I’ve been thinking of my first sober New Year a lot recently.
I was nearly a month into my sobriety
I was still trying to find my way.
As always my mates all came round and for a while it was middling to nearly very good. I was on AF beer, they were on cocktails that I was making for them. We had fun waiting for the count-down, playing silly games and watching crappy crap shows on TV. After the count-down all the teenage kids went out and out came the drugs. Little blue E’s. Lots of them. And my mouth watered getting ready for the E. We were all handed one and everyone necked theirs. I rolled mine around in my hand and thought “I shouldn’t do this but…”
I broke it in half and thought “just half will be okay” but I knew deep down I shouldn’t. So I didn’t. I put the two halves in my jean pockets. I knew I couldn’t join in.
We were playing charades and I can remember seeing them all morph into the drugged up, loved up, mashed up state I loved so much. The game got funnier, they got more wrecked. They asked why I wasn’t mashed up and I admitted I hadn’t done mine. Big boos all round and people telling me to just do it, have fun, its not booze, I should let my hair down. And I smiled. I said it was cool, I was still having fun, but I was starting to not have fun as time went on. And so I went to bed.
And I hugged my knees to my chest and felt lonelier than I can ever remember. In my home, full of my friends. It would make this story better if I could say I then sobbed. But I haven’t cried for yonks I think. So that wouldn’t work. Anyway, they kept coming in to my room through the night as you do when you’re mashed up. Telling me they loved me, stroking my face. Pulling the bed covers off me. Tickling my feet. Getting emotional. Trying to get me to play. And I wanted to tell them all to just fuck off, but I was already concerned I was losing them a little with my not drinking, so I didn’t do this. At certain points during the night I did get up and found them in the living room all mashed and smiley, guys in girls clothes, lots of music and laughter, various states of undressedness, kissing and hugging. Chemical sexual chemistry buzzing around. My idea of heaven. My Eden. It really fucking stung. I cannot tell you how much I just wanted to join in.
I’m telling you this because I did go back to bed. I didn’t join in. And guess what, I survived. It was one night. That’s all.
Just one night. It doesn’t matter what night it was, it’s over, and I’m still sober. I love thinking back to that night because it shows me how much I’ve changed. I’m at peace now. Getting through that night gave me one huge sober muscle. If I could do that night then surely I could do any night. Getting through that night bought me one step closer to the life I wanted and deserved.
I’m glad I didn’t postpone my new life.
I’m glad I didn’t go back to day one.
I’m glad I valued myself enough to hang tight.
Christmas and New Year is hard, but at the end of the day it’s a series of a few days to get through. Days that will challenge you, but will build up your strength for the journey ahead if you can get through them. This year being sober is a way of life for me that I love so much. So I wont be feeling flat or lonely. I will be feeling content and happy.
I don’t want to be around pissed people this year, so as usual I will be working in a refuge over the Christmas season. This doesn’t make me a good person – I just get incredibly bored over Christmas. I will be with people suffering from the consequences of alcohol abuse. I will thank God that I escaped the madness. If this Christmas and New Year is hard for you, please value yourself to hang in there.
Please know that next year will be easier. Please give yourself a chance.