When I first announced to the world on Facebook that I no longer drank alcohol one of the first comments simply said ‘Boring’…ouch!
After I thought about it, I started to understand why someone would make this comment, I always used to think people who didn’t drink were complete losers who were missing out on all the partying and fun. Of course these people were boring!
However, after 20+ years of drinking a bottle or more of red wine every day I had found the whole routine of hangovers, cravings, anxiety, regretful behaviour and worrying about my health starting to become boring.
When I realised that alcohol had a pretty tight grip on me and I saw that a life without drinking was the right choice, the last thing I considered is whether an alcohol-free life would be boring. I was excited about what laid ahead of me and what a life without drinking would feel like. I could only assume it would be better in just about every possible way.
I am now in a place where I rarely think about drinking, my brain has rewired and the thoughts about alcohol are few and far between. Life is peaceful and much calmer than the drinking days, but is it boring?
No, it is anything but boring, since I quit alcohol I have experienced new levels of motivation and energy, I have found new friends and got involved in new hobbies and projects. In fact, I feel like I never stop and always have things to do.
I have also had amazing new opportunities open up that have only come about through quitting the booze. Working as an Alcohol Coach for This Naked Mind and Annie Grace, running this blog and the Be Sober Facebook group are all things I love spending my time on, none of which would ever have happened if I was still drinking.
There have also been several holidays (we all dread the sober-holidays at the start) and they have been amazing. No hunting for wine shops 5 minutes after arriving and dumping my suitcase in the room and how good does it feel to experience everything being fully present and having clear memories of my experiences.
I find myself laughing more, my anxiety has gone and I am genuinely happier. How can that be boring?
So, I guess when people call us sober-warriors boring, it comes from a place of not knowing what is on the other side.
There are a couple of lads who work for me in their early 20s who don’t drink and I recall at the company Christmas party a few years ago how I was giving them a hard time for not drinking and called them boring.
They danced all night and had a great time, but I just assumed that they can’t be having real fun without drinking. I now know this is totally wrong, we have the best fun when we are sober.
OK, we don’t have the war stories to share the next morning of how we ended up in jail, or passed out in a bush, or had unprotected sex with someone and can’t remember their name. But is that really fun? Of course it isn’t.
Assuming you agree that this isn’t what fun looks like, then what is the fun part when you are drinking? Sure, the first drink makes us feel a little euphoric and tipsy, we giggle and laugh more, but as we move onto more and more drinks our brain is releasing downers to try and balance the huge rush of upper-chemicals it has already pumped out. So we often end up feeling pretty sad and low by the end of the night, this is also what can can lead to aggression and emotional meltdowns at the end of a night of drinking.
I have been to gigs, parties and celebrations sober and I have had more fun than when I was drinking, I am anything but boring. That said, it does take me a while to get on the dance floor but I enjoy it and I remember everything the next day.
I suppose these days I find enjoyment from different things, activities that I probably wouldn’t have got involved in as a drinker. But they are far from boring.
Now here’s one thing that turns this whole concept of ‘boring’ on its head….the drunk people are the boring ones.
When I have been at parties and events where most people are drinking, I have found that by roughly 11pm most people have had too much to drink. When they talk to you the following happens:
1) They talk loudly and repeat themselves.
2) They don’t listen to what you are saying.
3) They repeat themselves – again.
4) The talk even louder.
It gets really, really boring…I often find by midnight I have had my fun and leave the drinkers to carry on until oblivion while I drive home to my lovely comfy bed in the knowledge that I won’t have a raging hangover the next day.
Some of the most interesting and crazy people I know are sober and some of the most boring people I know are heavy drinkers.
Maybe some people are boring, or just introverts and if they are, good for them. There is no point drinking and turning yourself into an extrovert if that isn’t who you are.
So be boring, be sober and be proud if that is who you are.