When you go sober, and people find out that you’re sober, there are a veritable multitude of responses you’re likely to get. A smorgasbord, if you will. Some people won’t give a shit. Others may look at you like you’re one of those monkeys at the zoo that starts furiously wanking or flinging poo.
So, exactly as the title suggests, here’s a roundup of the 6 main types of people you’ll meet when you are openly sober:
ONE: The Baffled
These are the people that simply can’t even begin to comprehend sobriety. They can be heard shrieking things like “Why on earth would you do that?” and “What’s wrong with you man!?”. Thankfully rare, these are also the same people that are often found later the same night slumped in a corner, red faced and babbling incoherently whilst they angrily and sometimes tearily ponder the card that life has cruelly dealt them: obesity, high blood pressure, sleep problems, terrible skin, all the while in absolute and complete denial that they have brought this on themselves, due to the drink. The fucking idiots.
Dickhead rating: 10/10 for being a fucking idiot.
TWO: The Curious
Have you ever mentioned that you don’t drink, and then been asked a million questions about why you stopped, and what you do instead of drinking, and how sobriety has affected you, and if Becks Blue tastes anything like real beer, and whether you have been to AA, and if you think you’ll ever drink alcohol again? These harmless askers-of-questions are The Curious, and generally their curiousness comes from a good place: they have either considered quitting drinking themselves, or simply want to better understand those who have chosen a slightly different path in life. Mildly annoying at worst, you should use these encounters as an opportunity to share a bit of magical advice about the benefits of cutting out alcohol, and who knows? You might even make a new friend in the process.
Dickhead rating: 2/10 for mild annoyance.
THREE: The Overly-Cautious
These people are another rare breed, just like The Baffled, but unlike The Baffled they are not self-absorbed prannocks, and are in fact the complete opposite – their overriding objective being to ensure that you, the sober person, are kept as far away from the danger of booze as is humanly possible. Social meetups usually held in pubs are now held in cafes (following a stringent audit to ensure it’s not a cafe that sells booze), meal recipes are suddenly devoid of cooking wine when you’re around, and short walks undertake epic levels of re-planning to ensure you don’t walk past a bar, for fear that the poor Overly-Cautious friend becomes responsible for your relapse, and ends up having to explain to the police that it was their fault you are now in Yates’s with your top off, booting over tables and drunkenly flinging chairs at the cowering bar staff. “It’s entirely my fault officer”, says The Overly-Cautious. “I offered him a sweet, and didn’t realise there were wine gums in the packet. It all went downhill from there”.
Dickhead rating: 5/10 because a Gordon’s Gin advert once came on the telly and you weren’t there to switch it off for me.
FOUR: The Just-Not-Bothered
In my experience, this accounts for 95% of the people you’ll meet as a sober person. They’ll offer you a beer, you’ll say “Just a coke cheers, I’m not a drinker”, and they’ll say “Cool, no worries” and you can go about your business with no further mention of it. This happens more and more these days, which I take as a sign that the world is slowly changing, and non-drinkers are becoming much more common. Of course, this might not always be the reason they aren’t bothered. They might actually have much more important things to think about, rather than spending time pontificating over someone’s choice to have a Coke rather than a beer. They may have just gambled their entire wedding fund on a series of illegal underground fighting tournaments, resulting in a hefty debt that requires settling by next week otherwise the Polish mafia will be coming round to relieve them of all cars, kneecaps, and flat screen tellys, and they would really rather talk to you about options (emigrate, I say) than about your decision to have a Coke. Fair enough.
Dickhead rating: 8/10 if the gambling story is true, otherwise 1/10 for buying me a Coke unquestionably.
FIVE: The Good-Intentioned
These are the people that like to talk to you about your sobriety, but can’t do so without immediately feeling the need to justify their own drinking habits. “How’s the non-drinking going? I had a few cans at the weekend, but it was the football y’know, and then my old mate from Barnsley came over so we ended up going for a few pints and a curry, then a few whiskeys back at mine like. Nothing too crazy though, and I’d usually only have shared a bottle of wine with the wife if I wasn’t going out…”. It’s cool man, just because I don’t drink, it doesn’t mean you can’t either. I’m not the Booze Police… or maybe I am…? FREEZE! PUT THE BODDINGTONS DOWN, THEN HIT THE DECK AND PUT YOUR HANDS BEHIND YOUR HEAD! SEARCH HIM JOE, HE MAY HAVE A CONCEALED BOTTLE OF MALIBU! Whenever someone tries to justify their own drinking habits to me, it does make me wonder if maybe they have a desire to cut down or quit, but haven’t quite decided whether they’re ready to step into the sober life. I know a few people like this, and usually I tell them that if they ever decide they want to cut down, then I’m happy to help. They almost always decline, and that’s cool. At least they’re seemingly thinking about their health, even if it’s subconscious and just comes out as defensive blurb.
Dickhead rating: 3/10 since I’m not really that bothered about hearing about your weekend, but thanks for sharing.
SIX: The Kindred
These are my people; the guys that have been through the boozy-mangler and have lived to tell the tale. Whether they have got 40 years sober, or are back at Day 1 for the second time this week, there is one thing that unites us: Alcohol was causing us problems, and we’re doing what we can to kick that little fucker in the tits. The timing of this article is quite pertinent, as last weekend I was at the Mindful Drinking Festival 2019 in London, where I was talking on a panel about sharing your experiences of getting sober through blogging or podcasting. It’s my 3rd time at the festival, and every year it gets bigger and bigger, which is reflective of just how popular the sober life is becoming – as people realise the benefits that cutting out booze can bring: save money, lose weight, better skin, no more idiotic drunken decisions, become ultra-proactive, enjoy floods of creativity which were previously stifled by the waves of booze and subsequent hangovers, less shitting oneself in public. It truly is a movement (both the mindful drinking, and the shitting), and one which I’m proud to be part of. These wonderful, strong people, The Kindred, were everywhere I looked at the festival. Hundreds of the lovely bastards. Each one with a tale and a struggle, and each one buzzing off the opportunity to get together and share war stories, and witness firsthand the sheer size and reach of such a positive message – that you don’t have to be ruled by the bottle, and there is hope if you reach out. Boom! fukn saved m8.
Dickhead rating: 0/10 coz no dickheads here.
Hope you enjoyed my list. Lemme know if I’ve missed anything 🙂
Peace out you filthy mothers.
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