You have downloaded the I am Sober app. You haven’t slept, you’re staying on your best friends sofa. You can see a half empty bottle of Dalwhinnie on the table that is giving you perpetual nausea.
January 7th 2020
You don’t have a job, you’re in the middle of a fight with your flatmates and you had to call and ask your Dad to lend you money to be able to pay rent. This led to him quite rightly asking why you didn’t have money after being in highly paid successful jobs for the past 6 years. And you cried.
You cried because you were ashamed. You don’t want to admit what all your money has been spent on. Alcohol, drugs, Ubers and multiple daily takeaways to combat the headbanging hangovers inflicted on yourself much to frequently. Then you defaulted to the familiar, grabbed a bottle of whisky. Went to a friends and drink half of it yourself. When she goes to sleep go online to find escape by hooking up with a stranger. Have a video call with that person on the guise of being safe, book an uber from Hackney to Camberwell. Show up, apologise for being drunk ask him if you spoke because you can’t remember the call. Ask him his name because you can’t remember if you asked that either. Bang on about how funny your Uber driver was and how you were going to request him from now on. Feel like you might throw up. Then get an uber back with the unrequested driver whose name you have forgotten to your friends because you can’t go home. Order deliveroo to the house. Eat it. Throw half away and try to hide it from your friend and her flatmate and vomit that £25 takeaway – thank god they have a downstairs toilet.
Spend the night half watching netflix half walking back and forth to the downstairs toilet umming and ahhing if you need to stick your fingers down your throat to force yourself to be sick again. You decide not to, because your throat already hurts from retching and you want to lay down.
Now- it’s the morning you’re filled with regret, you still can’t remember the names of anyone from last night. And it’s time to own this as problem.
I am going to meet a friend a dear regular from a restaurant I used to work in. He has been sober for longer than I have been alive. So I am looking for some insight and perspective on everything. I am also definitely starting to feel the fear of going back to work tomorrow. Working in the hospitality industry so much of my time has been dedicated to getting people drunk so they have a good time and I now reflectively have so much guilt for that. I am also scared that returning to a familiar environment around alcohol is going to make it so hard to keep clear of it. I don’t know how to work with this. It’s a daunting journey I have so many questions and so much information coming from so many different sources which is great but the varied education is making it really challenging to know what’s right for me. I almost want someone to just instruct me on what to do and point me in the right direction and send me on my way. Feeling lost.
Friday night November / December 2017
I’ve been running a really successful restaurant in London for nearly 2 years. It’s a great restaurant, I’ve built up an amazing team and because we are based in the financial district we are closed on the weekend so Fridays were BIG. It starts at 3pm when we go to our local pub for a couple of pints before running the evening service, which is manically busy, I’m drinking shots with tables and the team. And then sending someone out to buy booze for the after party so we don’t drink all my stock.
We kick the last guests out and I am already pretty wasted. We play loud music, chain smoke cigarettes, sing horribly to everything, try to dance but fall over get on the bar to Sean Paul and shake my ass in the face of an unsuspecting non English speaking kitchen porter on his first day. He doesn’t return. We do shots of anything, and quickly empty several bottles and cans. It’s 5am and I kick everyone out save for a few who I invite to my flat in Brixton as my housemate is staying at her boyfriends. We buy more Gin tonic pick up a couple of grams of coke and settle in to talk shit for a further few hours.
It’s easily midday. The crown slowly thins out and after drinking for almost 24 hours I crawl into bed and try to sleep. Inevitably I can’t so I order 5 guys takeaway (GOD BLESS DELIVEROO) so I don’t need to leave my house. I have wasted my whole day, half of the weekend and then the guilt sets in. What did I do? what did I say? I hope nobody will remember too much, I hope nobody tells my boss. I hope the team will still respect me. I hope I wasn’t the worst- how could I have been? Everyone was so smashed. It should all blow over by Monday, I hope so anyway, just turn your phone off and eat your takeaway in bed, ignore everything else. You only need yourself, then when you feel better I think there’s still a bottle of Prosecco in the fridge.
I’m going to my first AA meeting tonight. I have shared my blog with 2 close friends. and been told it’s a little hard to hear. And it is also a little hard to write. Today though, I feel clear headed and happy, I slept a semi normal sleep pattern (4 am to 11am) considering I’ve been sleeping through the hours of daylight recently this is an improvement. I felt a craving to drink but it felt more like a need to fill a gap, as though I was bored and didn’t know what else to do. So I watched a music video i’ve been obsessing over which lasts 4 minutes and 36 seconds, then shared that on instagram which took me to about 6 minutes.
Here’s a brilliant fact: the average craving lasts for just six minutes. If you can find a distraction for that time, your craving will diminish.
Loading myself with this knowledge really helped me and then when I thought I’d get bored again I sat down here to write. I’m in my peaceful home haven, occasionally glancing out the window onto the bustle of my neighborhood. and the biggest question I have to myself today is can my hair do another day without being washed? This feels blissful.
July 2008 – Kensington Roof Gardens
You work for Virgin Atlantic and you don’t have much of a social life, so when the opportunity comes up for you to meet some friends from college you do. You can’t remember if it’s for a birthday or for anything in particular. What do you remember? You remember chatting up some guys outside, playing to your friends as the loud brash ‘liability’ they have all come to know and love. You bust out overtly embarrassing dance moves and knock back probably 7 shots of god knows what as well as any cocktail you can get your hands on from whoever will pay for it.
You’re rudely awoken by a bashing on the door. You stir awake and realise you have barricaded yourself in a cubicle of the ladies toilets and you have vomit in your hair. You are refusing to move until a friend comes to get you (sorry Mel) and are screaming at the security guards to ‘GET THE FUCK OFF ME!’ It takes your friends 3 separate attempts to convince a taxi driver to take you in the car with them. They eventually do this by giving someone £30 up front in case you are sick in their cab. You are. Well technically you are sick out of the window spraying vomit over the side of an addison lee. Thankfully the cabby seems used to this and hoses it down with a few squirts from his buxton sports capped water bottle.
You sleep on the floor at the bottom of Mel and her husbands bed. So they can check on you through the night. You aren’t sick but you are completely ashamed. Your friends don’t hold this against you. This seems to be very standard procedure for you and all to familiar for them. It is a source of much of the mornings entertainment. You shrug it off, go for a binge of comfort food at McDonalds and later on have a beer to level out your hangover and guilt.
It’s the beginning of 2020. I’ve been drinking for at least 20 years and I’m 34. I can’t remember longer than 10 days consecutively being sober in all of that time and I am grateful to have forgotten many things that have happened because of drinking.
What am I doing writing another self righteous ‘look at me better myself’ blog?
Because it helps me. It makes me remember why I have given up
Because it helps other people – hopefully. for whatever reason, maybe to make you not feel so bad about your drinking habits or maybe to encourage you. We all start somewhere
I am choosing to commit to sharing all parts of my journey. particularly my mistakes – not only do these make better reading, they also give me ammunition to be better.