Sober in 2019 will make you take back control

“Come on, why are you going sober?”

“I didn’t really drink all that much last year. It’s not going to make that much of a difference if I cut it out entirely.”

“Do you not want to have the craic with your friends?”

“I do, and was having it until you insisted that I drink.”

“Ack you’re shit craic.”

“I guess I’m shit craic then.”

sober
Oh ho what have we here?

This conversation hasn’t happened, yet. It will happen at some point though. Call it intuition.

Before you read about me going sober I’m going to make something clear first.

If you enjoy a drink that’s fine. My decision to stop drinking is not a judgement on you.

There have been a few times in my life where I have gone months, even years without a drink. Now I don’t know this for sure but I’ll guess that for the first five years of my life the amount of alcohol ingested by me was borderline minimal.

Here’s the thing, I don’t even know for sure if that’s the case.

You hear about how if you want to get a child to sleep you dip the dummy in whisky. Conversely, if you want the child to wake you hold it upside down and make it chug a keg.

Mothers really do know best.

If you’re from Northern Ireland, you notice one thing

Alcohol is everywhere.

You wonder why and then you realise, “It’s all part of the craic!”

“Haha, we Northern Irish love enjoying the craic. I love my Guinness… cause I’m Irish hehe!”

“Hoho, the craic is the 90, it’s not a percentage, there’s not even an official unit of measurement for the craic.”

“Titter titter titter, how’s your father, pass me my vodka. Aho”

“Oh, the organ failure took him, in the end, lol lol lol.”

“Organ failure, more like the ability to have the craic failure, glug glug glug.”

“ROFL ROFL ROFL As he lay, breathing his last. My mother watching the man she loved transition from being alive to a hollow husk of rotten meat. Brother leans in to dad and asks him, “What’s on your mind?”

“I’m gasping for a pint!”. father mutters and breathed his last. With that, he voided his bowels with such force that he propelled his soul towards those pearly gates. Father’s spirit, manifest by the love of Virgin Mary and Baby Jesus Wearing Sunglasses, proclaims to St Peter “Mine’s a pint!” Hopefully, he isn’t too swalled, and St Petey lets him on in.”

“You’re da is officially nay bantz, what a loser.”

Wedgie his corpse

Again, if you enjoy a drink, that’s cool.

Everybody loves a drink, so why don’t you?

You can’t blame the Irish and the Northern Irish for enjoying a drink. We are born into cold, damp, darkness, live through that only to return to it at the end of our lives.

You need to have some respite from the grimness of living.

I’m no different. I enjoy it too. I drank way too much during University.

The worst night, I remember waking up in the shower. By the time I got back to my room, it was 7 am according to my phone. Drunk me had managed to upchuck in my bed, on my textbooks, notepads and best of all my work shoes. It was the worlds worst treasure hunt.

You know what’s worse than being sick all over your room?

Being shit craic.

It became a good story. Told it the next time I was out.

Everyone believes I’m Captain Drinkerson Mc90Craic.

Everyone laughs.

Now, my friend, he was not so lucky.

At the end of his crazy night out, he died. Didn’t have a story to tell, in fact, he became the story. Not many lads took the craic to such a level that they died.

It was a novelty.

It’s not such a novelty anymore. Two more joined him not long after.

Three lads.

Gone.

Three lads from my year in school.

Dead.

Drink involved.

All Dead.

One from exposure, one “fell asleep at the wheel” and one choked on his own vomit.

Now you’re probably reading this, maybe you know who I’m talking about. You feel your body tightening. You’re getting angry. Angry because I’m not treating their deaths with the solemnity that you think they deserve.

You could be right.

Answer me this though, what’s more offensive? Words you don’t think are appropriate or lives unnecessarily cut short?

You tell me.

Now, let me be clear. These deaths have not influenced my decision to go sober this year. I drank on after they had shuffled off this mortal coil.

The point that I’m trying to make is as follows: You and I don’t fully comprehend how much we take our lives in our hands on a night out. Especially when we’re proving to friends we’re toppermost craic.

You’ve probably had a few close calls yourself.

I know I have.

If you survive a night out, it’s all “hoho rounds on me”. If you don’t, it’s all “So sad, so sad, unavoidable, nobodies fault, so sad.”

For my friend, the difference between a good night and his last night was which direction he walked. Would he have made the correct decision had he had less to drink?

We’ll never know.

Again, if you enjoy a drink, that’s cool.

Oh, we’ll drink a drink, a drink.

Sober
Look who it is lads!

Now everything wrong with my life is my fault. That may or may not be true. The alternative to owning your faults is that everything is up to chance and what happens to us is up to fate.

The better path is the one where you give yourself a little agency.

I have made bad decisions in my life. Looking back it appears that alcohol is at least a consultant on some of those bad decisions.

Booze has not been the sole contributing factor. If anything booze is like the guys from “The Staircase” or “The Jinx”. They’re innocent but it’s a bit coincidental that they’re nearby when bad things happen.

You probably think that this has to do with me having control. You know what? You’re probably right. I like to be in control of myself.

Such a crime.

You go out drinking.

You do it every Friday and Saturday, recover on Sunday. I’ve read your status’, don’t try to lie.

Have you ever asked yourself, what is the point in this?

I know I have.

In fact, the little voice that did started small.

“Kieran, come on what are you doing?” it would ask as I scanned the crowded clubs looking for my party.

“Kieran! This is money that you could have had,” it says again. Now I’m in the middle of the dancefloor. No sign of friends. My lanky body being used as a navigation point for the vertically challenged of Belfast.

“KIERAN! You’re not even going to get drunk at this point. Just take the money out and throw it on the floor for all the good it’s doing. FUCK!” it scolds as I stand near the coat check. I still haven’t found my friends when suddenly it dawns on me.

I came alone.

Not into the club. Into this world and that is how I will exit it. Let me, for the love of all that is mortal, be aware of it at least. These people, they don’t drink to put fire in their belly. They do so to douse the flames in their mind. That all-consuming fire called awareness.

I want to be aware for as long as I can be before slipping back into the eternal ignorance.

Drink and I have had our day.

We started off like Brad and Jeniffer instead we ended up like Brad and Angelina.

It’s not enjoyable anymore.

If I were a liar, I’d say “Aw the hangovers at my age haha”. Since I switched to gin, it’s not an issue.

It seems like I need to repeat this again and again, but if you have read this and still want a drink, that’s cool. You probably are doing better than me. This is your one release, and I respect that.

And now the point

You’ve been reading, thank you, but you’re wondering, what the fuck is the point of this?

Here it is:

I’ll respect your choice to drink. Would you mind respecting my choice not to because it will make life so much smoother for both of us.

It’s not for religious reasons, it’s not because I lack control when I do drink. It’s not dietary either, it’s maybe a little for dietary. There is a financial element in there. That doesn’t mean buy me a drink, don’t give me one even if it costs you nothing. I will dispose of it somehow. If that means I have to be a prick about it, that’s fine. I’ve been a prick before, it’s actually not the worst.

Please don’t buy or offer me a drink.

It’s not that I can’t say no.

I can say no, it’s how I say no that will cause problems.

Last Round

Let me be clear. I know that alcohol is so integral to the Northern Irish personality that I’m really setting myself up for a difficult time of it.  So integrated that people take a refusal to join the crowd as a slight against them.

I know how people treat non-drinkers on nights out. I’m not looking forward to it. I have some stags and weddings this year.

Again, if you enjoy a drink, that’s cool.

Can we respect each other’s choices?

Will you drink to that.

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