Sober is the New Black
by Rachel Black
A Then and Now Account of Life Beyond Booze
It was 21 months ago when I realised I had to stop drinking. Completely. Forever. Failure was not an option. Although far from alone, I had fallen hook line and sinker for the false promise that alcohol would ease my stresses in life. I was busy, I deserved it, hell, I needed it. Yes, needed it. What had begun as a harmless escape from reality, a pleasant marker of much coveted 'me time', gradually became routine.
Drinking more and more each night became my normal pattern, eventually becoming a necessity I could not do without. It invaded and took control of all aspects of my life.
My social life was planned around drinking and maximising opportunities to do so to excess. The rest of my life was planned around hangovers: nothing important scheduled the morning after, days off work planned to be able to lie on the sofa and suffer my pain in private, loosely rebranding my inability as 'tiredness'.
The more stressed I became the more wine I drank, firmly believing it to be the solution to my problems, never considering it could be the cause. Eventually I could not fit it all in, I could not continue, my life was unmanageable.
My turning point came when the hangovers stretched to 48 hours and once too often I peaked a day too early and ruined a hotly anticipated social event through being too hungover even to stand for a time, never mind drink again and socialise.
I proved to myself time and time again that I could neither control nor moderate my alcohol intake, even when threatening myself with long term enforced sobriety as a consequence should I breakthrough latest rules. .
Eventually I admitted I had to stop drinking completely and acknowledge that failure was not an option.
The early days were far from easy but what a transformation. As the fog and fuzz lifted my
brain sprang into life. Thoughts and feelings poured out, making up for lost time, and I spent time scribbling them down in various notebooks and eventually a blog. Writing served both as an outlet for this undamped emotion and as a reminder to me of how bad it had been, how far I'd come.
I wrote my list of shame too, which detailed various drunken events I remained mortified by. Some I could hardly bear to write down, as writing made it undoubtedly real and impossible to ignore.
My day now continued past 5pm and I had many more free hours which saw my productivity soar. I cooked, baked, chatted and drove without resentment. I had nights out without a price to pay the next day. Life was exciting, suddenly full of real possibilities as opposed to vague drunken ideals.
I was told I 'could write a book' and 'should write a book', I never doubted my ability, time or commitment to doing so. I just did it and published SOBER IS THE NEW BLACK in January 2014. I received so much feedback where many said they identified with every word I had written, stating that my story was their story too, I began a blog by the same name.
My blog has built a following and allowed my to give and receive support and communication with the sober world on a global basis. I've published two further books based on the questions I most commonly asked: 'How to Party Sober' and 'How to tell Them you Don't Drink'.
I was told sobriety came with a full money back guarantee: if you didn't like it, your old life would still be there, waiting for you faithfully. Luckily, I took the leap of faith, believing others when they said life could be good without alcohol.
Of course they were right and I have never once regretted not drinking. Have you ?