When I gave up drinking 5 and half years ago, I thought that life as I knew it would end, the parties, the laughter, the falling over in the ditch… but it hasn’t and in fact, I can still outstay my welcome, be the last to leave a party and fall over at any time as required. It wasn’t the booze after all. Here are the 11 things you won’t miss if you go sober.
1) White wine guilt.
You know the feeling when you wake up after a heavy night and you think back to the conversations you had the night before and then it hits you, you started calling everyone a c**t for no particular reason, except for, at the time, you were passionate about particular cause and it seemed like the only word that fully explained the cause – and then you realise that “everybody” included your boss, mother, local vicar and the street cleaner.
2) Lengthy debates about shit that doesn’t matter
I like to debate and I’ll happily argue a point, even if I don’t agree with the point that I’m debating. If the person opposite is a good sparring partner I’ll even argue that Trump is the planet’s saviour. Being sober, of course, I’ve realised that I don’t need to take the debate to its natural conclusion of a 5AM-we’ve-drunk-everything-let’s-start-on-the-Archers-cause-there’s-nothing-left, drunken dribbling train wreck. I can just leave it now.
3) Saying too much.
I was a bit of an over-sharer – I still am to a certain extent. And it surprises me how much people, especially in business will give away when they’re drinking. Secrets and inside info are traded away for another glass of Blossom Hill. Next time you’re out on a do with a client, just ask a few probing questions, they’ll open up about all sorts of stuff that ultimately, sober, they’d never tell and you know what, it all leads to point 1.
4) Having spent the best part of a week’s wages on one tragic Saturday night.
Dear god when I look back at how much money I spent buying rounds over the years, I could have bought a house, a yacht and a reasonably sized pony. Now a Diet Coke (£2) and I’m anyone’s (not really). What did spending all that money get me? Nowhere. And in the morning when I wake and I look into my wallet, I don’t feel point 1. Actually I wrote about how much money I saved here.
5) Grey saggy skin.
Honestly, I’ve not really aged. People always assume I’m still 10 years younger than I am… I’m happy about that. I don’t get Champagne face anymore. That look as though you’ve sat with your face against the side of a patio door all night.
6) Repeating myself, repeating myself.
Have you ever notice how dumb people who drink sound. First off we’d get irate about something and then we’d bulldoze our beef into any conversation and repeat, repeat and repeat until we pass out. We never listen to advice and we just keep on repeating…
7) Night buses
I take my smug (it’s a hybrid, so I feel less guilty about pollution) car everywhere – I never have to endure a chip stinky N91 night bus ever again. Sure I’m missing all the dramz, the light petting, the fights and alcohol breath from other passengers who are just far too close.
8) Spending a fortune on cabs
I no longer have to spend a mortgage on a cab to get back home. Are you hating me a little now, I would, I’m sounding really self-righteous.
9) Piling on the pounds
Before, when I was drinking, I just couldn’t seem to lose weight. Pounds just seem to be constantly piling on, no matter how much I ran, went to the gym or ate less cheese. I’ve lost over a stone and excitingly the weight hasn’t crept on again. When you consider a bottle of wine has 600+calories in it and you drink maybe 3-4 in a week – you’re looking at 1800-2400 extra calories a week – a full day’s worth of calories extra. Over a year that’s 93600 -124,800 extra calories that you’re probably not burning off.
Come wine o’clock – which could be from 5:30 PM in our office, I just wouldn’t get anything else done. My mind would literally shut off after the first sip and then after a glass, I’d become something of a less evil Jabba the Hut crossed with an average British voter (completely apathetic). When you give up alcohol, you can say goodbye to no energy and goodbye to the excuse monster.
For me, the greatest thing about not drinking anymore is less anxiety and general depression. I couldn’t work it out. Every few days, I would get an uncontrollable bout of depression. Really deep and out of nowhere. It wasn’t until I released that it was always two days after a bender of a night that I realised my anxiety and depression was being brought on and exacerbated by alcohol. In the year that I’ve stopped, I have two, manageable down days – as opposed to two a week.
The editor and chief of THEGAYUK. All in a previous life wrote and produced songs on multi-platinum records.