Health, Hustle + Heart

Semi-Sobriety: Why I Broke Up With The Booze (briefly)

Heart, HealthFrancesca MasperoComment

Today’s post is an ode to all the party girls amongst us and paving a road to peace, inspired by the real and very experienced ex-party girl Tara Bliss.

Oh friends, binge drinking is a British past-time. We all know it and we sure as hell have been told about it. We sit on the sofa and watch the TV in horror as people in drunken stupors make the news, reality TV and international renown. We Brits are good at it. All the while, we denounce it, critique it and express our disgust for this habit.

But let’s face it, we’ve all been part of it, or still do partake in it. After all, it is a big part of our culture. Especially at university.

Truth be told, I gave up getting drunk 2 years ago. Right after my first term at uni was up (read: I wasn’t feeling so fresh anymore). I know, I know: snore! But the funny thing is I actually enjoy going out more now. Stone. Cold. Sober. (More on that in just a minute). 

In an attempt to demonstrate that sobriety is neither boring, nor the only alternative to getting blotto on the weekends, I thought I would share a little of my experience with alcohol. If you're feeling a little wiped out by frequent boozing, head-spinning hangovers or burning the candle at both ends then maybe you'll find this helpful.

Whilst I've never been much of a Party Girl myself per se, and alcohol was never much of a big deal in my home, getting drunk is practically a rite of passage into adolescence, so just like the rest of my friends I started drinking. And I enjoyed it. It gave me a warm buzz, a boost of confidence and was a catalyst to fun. I could handle my drink well and never experienced hangovers. Honestly, what were these bedridden, pizza-eating zombies on about?

Even so, I soon began to hate the frantic beating of my heart from the potent combination of caffeine and alcohol as I lay in bed waiting to fall asleep after a night out. And the hangovers. Where they come from, I do not know, but they sure did make their arrival known. Nausea and head pounding to rival any illness I had felt before. Not to mention the fact that a night out was either made or would rapidly unravel in the moments as the alcohol begins to wear off and my weary body begins to flag. It usually went sour pretty pronto.

By the end of my first term at uni I was feeling a little of kilter. I had been making lots of changes to my diet and lifestyle but being a first year student didn’t really run parallel with these and I just wasn't so enamoured with getting drunk anymore. 

So I stopped.

Not cold turkey, but I definitely cut back in a big way. By the time summer had rocked around I was ready to try my hand at being a teetotaller. It started as a one month challenge but stretched into three. Not intentionally - I just stopped wanting to drink alcohol. I had also become a lot more serious about prioritising my health so it just felt right.

For the next year or so I barely drank, just the occasional glass on special occasions. But around six months ago I started craving a glass of vino every now and then. To begin with this stressed me out a little - seriously, I was having dreams about red wine! - so I chose denial and would take small sips from other people’s glasses (much to my family’s annoyance!) until I had probably drunk more than a glass worth. Oh, the irony.

By this time I was following a sugar-free diet (no alcohol allowed) but I eventually realised that the stress and bother this was causing me was probably doing me more harm than abstaining form the odd tipple (stress ain’t good for the old hormones). I had slapped a label on myself as a non-drinker for my own benefit (I hardly went around shouting it from the rooftops). Or so I thought. Instead, I had just created a source of guilt for enjoying the odd drink.

I decided to just have a damn glass of champagne one evening at a birthday party. Lo and behold, I actually enjoyed it.

So now I drink alcohol again. Not too much and not all that often. But enough so that I don’t feel as though I am denying or restricting myself. I’m still a work in progress - I have a tendency to qwoff whatever drink is in my hand long enough - but I think I’ve found my sweet spot. Semi-sobriety suits me, if I do say so myself.

Essentially, I have quit getting drunk. If I do choose to get a little tipsy, it's because I want to and for the right reasons. I now trust myself enough to stop at two glasses of wine. I can say "no" without feeling pressured into accepting a top-up when a friends comes round with the bottle.

I now know that I'm exactly the same person with a drink in my hand as without, it's just that I perceived myself differently. Because, let's face it, you are not more elegant, interesting or fun when drunk (quite likely the opposite), it's just that your slightly skewed perception, inflated ego, fuzzy vision and misplaced centre of gravity would have you think so. I can be as fun, confident and chatty (definitely the latter) sober as I think I am when drunk, just so long as I find the courage to be myself.

Life when not drunk + the perks of semi-sobriety:

  • More time spent really connecting to people.
  • More opportunities to live boldly without alcohol as a clutch.
  • Fewer late night pizza runs and hospital trips (not me, I promise!), racing hearts, hangovers and guilt.
  • Less time and energy wasted pretending to be someone I'm not. 
  • Creating more self-love and satisfaction in my daily reality. Because that's where I spend 99% of my time.

Here's what I have learnt:

You won’t find fulfilment in booze.

Don’t be afraid to walk your own path.

Don’t allow self-imposed labels or false identities to limit yourself.

Health is not an all or nothing game.

Well, there you have it. Doors wide open. I’m excited about this change of course. You’re invited to join me: semi-sobriety for the bold and curious.

Curiosity Got You Here, Curiosity Will Get You Out
— Tara Bliss

Hit me up in the comments. Spill the beans… similar experiences? Killer hangovers? Morning-after guilt? Discovery journies and reformed habits? I wanna hear them all.

High: A Party Girl's Guide to Peace



P.S. If this resonated with you then go grab yourself a copy of Tara’s book High: A Part Girl’s Guide to Peace. It's good, real good.

Let’s connect. Self-confessed Instagram Addict (it’s the healthy kind, I swear!)? Is that your hand I see raised?


Images via here and Wallace Seawell