Sobriety / Recovery / Making Life Manageable

he/him/basic cishomo
Hello Popjustice,

A gaggle of us communed in Food & Drink and decided that a thread like this might be nice. This is naturally somewhat sensitive in nature, but I think most of us are mature enough to be respectful and avoid the problematic stigma that persists outside of these pink walls.

This thread isn't limited to just drink, either. Whatever monkeys are on your back. (Is that an Americanism? If so, my apologies.)

Don't self-incriminate.

You're welcome to share your stories, what has and hasn't worked for you, and all the messy life stuff that ebbs and flows with every "day at a time". And we shall be respectful of everyone's journey: remember that no solution is a one-size-fits-all one. Don't be a dogmatic ass, basically.

We don't want to pretend that we are doctors here. Everyone who is dealing with these issues who has the means should seek professional help. I know we have people here who work in social services/outreach, so if anyone has any resources they would like to share, especially those with a focus on our demographics, that'd be great.

I'm at work so will have to contribute more later. And if anyone is dealing with these issues but is not comfortable to share publicly, you can IM me or like, honestly, a lot of other people on here too.

My hope is that we can help each other.
 
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So my life completely changed after Ayahuasca in that I gave up smoking cold turkey. Alcohol has been scarce since, it was becoming a huge problem and the only way I was dealing with work stress. I .. kinda miss it in the sense that I don't remember what I used to do when I wasn't drinking. But obviously I feel far healthier and am grateful to have hopefully stalled the damage I was doing.
 
Thanks for making this thread x

I've been through a few cycles of addictive behaviour. The pandemic actually ended up being helpful at breaking it, and since that I've done 'ok'; I use a lot of music to help me through - most recently a song with the lyric "We don't always get what we want; redefine the pain to something more" has been a good mantra.
 

Mvnl

Staff member
Hello all.
I'm near 2 years without alcohol and overall I think it's going quite well.
Think it helped me a lot in learning to accept anything I feel (still very much working on it) and actually listening to it instead of trying to numb it. (Sometimes just in really simple ways like 'hey if I'm tired maybe I can just go to bed, instead of cracking open another beer that will make me end up staying up for 5 more hours')
My rhythm has changed pretty drastically from never sleeping before 2am/never being up before noon to usually being in bed by 9:30 and waking up around 6.

I think my main struggle is.. well basically anything social? When I quit I kinda said to myself 'if I don't enjoy anything without alcohol maybe I should just accept it's something I just don't enjoy very much/it's just not for me' which in ways has been very helpful when it comes to staying sober, but it also means I no longer see any appeal in any kinds of parties/festival/concerts (especially with the latter 2 I just get extremely overstimulated from large crowds in general, and it always took me a few drinks (+ some oxa's sometimes) to be able to even remotely feel at ease. In part I'm fine thinking 'I'm past 40, I've had those days, maybe it just isn't something I enjoy' but when it comes to meeting new people/dating (which also is nervewrecking without anything to numb my anxiety!) I just feel like... such a bore? Also does not help how socially accepted drinking (and using it to feel better/numb feelings/relax) is, which I'm only now starting to realize really is kinda messed up. But at the same time it can feel like I'm the only one being hard on myself while all the others get to have all the fun..
 

Sam

he/they
Thanks for making the thread @Your Pretty Brains

I’ve been toying with the idea of going sober for quite a while now. Drinking doesn’t really bring anything good to my life, and it serves as a gateway for other stuff more than anything. I had something quite traumatic happen in my family in January which meant I stopped taking drugs completely, and I managed for 3 months before slipping up. It’s so ingrained in going out culture here in the north of the UK (and from what I gather it’s very similar across the rest of the country, too), that it feels difficult to escape from.

I actively like myself more when I don’t drink. I function better, I can think, I eat well, I exercise. It seems like a no-brainer but when all of my friends’ weekend plans include going to the pub, where do I fit in? It’s never just a few pints either; it’s picking up, spending £200 in one night, staying awake until the early hours. I’ve started to realise I don’t even like the feeling it gives me either, but it’s just what you do.

So for now, I’m off everything. I drank pretty much every weekend for 2 months leading up to Hoopla, and now that’s over I’ve told myself I’ll do it for at least 6 weeks and then see how I feel. It helps that my friend is on medication which means they can’t drink for that length of time too, so at least I’m not in it alone. I’m not going to say I’ll do it forever, but I’m in definite need of a reset.
 

Mvnl

Staff member
Looking at it one day at a time isn't the worst idea in general! (I think it's even the AA motto? Not that I ever went to anything like that cause I feel it would only put my focus more onto (not) drinking)
I never quite decided to stop forever, I just wanted to break the habit of having like 10 beers every night that had been going on for a good 10 years or so. (I think in that period there's literally only been one sober night, and that was cause I was in the hospital) 'Never drinking again' just feels too big, which I think wouldn't have helped me.
And with time I am noticing so many advantages, as well as knowing that 'not drinking at all' is probably always going to be easier for me than 'knowing when to stop' so it just kinda naturally starts to feel more and more like 'that one drink is not worth going back to square one'. (Even if sometimes I wonder if I shouldn't allow myself to 'just drink on special occasions' but then it would probably just be a matter of time before I'd pick a beer at home when I can't sleep or feel sad, or hyper, or angsty...)

What I definitely do not miss is waking up thinking 'oh god, what did I text/tweet/say last night...?' because I was basically very uptight all day and at night.. everything came pooring out. Now I still do have to find a way to loosen up without alcohol cause some days it feels like old overanalysing me is now the only part left.
 

Sam

he/they
100%, thankfully I’ve never really drank on weekdays, taking it too far on a weekend has always been the issue. I’ve got a birthday BBQ coming up on the 8th of July so I’m gonna try with some low alcohol beers and see how I get on. I think everyone’s heading out after so I’ll probably just go home.
 

Mvnl

Staff member
Yeah definitely keep it that way I'd say! And though I don't wanna talk anyone into a problem I also wouldn't exactly use me as an excuse for going 'oh well.. maybe I don't drink that much after all'! (This was me all the years being with an ex who'd down half a bottle of wine at lunch. 'At least I don't drink in the daytime!!')

It was a very gradual thing here (at first my weekend just started earlier each week and I just went out more and more) and 'in my defence' it probably spiralled at a time I had panic attacks and it was the one thing that got me calm but then in the long run it's not like I stopped when I no longer 'needed it' cause it was just a very strong habit. I also think for the longest time I basically had 2 modes: daymode being 'completely ignoring any signs of my head or body and just permanently pushing myself too far'/nightmode being 'numbing the completely overwhelmed daytime me with alcohol'. These days I just know 'if something really raises my adrenaline/gets me all stressed/hyper I should probably not be doing it right before I want to sleep' and I'm also getting better at recognizing my boundaries in the daytime. Which I think is all progress I just couldn't make as long as alcohol was the one thing I could always rely on, but it is quite confronting at times because the selfmedicating did make me able to handle and do things where I now realize they might not be for me sober.
 
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he/him/basic cishomo
I made this thread and then proceeded to get drunk the next day. It did not end well, kiddos. Kind of went full-on nutcase again. And i always underestimate just how much of a mental and physical toll it takes now, it completely changes what my mindset is: I can't just "relax" and take it slow when I'm nursing myself the next morning. It draws me into crazy-person isolation/anxiety, and the freaking heart palpitations and shakes, God. And that's why I normally will just continue drinking after I wake up, and that is how you become a shithead.

Thankfully I am sober now, and I'll be able to get my Antabuse back in my body this afternoon.

Anyway. I'll get caught up later. We can do it/sí se puede, etc.
 
I, until recently did massive doses of edibles, up to 300 milligrams, most Friday evenings. But I gave them up a week ago. Was having bad trips and it was making me tired all the time.
 
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he/him/basic cishomo
I, until recently massive doses of edibles, up to 300 milligrams, most Friday evenings. But I gave them up a week ago. Was having bad trips and it was making me tired all the time.
Oh hey me too. I need to stop, it takes so much and then even then, yeah, it's
I've actually talked about the phenomenon of weed "turning dark" after chronic use. Certainly happened to me. It used to give me the kind of innocent joy that childhood was, and I loved that, but overdid it. Then one day I took a hit and instantly felt like I was having a heart attack, elephant-chest-squeezing and feelings of doom. Never fuck around with those symptoms. I went to the ER and I paid $1000 for an Ativan.

Since then it's never been the same. In fact it's acutely unpleasant unless I build my tolerance up to the point that I just feel a little stoned.

I feel ya.
 
I've been drinking way to much lately. I think a lot of it is typical uni campus shennagins but recently I've just been blacking out whenever I drink and doing very embarrassing things. Like, attempting to start fights, having literal meltdowns, running away with strangers and just being a bit of a dick to be honest.

Lockdown got me into the habit of weeknight solo drinking and to be honest it has become a bit of a routine. Like, I'll have a few beers or (most of) a bottle of wine. I also smoke weed but to be honest that's never been as much of an issue as the bev.

I take Vvyanse for my ADHD and it really effects my alcohol usage. It's one drink either feels like six or six drinks feel like one. Then my drunken alter ego takes the lead and it's game over. I had a conversation with a friend about it today and they actually held me accountable and told me some hard truths. It was odd because I'd never had a friend talk to me like that before. I told him I wouldn't drink today.

But I literally just got a text from another friend whose already three sheets to the wind asking me to pop round and stop by the offy on the way... I literally don't want to go but I'd feel like such a dick for saying no. It's almost like I'd hurt him. Maybe I could just buy beers for him and not drink any but I honestly can't be around drunk people sober.

Hopefully we'll just end up smoking.
 
I've always struggled with my drinking. It started off as a way to block out dealing with my sexuality and then ever since I was 16 until a couple of years ago, I binge drank almost every night.

The first guy I "dated" (I say dated, but we were both in the closet and it wasn't official), was horrible for me and as silly as it sounds, even though this was a decade ago now, the whole experience has resulted in me struggling to put myself out there and it's been a source of my lack of confidence all this time. Literally been single since. So to cope with this not feeling good enough to put myself out there after having my fingers burned, I've always used alcohol as a way to loosen up. I'd go on nights out and if nobody was free I'd just go on my own and meet new people.

It resulted in me having really shit friends that I'd met in clubs and pubs who weren't really there for me. This kinda ties in with what I said in the rants and annoyances thread, but most of the friends I've known for years (as much as they say it) aren't there when you need them, they have kids and a family and getting them out is a rare occasion. So I spend a lot of my time alone and that's when the wine comes out just out of boredom (why should I just sit there at home alone like a lemon on a Saturday night because everyone else is settled down - it annoys me)

But anyway, 2021 was where it absolutely came to a head. I was drinking 5+ nights a week, that year I don't think I spent a single day just sober, I was always either drunk or hungover. Long story short I realised I had to do something so I culled all my pub friends and now I drink much less and lots of areas of my life have improved.

But in saying that, cutting down on the booze really hasn't improved my social life, it's just... made it non existent ddd. I think drinking is a huge part of gay culture, and that's why I don't think I will ever stop drinking. It's considered a problem drinking alone, but sometimes I have to go to a gay bar alone and sit there, probably looking like a loser, to get any form of social interaction - otherwise I don't speak to anyone all week apart from people at work. Or do I just stay at home on a Saturday scrolling through my friends baby pictures on socials which makes me feel even worse? The first thing people always suggest is "get a hobby" - my hobby is music and honestly the only place I  ever meet people in person who are fully into music like me is gay bars. I hope all of this makes sense, I didn't expect this to end up being so long ddd

In summary: I've curbed my drinking after years of binge drinking most nights and it's definitely had its benefits in my life, but there's still a deep void there that I somehow need to fill.
 

Mvnl

Staff member
All extremely relatable!
Also the ‘music being my hobby’ thing. With concerts being something I find quite overwhelming sober (heck I even found them that when I still drank) and me not exactly spending whole days in record stores in hopes of making friends that leaves… this place?
(Which does mean a lot to me too and I’d have no idea how alone I would feel some of these days if it weren’t for the internet)
But yeah I’ve also had my days of going out a lot, quite often on my own because I’d just meet people there, spending nights with people I wouldn’t even wanna hang out with sober and well.. I do not miss that part
 

Mvnl

Staff member
Made it to 2 years of sobriety!
There's still some struggles (but if I'm really honest probably none that weren't there to some extend even when I was still numbing them) but overall it's not too bad. Also didn't even realize it was that day till a day after which I guess is a good sign too
 

Mvnl

Staff member
… And then I saw (tickets for) a concert I might enjoy and realized I very likely will not enjoy any of it sober and suddenly this feels challenging again.
 
I've been behaving a lot better this last week. I've been writing lots more and feeling generally a lot better.

I went out Wednesday alone, which I know is typically frowned upon but I had the best time, I felt like I didn't have to pretend to be anyone for the people I was around. I really enjoy living my best party gal life and I geiunaly get a lot of confidence from it.
I ended up hooking up with a guy but I don't regret it. I'll admit it's given me a taste for it and I think I might be about to swap drugs for sex. I've also found myself smoking so many more cigarettes during the day than when I was smoking weed all day. I'd vape but they just don't hit me in the same way. But I no longer feel the need to cloud my vision in order to cope with just... Being a human being. I think now I just want to have fun all the time; but not get so fucked up I can't remember any of it and end up having to be litreally talked off the edge by campus security.

I will say my month long bender did give me lots of writing material ddd. But I never want to feel like that ever again
 
Keep it up, everybody! I believe in us. I’ll put my thoughts in spoiler to not crowd the page.

I’m coming up on 8 years without alcohol in August. That followed a decade of pretty consistently drinking at every possible opportunity. I really thought I was working the “functional” part of the functional alcoholic descriptor — I never missed work or had anyone confront me about my use, so I was in sweet denial and always wrote off the undesirable outcomes as random chance, it’s not like I was one of those drinkers. Except I was; thinking about all the embarrassing things that I did over the course of that decade, I can totally chart the devolution. I guess it feels less profound when you’re living it week by week.

Anyway, I eventually hit a breaking point and knew I needed to start a new chapter, one that didn’t involve alcohol. Fortunately I was successful, not only for the general health/ financial reasons, but because it happened right before I moved into the house of someone I found on Craigslist, who decided to wait until after I’d unpacked my entire life to reveal her controlling, arguably psychopathic tendencies. There was no way I could drink there — god forbid I spilled on the carpet — or drunkenly came back to the house and woke her up by opening the front door too loudly or something. After my lease ended, I fled to my own place, just in time for Trump to become president. There were many moments where I said to myself “You will NOT give that orange man the satisfaction of cracking you.” And other than prescriptions and occasionally taking enough Benadryl to sedate a horse to help me sleep, I held on.

I never worked a program or did any steps, and I guess I’m wondering if I should let myself off the hook a little. If I was trying to prove to myself that I could give up alcohol, one could argue that almost 8 years means yes, I’ve succeeded. And I’d like to believe I could keep myself in control now, like maybe I could have *a* glass of champagne on my birthday (instead of two bottles in my bedroom on a random Monday night). But it’s better to never let temptation strike and stick on the path, because once you break the seal, who knows what will happen...
 

Mvnl

Staff member
Keep it up, everybody! I believe in us. I’ll put my thoughts in spoiler to not crowd the page.

I’m coming up on 8 years without alcohol in August. That followed a decade of pretty consistently drinking at every possible opportunity. I really thought I was working the “functional” part of the functional alcoholic descriptor — I never missed work or had anyone confront me about my use, so I was in sweet denial and always wrote off the undesirable outcomes as random chance, it’s not like I was one of those drinkers. Except I was; thinking about all the embarrassing things that I did over the course of that decade, I can totally chart the devolution. I guess it feels less profound when you’re living it week by week.

Anyway, I eventually hit a breaking point and knew I needed to start a new chapter, one that didn’t involve alcohol. Fortunately I was successful, not only for the general health/ financial reasons, but because it happened right before I moved into the house of someone I found on Craigslist, who decided to wait until after I’d unpacked my entire life to reveal her controlling, arguably psychopathic tendencies. There was no way I could drink there — god forbid I spilled on the carpet — or drunkenly came back to the house and woke her up by opening the front door too loudly or something. After my lease ended, I fled to my own place, just in time for Trump to become president. There were many moments where I said to myself “You will NOT give that orange man the satisfaction of cracking you.” And other than prescriptions and occasionally taking enough Benadryl to sedate a horse to help me sleep, I held on.

I never worked a program or did any steps, and I guess I’m wondering if I should let myself off the hook a little. If I was trying to prove to myself that I could give up alcohol, one could argue that almost 8 years means yes, I’ve succeeded. And I’d like to believe I could keep myself in control now, like maybe I could have *a* glass of champagne on my birthday (instead of two bottles in my bedroom on a random Monday night). But it’s better to never let temptation strike and stick on the path, because once you break the seal, who knows what will happen...

Wow, 8 years, good on you! (Also personally I say: that post wasn't excessive in any way and you deserve as much space as anyone else in here to share it, with or without spoilers)
Definitely relate to the 'shall I just loosen up a little?', like I feel there's a long way between 'allowing myself a few drinks at a party again' (and probably having the worst hangover since I'm not used to any of it anymore) and 'being back at drinking every single night'. There will be plenty of moments where I can still go and say 'nope. Enough'. I want to give myself credit like that. And noone can take away all of the sober experiences I've had which at least proved to me I can do it, and it's not as bad as I thought it was.
But it's probably still a slippery slope, I might enjoy those one or two drinks a lot more than I wanted to, might think 'so this is what I've been missing!', and once sobriety's gone is there anything stopping me from grabbing a beer when I'm really stressed, or can't sleep, or 'just because I feel like it, and why shouldn't I?'? I don't necessarily see myself as a fullon addict cause 'I managed to stop, didn't I?' but keeping up this slightly more boring but definitely more balanced life probably is easier than walking that very thin line again..

Also, even discussing this might be slightly triggering actually. But it does also make me realize how many moments there are drinking really isn't on my mind anymore. Like these days I definitely don't have to avoid the isle with beer in the supermarket, I can just walk past it without as much as noticing it.
 

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