I slept with two colleagues, snoozed through 2pm lectures, and flashed two tits on a mechanical unicorn at a staff party. I did it all sober.
Whoever said not drinking while at university is boring clearly lied. I’ve never had more stories to tell – now I can actually remember them.
It was thrd year I started my alcohol-free journey. No one actively chooses to be sober at university, do they? My liver had simply decided I had drunk my life’s share of alcohol in my first two years. Not that I’m surprised. If Snapchat stories and friends are anything to go by, I was well into my Britney Spears circa 2007 era. That is, if you took away the shears and replaced them with various neon hair dyes.
After recently learning about one of my last alcohol-infused nights out in which I flashed two of my housemates, I’m more than happy to admit everyone may be safer now I’m sober.
Ironically enough, both the biggest help and hurt on this journey is my job.
Bartending in a nightclub isn’t the job you’d most associate with someone who’s teetotal, but I’m not even the only one. It actually makes not drinking easier. Not only because every good drinking opportunity usually ends with me behind the bar making money instead of spending it, but because after watching some of the absolute states that walk (or, rather, stumble) through the club, it’s enough to make anyone conscious of their own drinking.
I’m so glad I can confidently say I will never, at my big middle age, throw a paddy, smacking on the bar screaming because I wasn’t the first person served. I will never wear flip flops to a nightclub “because they’re comfortable” and then pretend to be from “health and sthafety” when I manage to scratch my foot from a fragment of broken glass on the floor. And I will never again stumble drunk into a middle-aged man’s arms only to wake up in his bed the next morning tasting regret.
If I did, it would be solely my decision. And I would know it had been my decision when I woke up the next day.
The hardest part of all this is socialising. All the socials with my work friends involve drinking, and every night in or out with my housemates – at least one of them is nailing booze.
They don’t care that I’m not, though. I’m still invited.
I drink cranberry juice – which I’m sure people appreciate. Before, I could hardly do karaoke whilst steaming, could only dance in a club if I’d had many a shot of tequila, and drank as a substitute for personality and confidence.
Now, I have friends I know love me for me, and don’t need me to be drunk to have a good time. Friends I meet for coffee and clubbing. Friends who drag me onto the dance floor. Friends who I drag onto the dance floor.
I can also sleep around and have just as much fun as before. Exhibit A: sleeping with one of my work-best-friends, who, when I was ready to be a little more settled again, became my boyfriend.
So, yes, I can safely say my life has largely improved since being sober.
As much as I sometimes miss a cathartic drink – or drunk sex with the right people – I know I would miss being myself more.