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[ Personal Narratives ]

Beyond The Bottle #10: Debunking The Myths About Not Drinking

When I quit drinking, these were the biggest issues I thought I’d have with putting the bottle down:

If I quit drinking, I’ll never be fun to be around — False

Just because you stop drinking doesn’t mean you’re relegated to a life of no fun. I have a lot more fun now because I’m sober. On Friday night, a friend asked me how I was able to have so much fun/energy without drinking. The simplest answer is that since i’m not busy self-destructing or ruining your party/event, I’m able to enjoy the present moment that much more.

2. If I quit drinking, I don’t know who I’ll be/what I’ll do— True/False

This is half true! If you spent a great while drinking, chances are a bit of your persona/identity is now wrapped up in drinking. For me, it was jarring to separate the two. I know I considered myself a heavy drinker and so for awhile it was touch and go about what I thought about myself and who I might become. Truth is, I didn’t know who I was so not drinking gave me a chance to figure that out. Drinking also took up A LOT of my time. When I quit, I discovered other ways to make use of my time and re-discovered things I liked doing—reading, improv, working out, watching Netflix, actually sleeping, were all things I did and still do to fill my days.

3. If I quit drinking, I’ll lose all my friends —False

I won’t lie. There will be some natural attrition. Those “friends” you only hung out with after 1am on a Friday night, or friendships which sprouted out of mutual desperation will fade. True friends are for life. There are friends who 100% backed my decision to get sober while others questioned it. Everyone that respected that decision is still in my life today. PS — you also get to make new friends.

4. If I quit drinking, I’ll never be able to perform or be creative/artistic/etc.—False

Nope. Doing those things will be scary at first. At times it may seem hopeless and unattainable but that goes away. This is also different for many people! I know loads of people who got to just keep doing their thing as they dried out. For me, in the first year I quit drinking, I think I took nearly a year off from performing improv because I needed that time and space for myself. Since returning, I’ve re-discovered my love for the art form and everything I enjoy about performing comedy. I get the same nerves most people get before a show but I try to harness them instead of being overwhelmed. As an aside, I remember a lot more than I used to. Can you imagine doing a Harold in a blackout? YIKES!

5. If I quit drinking, I’ll never go to a restaurant/bar/club/party/wedding/funeral/etc. — False

For me this is really false. I thought when I quit drinking my life was OVER, turns out it was just getting started. I’ve been to weddings, bars, restaurants, parties, clubs and speakeasies as a sober person. The biggest difference is the why. Why am I going to those places? If I don’t have a credible reason, I usually don’t go. So I’ll turn up for a friend’s party regardless of location as long as I have a purpose for being there and if I go and don’t like it, I’ll just leave. You definitely won’t find me offering to kill time in a bar, but going to one with friends to celebrate is another story.