quieter person than I previously realized when I was drunk. Really wonderful to hear how well you’re doing, it is Fab-u-lous!! (10)

    • soberjournalist December 16, 2013 at 3:32 pm Reply

      Ha ha yes I agree with you about the Pendolino! It used to make me feel quite sick actually. All that tilting + booze = not a good combination. I like what you say about accepting that you’re different to the person you thought you were, it makes a lot of sense x

  15. soberandawkward December 16, 2013 at 8:03 pm Reply

    Fantastic! And I agree, it’s so nice to be out and not be obsessing over drinks or the next drink. Such a good feeling. 🙂

  16. Debbie December 16, 2013 at 9:10 pm Reply

    Ha, it IS a new you! Wow, I couldn’t be prouder. I’ve been with your journey from the first and you have made such strides. Sounds like you had a wonderful time out with your friends. Sober rocks!!!

  17. primrosep December 17, 2013 at 8:10 am Reply

    amazing view – not just of London, but of how far you have come!

  18. Jane December 17, 2013 at 3:39 pm Reply

    I wish I’d read your blog before I went into London last week. I’d been 3 weeks sober before then, but I started drinking the week before going into London because I couldn’t imagine sitting in Covent Garden, listening to the buskers, without a bottle of wine or two. I feel sad and annoyed with myself that I will never enjoy that again.
    One day at a time

    • soberjournalist December 18, 2013 at 10:54 pm Reply

      Yes it is one day at a time. I did a lot of stop starting at the beginning and couldn’t get past three weeks. Christmas is a particularly hard time so don’t be too tough on yourself. You will get there!

  19. Whistler December 18, 2013 at 8:44 pm Reply

    Ah, huge chocolate brownie. Who knew. Just one of the unexpected rewards of sober living. Now I wonder why desserts are not considered the monetary standard.

  20. Chris December 18, 2013 at 9:15 pm Reply

    I’ve been reading this blog for the past week, working through all the posts. It has been a good,inspiring and challenging read. I’ve noticed that most of the sober blogs you link to are by women. Are there any similar to yours from British men? It would be interesting to read.

    I’m writing this on a train heading north after a meeting in London. Usually that would have meant several glasses of wine somewhere in London before leaving and then at least a bottle on the train. This time I’ve been on coffee and tonic water and am looking forward to feeling clear headed tomorrow for a change, rather than struggling into work feeling rough.

    C

    • soberjournalist December 18, 2013 at 10:59 pm Reply

      Hi Chris – congrats on staying sober during the festive season! You will feel so smug tomorrow morning… It’s true, most bloggers are women, I don’t know why. However Sober Norman writes a great blog (I follow him, the link is on my blogroll) and he is based in the UK, somewhere in the North east. He’s the only one I know! There’s also Paul at Carry the message – I think he is in Canada.

  21. Chris December 18, 2013 at 11:03 pm Reply

    Thanks. I’ll check them out.

  22. Rare Herb December 19, 2013 at 9:16 am Reply

    Aloha soberjournalist,
    I just came across your blog and LOVE it! I am 9 years and a few months into my journey and reading your blog has reminded me of the early times and how difficult it was. It gets much, much, easier. Congrats on your revelation that you CAN have fun while sober! I look forward to reading your journey. I feel a bit inspired to start my own blog now. I had kept journals back in the day but a few years back I decided to burn all of them as a release!!

    • soberjournalist December 19, 2013 at 10:40 am Reply

      Thank you for your lovely comment and congratulations on your 9 years, that’s amazing. I’m glad to hear it gets easier. Life now is already much easier than the first few months. Still got a lot to figure out though. As for blogging, I’d say go for it!

  23. Clancy December 19, 2013 at 9:45 pm Reply

    What up soberjournalist ? just wanted to send you a quick not to wish you the best over the holidays and extend a heartfelt congrats on your recovery.

    I cam across your blog a few weeks ago while getting ready to start my own, have read through it all and found it very inspiring. Its amazing how much all of us former drunks have in common.

    Thanks for the inspiration. Cheers.

    Clancy

  24. lucy2610 December 20, 2013 at 11:03 pm Reply

    Another sober well-wisher here having just discovered your blog. Lovely post 🙂

  25. me December 23, 2013 at 5:09 pm Reply

    this awesome post brought tears to my eyes! yahoo!!

  26. lindsay January 8, 2014 at 2:15 pm Reply

    wow, i’m another bbc news reader, i’ve just gone back through your blog and all my thoughts and feelings towards drinking, especially when you describe the 2012 version of you, are identical. it’s a mixture of comforting and terrifying to see it written down like that. i also work in television (although not the journo side) in london and i’m about the same age as you, so it’s doubly…i don’t know….poignant? it’s tempting to keep writing but this isn’t confessional, or my blog. thank you though – i didn’t know there were blogs like this out there written by young women.

    • soberjournalist January 8, 2014 at 4:20 pm Reply

      Thanks I’m glad you like my blog. There are lots of sobriety blogs out there, all of them very inspiring and helpful. Fitfatfood and All Adventurous Women Do are both our age and at different stages of sobriety. Carrie on Sober is a little older but I love her blog too.

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