By Emily Sykes, October 2018
Its Saturday morning and I’ve already been to the gym, picked up my dry cleaning, had a conversation with a lady I met on the bus, and made breakfast. Did you know that people do stuff during daylight hours on a Saturday? They go out. They talk to each other. They do stuff.
I decided to stop drinking around 9pm on Saturday 23rd September, after yet another big night out and another day laying in a dark room with a bucket by my bed. I signed up to Sober October on Sunday 24th and started sending the sponsorship link to friends and family who reacted as though I had just told them I was raising awareness for the plight of the daddy long legs.
I’m “the fun one.”
I’m so fun that I don’t even know how fun I am, because I black out most times I drink. I piss in the street, I pick fights with people who look at me funny, I call my boyfriend a cunt, I do drugs with people I don’t know, I take the piss out of you, I outdrink everyone.
I don't wake up and need a drink.
I’m not the kind of person that hits the vodka in the morning and has a bulbous red nose. I don't fall asleep in doorways and I’ve never stolen to feed my addiction. In fact, I can go a week without a drink. Sometimes I don't even blackout. I like to cook nice meals and spend money on a decent bottle of red that perfectly enhances the taste of the food. I can be a genuinely pleasant person to drink with.
The problem is those times were becoming few and far between. The truth is, I had no idea how a night was going to go. It was down to pure chance and I could end up in any state. I was completely powerless over how much I drank and how much it affected me. Sometimes I’d have one of those random lucky nights where the booze wasn't seeming to touch the sides. I got myself into dangerous situations and/or offended the people I love without remembering a thing which I would laugh off in the morning even if it scared me, because I’m the fun one.
I thought being sober would mean that I wasn't fun.
How could I make people like me if I wasn't diluted and comfortable? How would they see my silly side and how would I keep friends if I wasn't staying awake until 9am talking about that time I got a dart thrown at my nose, or getting deep about my relationship with my parents?
Turns out, not drinking is actually pretty fucking great.
Aside from all the results we already know; energy, weight loss, brain function etc… I am more centred than I ever have been. That chaos within me was erased almost immediately after I made the decision and accepted that I didn’t want to be that person anymore.
I’m learning to love myself again, and not only through realising that people love me regardless, but also through just noticing the things I like about me and noticing who I can be without the enhancement. Sure it was weird to not feel that inclusion when everyone was ordering their first beer, but I feel inclusion through so many other (more rewarding) things. I’m able to really be with people. I listen to them even more than I did before, despite also being the ‘listener’ of the group. I'm staring to feel at peace with who I am and although I’m still learning about this new Emily, I’m enjoying every second of getting to know her. I’m reigniting some of my oldest passions and reconnecting with what’s important to me. Plus… every single day is a new possibility. I can go anywhere, do anything, and be available to whatever I want.
Oh, and after all this, I’m still the fun one.