When I stopped drinking, I seemed to stop having fun. Or so I thought. I’ll admit I stopped socialising, I didn’t want to do much other than read, write, yoga, movies. An ex wasn’t a fan of my sobriety. And I get that things changed dramatically, but now I realise it wasn’t me who changed. It was simply our lifestyle.
Someone asked me not long into my sobriety, ‘but what do you do for fun?’. The thing with giving up the booze is everyone assumes you’re boring. And I internalised that. For a long time, I considered myself boring. Because at the weekend I’m excited to write in bed all morning, drinking coffee, and go for a run. I used to be excited about drinking shots of poison and pints of bloaty bread juice. I couldn’t wait to smoke hundreds of cigarettes and snort cocaine off toilet lids in strange toilets.
Since I quit the booze and the drugs and the smoking all day in the sun with strangers, I’ve almost completed a degree that I’ve wanted to do for the best part of a decade. Before, when I was drinking, I was too hungover to figure out the UCAS form. I knew I’d halfarse my assignments and probably still be too high in the mornings to go to lectures.
I’ve become a published author since I stopped chugging pints of Guinness for my breakfast. ‘Iron, it’s good for you.’. I’ve been published multiple times. Something I’ve been feebly attempting, again, for the better part of a decade.
I stopped smoking. Something I’d always end up doing again because I’d be drunk. Now it’s been two and a half years and the thought of a cigarette makes me want to vomit. I’ll never be drunk and accidentally find myself with an ashtray mouth when I wake up.
In the three years and one month since I stopped drinking, I’ve never woken up with a palpable regret burning me from the inside out. I haven’t once been unable to remember what happened last night. I remember every second of my life now. I’m no longer restricted by my inability to drive due to inebriation. I drive all over Devon, Somerset, even Cornwall, going on weird little dates and adventures. I sing in choirs and watch my favourite horror movies. I practise yoga and eat out a couple of times a week with friends in restaurants that I drive to. I get to do the thing I love the most in the whole world, every part of the day. I get to write all day every day if I want to. I hate too much socialising. And now I don’t have to do boring socialising anymore in order to keep my drinking ‘not a problem’.
My life is richer in variety than it’s ever been. My life is far from boring. Do you know what is boring? Getting drunk most nights in the same bars with the same people having the same conversations about the same boring stuff. Having the same drunken rows and the same blacked out regrets when you wake up. Not being able to remember half the things that happened.
We’ve been programmed to think that filling your life with the things you actually enjoy doing is boring. We’ve been built to think that unless you’re out drinking wine with friends, you’re not living a fulfilled life.
Someone even said to me, ‘what kind of quality of life do you have?’. The quality of life I have now is watching myself achieve more goals in three years of sobriety than in the twenty before that. Seeing my dreams become reality. I don’t think that sounds too boring. I think not moving forward, drinking my days away, and being someone who isn’t authentic to myself is really rather dull.