Last night was the first time I have ever found myself evangelising about being sober. I need to watch that. It was solicited on this occasion but it’s a slippery slope, that sort of thing. You can very quickly get very boring when you start to talk in detail about your lifestyle choices and the little thoughts and habits that imaginatively separate you from the rest of those other people over there.

“I’m sober.” “I believe in Jesus.” “I work out.” “I watch a particular TV show obsessively.” “I take drugs.” “I’m an actor.” “I’m a sex addict.” Your choices don’t define who you are. They’re just a part of the web.

With that in mind, I’m going to evangelise about being sober on my blog for a while and bore the shit out of you.

But it’s just saved me some money. It’s almost nine on a Sunday night and I’ve just realised I left my iPad and microphone in Hampstead and I’m filming tomorrow in Chelsea and need them. I’m not pissed though so I can drive over and get them. An uber is usually about £20. So that’s money saved.

Not to mention all the money I’m not spending on wine and beer. That’s the practical bit. I’ve already saved loads by not spending.

Fuck me I still miss a good glass of red though. But I’d have one glass of red and then neck the rest of the bottle, look for another bottle, have a whisky toddy to sleep with, finish it wide awake and have a second. Then I’d sprawl open mouthed until morning snoring my dreamless face off. Then I’d wake sore throated, dry and heavy with a nameless indignance at the very existence of the world and the fact I have to interact with it.

I reckon it’ll be a good year before I can fully reprogram my brain, and it might move to longer if I discover that I truly am powerless, like the AA lot are encouraged to admit. But I don’t like being powerless so I’m gonna see.

Right now I feel good and I’m making change. It’s slow but it’s happening. There’s much to do, sure. Kitcat is still very much in the flat so plans have been pushed back. She’s on track to be gone on the 26th which is only a fortnight after her extended deadline without a whisper of rent. It’s good that I’m saving my boozemoney. I’m looking forward to having the place to myself a while.

So yeah. For me it’s a strange magical adventure, sobriety. I’ve been mostly drunk in the evenings and weekends for the best part of two decades. Turns out I can still have fun when I let myself feel things. The first month is far and away the worst bit. Thankfully I had good influences. Lou and her joyful sobriety. Tristan putting himself through the booze free wringer too. And then there’s Covid making sure that all the tempting parties and press nights and shows where the audience buys you a drink are off the table.

On which subject, I’m having a birthday party on Thursday, but only if the weather is nice. Because it’ll be outside on Hampstead Heath. I’m gonna just show up there at about noon and bring my book and make little friends out of sticks and mud if nobody appears. I’ll stay until it’s too dark and cold. I’ll be hideously wonderfully sober, watching sticks or people booze and carouse safely in the outside world. I’ll join in the wassailing if there is wassailing. I’ll drop a pin on my Facebook and share it with anybody who fancies rolling up, and I won’t be incomprehensible by 8pm.

Somebody might even bring a frisbee.

Author: albarclay

This blog is a work of creative writing. Do not mistake it for truth. All opinions are mine and not that of my numerous employers.

One thought on “Soberman”

  1. Happy birthday week Al! And happy solstice too of course. Finally autumnal here in Austin, way ahead of schedule. Everyone once in a while climate change flips us a good card instead of something awful, this is one of those weeks, it seems. I’d love to toss the frisbee with you on Hampstead Heath….! I actually just found my disc of the exact same size and color yesterday in the garage, so I’m tempted to see if we could do that on Zoom, but I guess it could lead to a busted MacBook screen. So maybe it’ll have to wait until they come up with the 3-D Zoom upgrade. Love your writing, as always — this one made me laugh and then ponder my own relationship to alcohol. I’ve never been a big drinker, I never could keep it going without just nodding off before I’d had very much, but lately I’ve been falling into a two-beers-per-night routine, sometimes followed by a margarita, which is probably an attempt to at least slightly numb the late-night jitters of thinking too much about the grim news of the day/ state of the world. Cutting it out would not save anywhere near the amount of boozemoney you’re talking about, but it does add up, and I’m realizing the alcohol isn’t really helping with numbing or even bringing much of a cheery feeling. Especially when I’m alone on the back porch. There are better and healthier distractions. So maybe this’ll help nudge me to leave the beers in the fridge. Give my best to the sticks and mud!


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