Number Of The Beast

Today it’s exactly 666 days since I last drank any booze. I get married in 2 months so I’ll be celebrating the 2 year mark on my honeymoon. Pretty fitting I reckon, considering that I wouldn’t be getting married had I still been drinking. I was a different person – not particularly the marrying type – but also no woman in her right mind would have wanted to marry that guy. Skint, sweaty, selfish, paranoid, unhealthy… dashingly handsome though so, you know, every cloud an that.

wp-666-588As today’s blog is brought to you by the number 666, I’ve written a quick list of 6 benefits of stopping drinking, 6 tips for surviving a night out sober, and 6 things you should consider doing to maintain sobriety. Hold on to your balls:

6 benefits of stopping drinking:

  1. Lose weight due to less booze calories, better meal decisions, and you may find yourself with a more active lifestyle too, which also helps.
  2. Save money because you’re not spending it all on booze, taxis, and drunken eBay purchases – I once had a load of M.A.S.K Crusader figures delivered that I swear I don’t remember buying.
  3. Better relationships – not just with family but also mates. You start meeting people because of shared hobbies rather than just because you both love to get too fucked up to walk straight.
  4. Sleep. Proper, deep, refreshing sleep. Oh the sleep.
  5. Unfuck your brain. I can remember things much better since I stopped drinking, but I still managed to forget which way to put my underpants on the other day and only realised when I went for a wee. Still some progress to be made here.
  6. Freedom to do what you want. You don’t quite realise how shackling alcohol can be until you’ve spent a few months without it. You no longer need to plan your life around hangovers. You can be available and ‘present’ at the drop of a hat. This applies to creative freedom too – you’ll be churning out new ideas like a total boss. Annoyingly so, in fact, because you’ll be struggling to find time for everything you want to get done.

6 tips for surviving a night out sober:

  1. Drive there (if you drive) so that you can make a quick getaway when people start getting messy. It gets bad when people are telling you the same story for the third time, each time less coherently.
  2. Drink alcohol free beer if you want to avoid awkward questions. People won’t notice you’re not drinking alcohol. Also there are some great ones out there like Becks Blue and Brewdog Nanny State.
  3. Steer the group if possible, so that you can maybe go somewhere interesting. Drunk people don’t need much more than booze and a bit of music to be happy, but if you’re sober you could maybe benefit from a live band or comedian to watch, or somewhere that serves banging chicken wings or cheesecake, or has some badass retro arcade machines like Double Dragon and Chase HQ. Or Shinobi. Or Outrun or Aliens. Or Space Harrier or Michael Jackson’s Moonwalker. Or Street Fighter 2.
  4. Get a nap before you go out. If you’re planning a long-haul night then booze will carry the troops through and keep them powered-up into the early hours. You won’t have this luxury, so a pre-nap will keep you energised like a motherfucking Duracell bunny.
  5. Caffeine. As per the above point, but in cheat mode. I actually don’t mind ordering a cup of tea from the bar on a night out. Some people might think you’re a bit of a wanker but that’s fine, simply throw the hot tea over them causing permanent disfigurement. Now you can be ugly on the outside as well as the inside!
  6. Dance. This one doesn’t really work for me, but I know it definitely works for a lot of other people. Sober dancing is (I’m told) just as much fun as drunk dancing, so if that’s your thing then do that then.

6 things you should consider doing to maintain sobriety:

  1. Tell people about it. It’s much harder to fall off the wagon if you’ve told everyone you’re staying firmly on it. Think of your priiiide maaaaan.
  2. Do amazing things with the money you save. Whether you spend it on new clothes, or save it for holidays, or spend it on membership for some weird sex club. Do something with it that you will MISS if you don’t have it.
  3. Write a blog. Documenting my journey definitely helps me to make sense of things and to stay clear of the booze, plus I like to think it’s helped a few other people out along the way.
  4. Carry a reminder about with you, something to remind you of your motivation for quitting. This could be a picture of your kids, or a photo of the car you’re saving up to buy, or even a horrible photo of you looking like shit on one of your more regrettable binges. Whatever works man, just put it in your wallet or attach it to your keys on a keyring or something.
  5. Play the tape to the end. I’ve mentioned this one quite a few times and it’s still one of the best tips I can offer. Whenever you’re considering picking up that first drink, just visualise where this will all end. One drink leads to 10, which leads to horrible stinky skint hungover mess.
  6. Support others. This is AA’s twelfth step, and it’s got to be one of the most powerful relapse deterrents. Once you have other people relying on you to keep them off the booze, you have a responsibility towards them. AA never really worked for me, but it’s worked for a hell of a lot of people, and I have to agree with this twelfth step. I like to do it in my own little way, by making sure I’m there for mates who are struggling and need a bit of help. For their sake as well as mine, I want to stay sober.

And on that last note, I’m dedicating this blog post to Andy P and Float (sounds like a 90’s dance act). Keep smashing it lads!

Here’s to another 666 days eh.

J to the T


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