So, today is the final day of Sober October. Which is INSANE. I cannot begin to explain how much I’ve taken from this month. It sounds like a dramatic thing to say to but I honestly think it’s changed my life.
A month ago, 31 days off the booze seemed like an unbearable challenge. One that I thought I was going to hate every second of and be delighted when it was over.
It turns out, neither of those things have come true. I won’t pretend that I didn’t find it tough at first. During the first few days of October I went to watch a comedy show with my girlfriend and some mates and I hated the whole experience. I was unbearable to be around because I was in my own head so much about not drinking (so if anybody that was with me that day reads this, sorry for being a bit of a dick!). That was probably my biggest challenge, there were other times I fancied a drink but after I got over that first hurdle I think I broke down a barrier in my mind.
In one of my earlier posts I talked about how I’d fell into a habit of drinking 3-4 times a week and the effect that I knew it was having on my mood. I’d like to think that I’ve broken the cycle of that habit now. The thought of drinking in the house isn’t appealing to me at all anymore, which is a huge positive for me. I also talked about wanting to the gym at least 5 times every week which I’ve also accomplished and am delighted with. I set myself a challenge using my Myzone belt on the 7th of October, to achieve at least 2000 points between then and the end of the month. The points are awarded based on the effort and intensity of your workouts and prior to October, I’d only reached 2000 points on one occasion. This month I managed it in 3 weeks!
I’ve found this last week of Sober October an absolute breeze. I realised about a week ago that I’d stopped looking at it as a challenge in my head and looking at as just something I was doing instead. That probably doesn’t translate the way its intended, but what I mean is that at the beginning of the month, I looked at not drinking as a massive challenge, whereas now its not something that I overly think about.
To sum up how much my mindset has changed, I knew that I’d be going to watch Liverpool play with my mate last night and earlier in October I was really worried that I’d fall at the final hurdle and ended up getting drunk at the match. But, before the game yesterday alcohol never even crossed my mind. To be fair, it was freezing though, so I was just desperate for a cup of tea!
It’s been great for me away from just physical benefits too. It’s been the most productive month I can ever remember having. I’ve been working on improving and expanding my comedy night. Which has involved me buying equipment to film the events so that I can edit and host them online.
Writing has become much easier for me, I’ve written more material than ever and I’m actually enjoying gigging again too rather than it seeming like an extra stress and something else to bring me down.
Away from talking about myself (kind of), I think I’ve become a better person to be around. My girlfriend said something to me in passing the other day and it hit me a lot deeper than I think she realises. She just said to me “I prefer you when you’re not drinking”. This made me think of a couple of things;
- Am I that much of a nightmare to be around when I’m drunk or have been drinking the night before?
- Should I pack the drink in for good?
As much as I don’t think she realises the impact it had on me, I know it wasn’t something she said lightly. She’s put up with a lot of shit with me over the last few years. It can’t have been easy on her and the least I owe her is to be doing my best to be a version of myself that she can actually enjoy being around.
Giving up the drink for good is something that has been floating about in my head for the past few weeks. I spoke about it with my counsellor the other day and told them that it feels like a terrifying decision to have to make. I would love to be one of those people who can just drink socially and leave it for months at a time, but I think my relationship with alcohol is too damaged. I’ve drank often since I was about 17, that’s 10 years of habitual drinking which I just think is too hard to break without giving up.
That’s my next challenge now that we’ve reached the end of October. At the minute, I don’t have any plans to start drinking again in the near future, but I don’t have a lot of social events (other than gigs) planned until Christmas time, so this doesn’t seem too daunting. However, when I think long term about never having a drink again it gives me anxiety as I always vowed never to be one of “those people” that doesn’t drink on nights out. So we’ll see how this goes.
The bottom line I guess, is that I need to put my mental health first going forward. So if that means not drinking then so be it. I’m so much happier at the end of this month than I remember being in a long time, and that is worth so much more to me than any drink ever will be!
Just to finish off, I originally started writing this blog to sort of diary my Sober October journey, but its something I really enjoy doing and will be keeping up going forward. It’s really therapeutic for me writing stuff down. I’ll also be starting a podcast at the weekend which follows the same sort of format as the blog does, so more word vomit to come!
I’ve had loads of support this month, so if you’ve read the blog or sent me messaged then thanks a lot! To the people closest to home, I hope you can see the change in me that I can feel from doing this month. Thanks for putting up with me through all the dark times and just generally being there for me.
Special thanks to Hannah for just being a better human than I’ll ever be and dealing with this mess of a human. You tell me the things you know I need to hear and that is an invaluable thing to have.