Our awesome 24-year-old vegan Club Soda member, Yasmine, has now been sober for fifteen months, after initially just taking part in Sober October for MacMillan Cancer Support. But why and how did she come to make the decision for long-term sobriety? And are you taking part in Dry January and thinking about sticking to the alcohol-free life too? We asked Yasmine to write about her experience, to provide a little inspiration to anyone who is on a similar path, and show how a sober sprint can change your life. Watch her video interview at the end of this post too, which includes a vegan recipe for the Veganuary crew.
Over a year ago on November 1st, I woke up knowing my Sober October was over – I’d bloody done it! At 24 years old, I hadn’t had a month off drinking since I was about 14 – when my Mum grounded me for getting so drunk I ended up in the hospital with my own sick everywhere including IN THE BACK OF MY HAIR(!!!). A male friend of mine had been seen by the police dragging me along the street under my arms, my trousers had fallen down and I was unconscious. You can imagine how that went down.
When I was sixteen, I leaned out of the toilet cubicle I was in at the pub and nonchalantly told my friend, “I think I have a drinking problem”. She laughed and said, “me too!” and we danced off into the night to sink our bodyweight in pints. The next day I looked up the AA definition of an alcoholic and thought to myself, ‘well, isn’t everyone an alcoholic by these standards?’ and decided I was probably going to be fine. I am not an alcoholic.
Before my Sober October last year, I had tried to give up booze a few times and ultimately decided I didn’t care about myself enough to stick to it. I was miserable, I’d come very close to taking my own life and I felt as though I was in an inescapable rut of aching for change and not knowing how to action it. I didn’t know how to stop myself from drinking, even if I didn’t feel like I had to drink every day. I didn’t know how to cope with real life and my real self.
That October changed my life. If I couldn’t care about myself, I could definitely care about Macmillan. My mum had been treated successfully for breast cancer earlier in the year and, with a suitable amount of guilt hanging over my head, I finally had a good reason not to drink. If it wasn’t for me, it was for the amazing work Macmillan carry out, and what a small price to pay for such an amazing cause.
November 1st rolled around and I was startled to find that I didn’t want to drink. Everything was better. I was better. I had these new things called Saturday and Sunday mornings and I suddenly felt like I actually had WEEKENDS. My mental health was BETTER! I finally understood some of MYSELF. I had no idea who I was before, how did I not even realise? It’s crazy the difference a year can make!
If you are just starting Dry January or Veganuary, A MASSIVE CONGRATULATIONS TO YOU! What a wonderful achievement!
Many people have poo-pooed it to my face but I didn’t think I could go a month without booze, and I’m pretty sure a lot of Club Soda members never thought they’d go that long until they tried. It’s remarkable what you can do when you make a firm decision (and use charity to keep you feeling guilty for even thinking about a drink).
I decided to continue with abstinence from alcohol, eventually committing myself to not drinking AT ALL. EVER. AGAIN. Which was a hard pill to swallow because my whole life felt like it was booze, but I’m glad I undertook it because it gave me the focus to keep going. Now, 13 months down the line, I’m being interviewed about my sober journey and I feel such a sense of pride that I can help to inspire others like me.
I also wanted to share this video where I cook up a wicked vegan meal (handy for people who are doing Veganuary!) whilst my mate interviews me about my journey, in case there is anyone out there who is about my age and can relate to how I feel, or who has started the sober sprint knowing they don’t want to drink but feeling unsure of how to execute that as a long-term life choice.
If you’d have said this would be my life 18 months ago and not only that but I would LOVE my life, I’d have laughed in your face. I hope some of you Sober Sprinters feel inspired to join the Sober Marathon after your month off. Things only got better for me and I would bet the little money I have that things will for you too.
Massive love to Club Soda, I found them a few months into my sober journey but them being there keeps me sane and reminds me of why I’m doing this. They are all wonderful.
Convinced that a sober sprint can change your life, but think that you may need a bit of extra help with your Dry January? Have a look at our Sober Sprint online programme – we’ve even got a half-price sale on at the moment!
Join Club Soda’s free mailing list to be the first to hear about all our mindful drinking events – and you’ll also receive useful blogs, stories, drinks recommendations and more (we promise we won’t spam you). You can also join our private Club Soda Facebook group for accountability or extra support if you need it. Want to know where you can go out and drink tasty low or no-alcohol drinks? Well we’ve got you covered there too, visit our Club Soda Guide which lists the best pubs and bars for mindful drinkers.
And find out more about Dry January and sign up at the official page.