… is a sweary alcohol recovery blog that is written by mid-thirties ex-drinker Jon Tetsuo. Born and raised in West Yorkshire, England, Jon’s drinking career began at around age 15, and continued well into his 30s. An active musician, Jon spends many a weekend recording and gigging with his comedy techno-punk band Petrol Bastard – and it was the party lifestyle that came with this touring which pushed Jon to a point where alcohol stopped being fun, and started causing problems with work, relationships, and general health. Jon made the decision to quit drinking in September 2015, and has replaced this vice with running, climbing, and writing. He relocated to Milton Keynes that December, to be with his fiancee Emma. Soberpunks.co.uk was launched in September 2016, to mark Jon’s first year of sobriety. Since it’s launch, Jon’s blog has received praise for it’s honesty, and it’s non-patronising approach to offering advice and support.
Please see Jon’s first post for a bit more info about the motivations and ideas behind this blog.
Eight Thousand Seven Hundred & Sixty
As most of you know, I’m looking for love. In fact, I’ve been looking for love for a long time but only appear to attract knights in tin foil (shamelessly stolen) instead of the Adonis I deserve.
Recently, I have felt brave enough to get back on the dating scene completely stone cold sober. This is a whole new concept in itself as previously I would turn up to dates half cut after smoking 10 Marlboro Lights (despite declaring myself a non smoker) & hope they wouldn’t notice.
The problem with being half cut before the date begins is that the beer goggles are firmly in place by drink 2 with said date & anything goes. I blame alcohol for most of the utterly unsuitable people I had the (dis) pleasure of meeting in the past. This time it will be different.
When I re-added my online profiles earlier this year, I was adamant that I wanted a totally sober suitor. The thought of dating someone who drank alcohol freaked me out. I was scared in case they got too drunk or if I was tempted to drink or if they smelt of alcohol. Basically overthinking everything as per usual.
But as time ticked on, I realised that I was probably being unreasonable in my demands. I mean, not everyone drinks to get hammered (like me) plus I had already proven I had an element of self-control & probably wouldn’t be tempted by most ‘manly’ drinks anyway.
So last week, I embarked on a date in an actual pub. Where they serve actual alcohol. With a date who was drinking beer. And, surprisingly, it wasn’t so bad. He didn’t get drunk & I didn’t feel tempted & I couldn’t smell it. In fact of all the things I’d unnecessarily worried about didn’t come true.
Following the successful first date, we decided to meet up again & I invited said date round for dinner. This was where it got interesting (not like that naughty people) because despite knowing I didn’t drink, he brought a bottle of my favourite red (Malbec) round for himself & a bottle of sparkling water for me. I have to admit that it was a bit of a shock. I hadn’t really thought about someone bringing alcohol into my flat or how I would feel about it. I also had forgotten the wine ‘ritual’ & about my dusty wine glasses & the whole thing felt very alien. But you know what, after the initial weirdness, it wasn’t so bad. I don’t drink & that’s a fact & that was enough for me.
Unfortunately, I fear this Strong Sober Sister was a little too much for said date & after date 4, I wearily climbed back onto my shelf & kickstarted the search for Mr Right. Again. Except this time I am happy if he likes a tipple or three as I know I’m more than happy on sparkling water.
A year ago tomorrow, I set off on my final drinking holiday ever. In one word, it (I) was carnage.
Of course, I didn’t know it was my last drinking holiday ever but it certainly contributed to my eventual abstinence of the poison ruining my life
The first part of the holiday was with 3 close girlfriends & started, as always, with a large glass of rose at the airport before 9am. Start as you mean to go on eh?! The thought now makes me shudder but at the time it was my own personal tradition & made me feel like the holiday had truly begun.
The hotel I stayed at in Majorca was a firm favourite. I’d been many times before as it’s selling points were that it was for adults only, served gin in a glass the size of a fishbowl & served Prosecco for breakfast. Not that I managed the Prosecco most mornings as was too hideously hungover, but the option was there nonetheless.
On day 2, I got totally into the ‘spirit’ of the holiday, ordering buckets of gin from the bar by the pool. My favourite gin was Hendricks, not a cheap option, and it was going down swimmingly. Too swimmingly in fact. I was proper drunk by late afternoon & handing over Euros like it was Monopoly money. In fact, that afternoon & evening, I handed over nearly all the money I’d exchanged in the U.K, approx 250 Euros, all on gin & a one lowly bowl of pasta, to line my stomach of course.
Unsurprisingly, the bowl of pasta didn’t stand a chance against the amount of gin I was knocking back & I was sick the next day. Proper sick to match my proper drunk. There’s nothing worse in the heat & I was conscious that I was wasting a day of my holiday in hangover hell. To combat the sickness, I drank fat coke & ate carbs & eventually it stopped. But it ruined a precious day, a day I had worked hard for, a day I would never get again.
But did I learn? No, of course I didn’t. A few days later I met my other friends & got way too overexcited. We mixed our drinks starting with homemade Pina Coladas & finished with, you’ve guessed it, gin.
The following day, I was hung over the toilet bowl (see what I did there) in the searing heat. The heat & dehydration were making me feel sicker but I couldn’t keep water down. I remember thinking I can’t keep doing this to myself & I don’t believe I drank gin ever again. My friends’ ingenious solution to making me better was to take me to nearby Magaluf & get me a McDonalds. It almost did the trick until we arrived at our destination beach for the day & I threw up again.
This year, I’ve decided not to return to Majorca, the scene of the crime. My holidays there have always been alcohol fuelled & as part of my transformation, I need to visit other places not associated with my past & do more than lie around a pool all day. I will miss it but I won’t miss the view of the bathroom or the wasted days feeling shocking.
I still think about this holiday, scarred by the hideous hangovers & the monster glasses of gin. Hopefully one day I can visit & change the memories into more happy, sober ones. One day.
9 months is a long time.
It takes a human female 9 months to grow a baby. One of the reasons it takes so long is to allow you to get yourself ready for the impending arrival both physically & mentally, and for the massive lifestyle change ahead. Soberdom is no different.
The last 9 months have been preparation for my new life. Solid structures need firm foundations. I’ve been getting to know myself without the cloak of alcohol. I’ve been ‘trying out’ what the new me likes & doesn’t like & learning to say no.
I’ve tried socialising and not socialising then socialising again. I’ve tried alcohol free wines but prefer good old Elderflower. I’ve developed a taste of things I didn’t like before such as feta & lentils & coffee & sparkling water. I’ve decided I don’t like Kombucha.
The new me can’t lie in. The new me also doesn’t like a late night. I love eating out but avoid pubs after dark. I’ve decluttered my flat & my wardrobe & noticed that the old me had a penchant for floral items to disguise the mess beneath. The new me is avoiding flowers like the plague & is proudly displaying the butterfly emerging.
I’ve decluttered my head.
I’ve discovered a love of walking & Magnums & skinny jeans. I’ve climbed back on the dating horse & surprised myself by buying things such as sportswear & a cagoule & more trainers than I’ve bought in a lifetime. I’ve made friends for life & inspired people to give Soberdom a try.
I’ve learnt that I am emotional .. what woman isn’t? But that I’m not the wreck I believed I was when I was drinking. I’m calmer & happier & far less stressed. I don’t cry anymore because I don’t have anything to cry about. I am lucky & I am loved.
Everything has changed. Literally everything. I am accepting that this is it, this is my life. I do not drink alcohol. My choice is a sober life of freedom from the one thing that was killing me slowly. I am free.
Last night, I popped my proverbial sober dating cherry. Not literally, I hasten to add, but I climbed back on the horse of Tinder and got myself a date.
Dating is a minefield when you’re drinking but feels even harder when you’re not. It’s not a pleasant experience weeding out potential fun/drama/chaos/love, just by a lone snapshot of their face, captured in one millisecond of time. It’s insane how some can people look so different from photo to photo, or what some men think is attractive to the opposite sex.
Common dating site photo themes men obviously think are attractive to women are –
The ‘fish shot’ – ‘me holding a giant fish’ – evidence they are a hunter? Or a fish lover? Or a murderer?
The ‘poking out tongue shot’ – why? There is nothing sexy about this .. in fact it just looks like they’ve lost their mind
The ‘holding a child’ shot (not necessarily their child) – why would you plaster your child or someone else’s child or any child whatsoever on a public dating site. Women are not stupid. If you ‘borrow’ a child thinking this makes you look loving & caring, you are wrong. It makes you look like a psycho.
The ‘obligatory bathroom selfie’ – loo seat up in the background showing a complete lack of basic skills essential for a meet up.
The ‘group shot’ – the entirely intelligent shot where women are expected to guess which one is on offer, praying for the hottie on the left but knowing full well it’s highly likely to be the minger on the right.
The ‘obligatory pint shot’ .. ‘I know how to have fun, I can down a pint in less than 5 seconds’ titter titter.
The ‘shot that isn’t even of your face’ .. and believe me, sometimes it’s worse than all your wild dreams put together .. various body parts, sex toys, plants, views, Halloween photos, cars, stockings, heels, fish (I don’t know what it is about the fish), and children again.
In order for me to pick someone, I scroll past all of the above. Which leaves me about 1% of the population. Then I change my radius. Which leaves me with even less. Then I swipe, hoping for a match. If we match, he’s now one in a million. And then he can’t spell.
If anyone thinks online dating is easy, that you have the pick of the crop, that it’s like being in a sweet shop, you are very much mistaken. It’s more like being in a maze, in the dark, blindfolded, with earplugs in, being spun round and yet by some miracle, you find the exit and survive.
My date last night was a modern day miracle making it through the callous swiping game. He managed to avoid all the photos mentioned above, was within radius, could spell and actually suggested something other than getting smashed on the first date. We met for a walk on the beach and he could actually converse too.
I was upfront and honest about Soberdom and he seemed to take it in his stride. The evening ended with a cheeky snog, proof that I’ve still got it .. I just needed to convince myself that I do!
Sober dating is nerve wracking. It’s like exposing yourself like you never have before. There is no protective cloak to blame if things don’t turn out well. It is you against the world and you have to be strong and convince yourself that it’s worth it, that you are worth it. And I’m slowly starting to believe that I am.