A Sober take on Love, Life and London
By Janna Fox
I am a 34 year old, single actress slash bar manager who not only lives alone but has been clean and sober AND stopped smoking nine months ago. I officially no longer belong to any of my old clubs, haunts or social circles.
If I had just kept on smoking I could still hang out on the outskirts of the AA meetings I occasionally go to with the other smokers and still technically be ‘in’ but no, I truly ousted myself from all of my little pockets of society leaving me writing this little gem on a Saturday night instead of going out with my ‘mates’.
At my age you truly start to feel alone when you realise that the majority of the emails you receive are either spam (buy your Viagra here-FOR WHAT???) or from change.org asking you to share the last get rid of Nigel Farage/Don’t Leave the EU/Ban Donald Trump petition you signed out of boredom first thing in the morning as you’re scrolling Facebook and not going down on your boyfriend or anyone else.
Text messages. Ahhh. I get so excited, I never learn, I feel the vibration of my phone; I leave it in my bag for a minimum of thirty seconds in an attempt to enjoy the moment that someone in the world may have initiated contact and so that I don’t look too desperate when the whatsapp ticks turn blue only to have my single hopes dashed by Firezza or Dominoes. Not to fear, I can still buy pizza.
But to be honest it’s really not all that bad. If it was I would have cracked. Nine months is a long time. Long enough to have grown another human, at least now to all of those who assumed it was pregnancy that had enforced my sobriety I can officially prove you wrong. Interestingly I don’t miss it all that much. I get to really watch people now because I’m less focused on my hangover or BDD’s. BDD’s stands for Bad Drinking Decisions and most likely involve 1) sleeping with someone you shouldn’t,
3) spending money you shouldn’t.
Now don’t get me wrong all of these things can still happen when you’re sober (don’t I know it) BUT I certainly do them less and recover much quicker. And interestingly now that I can fully watch people, present and conscious, it’s often like looking back in time at how I used to act when the alcohol enhanced the negative traits of my own personality or my desire to just have a fag and sit down at work blocked my vision of every other interaction that was going on to the extent that I would spend more than fifty percent of my time sitting down and having a fag. Productive. I’m not saying you should not live your life without going through a certain amount of BDD’s, I myself have billions of hilarious stories and experiences that made me who I am today all of which were majority BDD’s I’m just saying that when my life continuously became the definition of one I decided to try something new. Just saying ‘no’.
Nowadays I over spend on tea. Seriously.
You can detox the addict but you can’t stop them drinking tea. The tea section in my kitchen largely overshadows all the other food groups. I’ve probably spent at least £200 on tea alone in the last nine months. I am now physically incapable of buying just one box of tea at a time and when I discover a new supermarkets tea section I can stand there for hours umming and ahhing over which multicoloured box will bring me the most joy. A true testament to the belief that addiction never goes away just develops through time although I am slightly less concerned about this one.
Tinder is also strictly off the menu as a girl who has lived the reality of drinking through practically anything the idea of dating sober is incredibly unappealing. I also got bored of Tinder after date number one turned into a catfish situation (true story) and date number two (same night) was a real life West London rapper-the kind that sells CD’s outside tube stations. I quit drinking soon after quitting Tinder.
Will I ever have sex again? It’s looking increasingly unlikely.
I mean imagine this for a second; I reactivate my Tinder account, find an eligible man, we chat and agree to meet (this only works in a reality where I have somehow not told him until our date that I’m sober which inevitably will be a ‘drink’) we get to the pub because let’s face it it’s always a pub and then what. If he doesn’t run out of the pub on finding out that I don’t partake in anything ‘fun’ he will then question me about it, trust me people love making you feel bad about being sober, my favourite one is ‘why did you stop drinking?’
Why the fuck do you think?
And then the date would most probably either 1) feel judged for their own behaviour, 2) think I’m a mess and not want to take on someone ‘like that’ 3) start talking about how they want to quit everything too and ask how I can help/say we were meant to be/become dependent (there’s always someone attractive you’ll meet that encourages your sobriety normally at the beginning of your journey when they are much further along and trust me it’ll NEVER progress past that first glorious sober fuck-move on) or 4) –the best one- wish they’d met me when I was still drinking because they now know for a fact they would’ve had a fantastic night of sex, drugs and bad decisions.
So I’ll just stay in with my tea. Thanks.