Going sober for (three weeks in) October.
‘I would go out tonight, but I haven’t got a stitch to wear…’ Even the most hipster guy in pop had the perfect excuse to avoid going out, and I’m running out. Going sober hasn’t taught me the art of drink-free alternate fun, it’s just made me a recluse.
Firstly, I couldn’t put myself through the agony of a whole 31 days of sobriety. So I’ve done three weeks. Pretty much a month so let’s not go over the top, I just didn’t want to show off. To say these were the most boring, monotonous, and yet productive three weeks of my life is an understatement. Nevertheless I am proud of myself for lasting this long, so much so that I will be drinking three weeks’ worth of alcohol to celebrate this weekend. I couldn’t face going to Butlins for a whole four days stone cold sober. For those of you out there (all four of you) that know me, you will know how much I like a drink. Beer, wine, you name it, and I’ll probably drink it. I don’t even need an excuse, sometimes I just fancy a beer with my dinner, or just because.
So why put myself through this unendurable hell you ask? For you. In the name of column-writing. I needed something to write about, and this challenge was by far the most testing, out of the one challenge I’ve done thus far.
However, there’s a more personal reason I vowed abstinence, and that’s because of my utter shameful behaviour on my last night out some three weeks ago. Having my mates fly up all the way from Bedford, I wanted them to experience how awesome Glasgow is – we wanted a messy and fun night out. We got neither. The night ended in tears, as venue after venue rejected us, and we just went home, downtrodden and deflated. In anger, I shouted drunkenly at many a bouncer to voice my disappointment, to no prevail. Looking back on the night, I realised these drunken outbursts had become characteristic and normal, and I was horrified. Something needed to change, and this was my golden opportunity.
I’d heard from many people (one), about the benefits of going sober. I hasten to add this was not advised to me by a student, but by a responsible and conscientious adult with nothing to lose. As a student in the prime of my life, this was surely the most telling time to undertake such a colossal sacrifice, in the name of art. Going sober made me realise just how much drinking is a part of our British (particularly Glaswegian – why else do you think I came here?) culture, and student life. Pretty much every event and society centres on drink, at least, the ones worth going to. I’d like to lie and tell you that this experience has made me a changed person. I’m still me, (with a slightly slimmer beer-free waist, much to my delight), but frustrated, awkward, and quiet nonetheless.
Drink allows for an escape. Be it from stress, or to heighten a prolonged ecstasy. There’s no doubt about it, drink changes you, sometimes for the worse, and it can be quite scary. Some of the best and worst nights of my life have been drink-induced. But now I’m tired of being met with the morning horrors of unremembered embarrassments from the night before. Basically, I’m tired of apologising for being a knob.
So I put it to the test.
Friday 2nd October, 2015, 9:30pm:
It’s Magic. Haven’t been to Magic since April.
That’s over 153 days.
And I’m saying no?! Magic’s like a good old fashioned inoffensive primary school disco. With the addition of alcohol and arctic monkeys. It’s okay, I can still go. It’ll be fun. I don’t need to drink to have a good time.
Saturday 3rd October, 2015, 10:00 am:
*Wakes up without stinking hangover*. I’ll just go to Magic next week. No point going if I can’t drink.
I won’t bore you with the little details of the next two weeks, all you need to know is my addiction to shite TV soared. Nights were spent watching Alan Partridge and re-watching Alan Partridge. I’m also really into candles. I’m feeling like a less important John Bunyan, (my Bedford namesake), writing by candlelight, spent trying to produce my multitude of essays. There is nothing worse than ‘dancing’ in a room full of strangers, literally peeling yourself from a sea of sweaty skin-to-skin human Velcro, and being sober, so avoiding the club life was easy.
Would I recommend it? For those of you out there that are in the same predicament I was in, it’s worth a try, and my results say more about me. On a scale of Groundhog Day Bill Murray to Uptown Funk Bruno Mars, I’d say I was Dido. This experience has neither depressed me nor uplifted me. And I come out with about as much enthusiasm as a post-election Ed Miliband. (Gotta re-use it, it was so good the first time).