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Sobriety is not a dirty word

ByJo Dolan

Being sober is like arriving at a dinner party in fancy dress, when everyone else is in regular clothes. It’s the first question everyone asks: why don’t you drink? It seems to be the same shit with childless adults: why don’t you have kids? My advice is to turn that question around on them and they’ll soon let you sip your Coke Zero in peace, while you consider missing the bowl when you escape for a toilet break. Nobody ever blames the sober person because they’re too busy feeling sorry for them.

I stopped drinking for a number of reasons, but the main one was that I could no longer trust myself when I was drunk. It wasn’t safe for me to drink anymore. Anybody who ignores this benchmark is destined for irreparable tragedy. Without large quantities of booze in me I lead a productive and safe life, with the logic being: no alcohol = zero dickhead. But it’s not as simple as that.

Giving up the booze is about willpower and not everybody has willpower. A bit like common sense. I gave up drinking on my own during a lockdown, with nobody to hold my hand and it was a fucken nightmare. I puked, hallucinated, didn’t sleep for five days, almost shat myself on the way home from the shops and fell into a deep depression for a few weeks. All valid reasons to get hammered.

But willpower got me through.

Craig Ferguson describes drinking too much as a thinking problem, and I’m inclined to agree. Why? Because willpower is all about refocusing your thinking, such that booze is cut from all the equations in your life. Willpower is the CEO of your sobriety and it’s up to you do as the CEO says. As unfashionable as that axiom is these days, if you don’t allow your willpower to autocratically run the show, you might as well give up and shelve a whisky miniature while you neck a bottle of vodka. I don’t recommend either as a course of action. When I was 15 I saw a young woman my age neck a half bottle of vodka and die. I’ll leave the miniature story hangin’…

So, what I’m telling you is this. If you want to give up the booze on your own and lead a productive life, you need to be certain your willpower is robust enough to deal with it all. The withdrawal is nothing compared to all the stupid questions you’ll be asked by drinkers. It’s like your sobriety is an affront to their shitty life choices. Hence, when somebody does ask the question, turn it around on them and ask why they drink, and then ask them if they’ve ever fought their way out of a hostage situation with a broken Coke bottle. That really fucks with them. But, either way, you’ll enjoy your meal in relative peace and not piss on the host’s bathroom floor. For now.  

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