In 2020, life was cancelled. Covid meant we all had to stop and endure lockdowns, instead of the world vomiting out events and people to meet. We had to – (and for good cause) – amuse ourselves! I wouldn’t say that it is just because the pubs were shut or because Netflix didn’t release new shows fast enough but the restrictions did force me to think about drink; what is it that I actually want to be doing with my spare time? What will actually make me feel good?

Is life cancelled? Well it depends what you call life. Two activities that make me feel alive –

  • Seeing mates-just having a chat, a laugh, listening, leaning, knowing what makes them tick, understanding what they do for work, or what they like to cook.
  • Outdoors and nature, breathing space and changes and all the tiny details that are possible to experience just by leaving the house. Nature, green, sounds, sights, people. My legs and where they take me. What I see when I am not at the screen. At some point in the last year I really felt like my mind was mimicking the tabs on my computer. So many things open all at once and with no real time to properly give anything any attention. 

I live in the city and yes there are lots of things happening and it’s busy and things change, but being able to go out and be in the change, seeing the sun rise, queuing for a supermarket, nipping across a busy road – it feels real. No copy-paste, I can’t just “close down” the scene. It can’t be muted, I can’t even turn the volume down.

I am not spiritual and definitely not religious but I feel like the mixture of pandemic restriction and no booze has really presented a limited palette to enjoy life. Even with these limitations (or maybe it’s due to them) I have really found time to properly see what I’m enjoying, when to stop, what it is that I really crave and what makes me feel alive.

Will I find other things to do if everyone else is more interested in boozing?

I am ready to be around people who fancy drinking and I will not judge them for it but I will acknowledge how I feel in the situation and check if I am enjoying myself. If I do find that a pub session is boring I will first check my company–not my lack of alcohol before deciding if I am or am not enjoying myself. At this point in my life I can’t imagine many people who I wouldn’t want to be around sober. I feel like if I am going into a context that only drink can improve then the situation must be really dire. And when I think of it, to consider that any event would be really worth a hangover is actually just weird!  

I know that the question posed to me by a friend just before my 3 month sober day –”Does giving up booze mean that life is cancelled” made me feel like I had to justify myseIf, people like you to have a good excuse not to drink don’t they?  The feeling of being hungover and the feeling of covid are really the only times in my life that I can say I been really physically ill. 

The awful feeling of never ending tiredness, chaotic mind of worry and or memories and flashbacks (the “chronically hungover” as a friend described our generation) – do I ever want to be like that? There are other ways to slow down! I am 32. I am fit, healthy, curious and motivated, why would I want to risk any of that on purpose? There are enough uncertainties, unknown future encounters and diseases. I like who I am and I’d like to continue to be me!

Author, friend of SCPN