Sometimes, it’s hard to imagine a time without alcohol. But for most of us, we managed to live for quite a few years alcohol free and had fun. Becoming sober is trying to return yourself to that state before alcohol appeared, to a carefree time before feelings got involved.
I don’t exactly remember my first drink. I’m sure I sipped some beer when I was very young and hated it. That feeling never changed & I still dislike beer. I don’t remember my first taste of wine but am pretty sure I didn’t like that either. It’s a strong taste for a young palette.So how do we change from small, young innocent beings, alcohol free and haters, into proper wine monsters?
The biggest reason for me was peer pressure. ‘Everybody did it’. It was naughty to sneak alcohol from the drinks cupboard, to drink cheap cider and fortified wine in the park with the big boys. What’s even more ironic is that it was cheap, nasty & disgusting drinks got us hooked .. drinks that made us sick.
When I started drinking ‘proper’ wine, I loved the medium to sweet version, mainly German, with ingenious names like Hock (my friends with more sophisticated tastes kindly renamed it ‘Cock’). I liked it because it was easier to drink than a stark dry white and could soon nail a bottle to myself without being sick. I saw this as a breakthrough as most alcohol made me ill. Did I listen to my body? No, I listened to my peers.
I remember ‘drinking alone’ being described as a characteristic of an alcoholic and so I always ensured I drank with other people. Another herd mentality. It was ok if ‘they’ were doing it, perfectly acceptable. So we drank in packs before we left the house … if we managed to leave the house.
It’s hard to break free, to turn your back on the crowd and do something different. It takes strength, courage and conviction. The ‘crowd’ may not like your decision but this is your life, your choice. Who says your choice is wrong and their choice is right? Why is ‘with the majority’ the safest place to be? Perhaps the majority are making the biggest mistake of their lives and you are a pioneer in Soberdom?
One of the bravest things you can do is stand up for yourself, to say ‘no’ when most people say ‘yes’. Don’t be afraid to do that. I can guarantee you won’t be the only person in your friendship group considering whether they have an alcohol problem. It’s rife, but shame & embarrassment are easier to bury than to admit.
Let’s change the majority rule into looking after ourselves, loving ourselves even? Let’s break the mould for generations to come and make sober the way forward instead of smashed. Let’s make Elderflower the drink of the century rather than Prosecco. Let’s make hangovers a thing of the past.