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[ Opinion ] [ Personal Narratives ]

Beyond The Bottle #12: Does Being Sober Suck?

The first question I get asked about not drinking/being sober is, “Does your life suck now?”

It does not.

I go out. I have relationships. I function in the world. My life looks a lot different than it did a few years ago — mostly the size and scope of it. It’s way bigger. A few years ago, I hung out with the same group of people every night, in the same bar every night, followed by the same apartment every night. WHAT WAS I DOING? A whole lot of nothing disguised as “having the best time of my life” and “living like there’s no tomorrow” and “dude this is the fucking best, we’re all the coolest! We’ll never get old or die!” Only I wasn’t. It wasn’t healthy. I wasn’t focused on any of the things that matter to me today, only on the next line, whiskey, body. Today, i’m able to leave my house before 9am on the weekends. I run. I workout. I see bands play. I have friends who are successful and ambitious. Some of them drink. Some of them don’t. But I have an actual life and it most certainly does not suck. Are there challenges? Yes. But that’s life.

When I tell people being sober doesn’t actually suck, a lot of times a person looks back in disbelief, very skeptical before asking, “How so?” And the simple answer is that the alcohol was DESTROYING me, so once I removed it, things got a lot better. Some things took time — rebuilding my health, finances and friendships. Some things took no time at all —Sleeping normally, not wetting the bed, getting places on time.

The next question I get is, “but how do you do comedy or perform?”

I guess I just do. I get on stage, say my piece, then leave. It’s not that I don’t get nervous or worry about forgetting my jokes/lines/2nd beats, that still happens. It’s just that now I remember what the hell i’m supposed to say. A lot of my early comedic development happened in a blackout. I wish I were joking about this but I’m not. I did so many shows in a haze. I was there but I wasn’t there. A drink before a show might take the edge off but 5 drinks before a show turns the lights off.

Another question I get a lot is, “Do I have a drinking problem?” I don’t know, do you? Drinking disguises itself as a team sport (you often do it with people) but really it’s a solo adventure because we’re all different (how much can you tolerate, how and why do you drink?). There’s no chart to point to that says if you drink THIS much then you’re an alcoholic, you kind of determine that for yourself. I know a lot of people who weren’t daily blackout drinkers like me who still qualify because of the way they drank. It’s on you to make that determination, no one can do it for you.

Another question I get a lot about drinking is, “do you judge people who drink?” Nope. IDGAF. It’s a free country and for adults who are able to consume alcohol in fun ways, mazel. Hats off to you. I couldn’t, but I know from experience that you do exist — safe drinkers that is — people who are able to have one glass of wine and leave the bottle, people who don’t blackout at brunch, people who don’t drink to annihilation every time a glass touches their lips. I occasionally get concerned when I see things like people ruining weddings or otherwise embarrassing themselves in public because I know that road but I don’t judge.

Another question I get about drinking is, “Do you miss it?”

Sometimes. A lot of people like me recall a time in their lives when drinking didn’t consume it. There were a “few good years” where you didn’t fight strangers, ruin work events or hurt friends and that was fun. My fun times were few and far between but they were there. Sometimes I miss them. Mostly I don’t. In a span of 11 years, I can safely say the bad aspects of my drinking vastly outweighed the good. Put it this way, I haven’t lost my life savings in sobriety.

The last question I usually get about drinking is, “Is getting sober easy?”

FUCK NO. But for me, it’s 100% worth it.