I always find it strange that humans like to scare themselves; spooky movies, thrilling rides, extreme sports.
But when it comes to non-optional scares, we shy away.
No one really likes to do stuff that scares them in their everyday life; dentists, presentations, getting rid of spiders. But these things have to be done!
When I got sober my first few months was a whole list of scary stuff.
I had used alcohol in social situations for as long as I could remember and was totally dependent on it to function for the last 2 years of my drinking. So doing life without it was pretty scary shiz. But I got through all of those ‘firsts’ and some of them were bloody hilarious so to celebrate Halloween I thought I would share a list of Sober Scaries.
2 years ago I went to a sober Halloween party for people in recovery. It was possibly the most awkward party I have ever been to (and my 13th birthday was pretty awkward), I could tell the people who hadn’t had a drink in years, they were the ones flinging themselves all over the place having a whale of a time not worrying what people thought. Then there were the newbies – me and my gang included. We clung to the outside of the hired hall like our lives depended on it for the first hour. By hour 2 we were side-stepping and by hour 3 I think we managed a shimmy before running home and congratulating ourselves for being so brave. Now I go to sober raves, ‘normal’ raves where I feel like the only person not on something and dancing is my fave bit. The thing is, no one is judging you – you’re not on Strictly, so let loose, have fun and dance like no one’s watching (which they probably aren’t).
2. Any social interaction
You know how scary it is going into a party where you don’t know anyone? So you grab a glass of vino for ‘Dutch courage’, that’s what I felt like I needed to do every day to face people, not just strangers, but friends, good friends. So going into social situations without the comfort of alcohol was beyond scary. I struggled to find things to talk about, I thought people would think I was boring – it didn’t cross my mind that I am a million times more boring with a drink inside me, incessantly repeating myself and not being able to control my limbs. Now in social situations I’m able to be fully present, listen and give people my full attention.
3. Feeling all the feelings
I used to drink to numb myself, block out any bad thoughts/memories and just black out. So when I got sober I started to feel again. It was great, I fell in love, I felt happy but I also felt the not so great stuff, sadness, grief. I was like a child learning how to process these feelings without my normal – go to coping mechanism. If anyone’s got young kids or is a fan of ‘The secret life of 4 year-olds’ you should know what I’m talking about. Crying because I am so happy, laughing because I am sad, totally confused not sure what to do with myself – I was exhausted for the first few months of sobriety and I’m sure it was to do with all the new feelings I was experiencing. Just like a child exhausting itself on their birthday, feeling the full range of emotions in one day.
4. Sober Sex.
Sounds you didn’t notice before, expressions you didn’t realise you made.
An all-round horror show the first few times.
Weddings, birthdays, baby showers, Easter, Christmas, New Years. Booze is everywhere! You don’t really notice it when you’re drinking but when you have just given up you REALLY notice it. I doubt all other cultures are unable to celebrate without a vast amount of alcohol – but in the UK it seems like the norm. The first few celebrations I attended were tough, I didn’t know what to do with my hands, with my time, my focus. I drank a sh*t ton of red bulls in my first year of sobriety, which only caused me to not to sleep. Now I’m comfortable at these celebrations, I can drive there, drink water (huge cost saving which means I get to spend more money on fun things!) and leave once everyone else starts to deteriorate. I also get to have a normal day after the night before, rather than nursing a hangover, or having hair of the dog and the full day being a write off.
Living a life without something you have depended on for so long is scary, even my pals who are normal drinkers say they would be scared of going to a party without a drink. But each moment of sobriety makes me stronger, it makes my defence against alcohol greater and it makes me enjoy life like I never thought I would be able to!
For anyone considering giving up drink but is worried about any of the situations I have listed, its worth it. The battle is totally 10000% worth it, just reach out for help and support and don’t give up.