What I Learned from 9 Weeks of Sobriety

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About Mike Nicholson

Mike Nicholson is a 26 year-old freelance media graduate from Adelaide, South Australia. When he's not undertaking a variety of temporary media and non-media related work you can find him avidly tweeting, trawling the internet for memes or attempting to forge a career in radio. Check out his innermost thoughts on twitter: @Mikey_Nicholson.


  1. I am so glad to have read this right now, as a musician preparing a slew of shows I was hit by the sudden realization that the only songs I have that don’t feature self medicating with alcohol as a major theme are instrumental improvs, and am seriously considering taking a break of my own as a result.

    • Glad to hear you enjoyed the piece Flincher.
      I initially promised myself it would be one month and then at the end of the month I was “enjoying” the experience too much and didn’t feel ready to start drinking again so I thought, what the hell?, I’ll just keep going.
      I definitely recommend trying it out. The first weekend is the hardest, after that it gets easier.

  2. Good on you Mike – I used to be a typical British binge drinker- out clubbing and boozing on Thursday, Friday, Saturday nights, couple of pints on a Sunday night too to take the edge of work on Monday. I’m 39 now and the body just couldn’t cope with it if I tried to cane it like I used to.

    I’ve got a 5-year-old son now and he gets up at 7am, full of beans and wanting to play with his dad whether I’m hungover or not (it’s a mistake you only make once).

    I also have fitness regime which sees me working out just after waking up – push ups, sit ups, stretching etc – which would be nigh on impossible with the heaves (which I’m very aware of). It’s easier living in the US and not being part of the British pub culture but I’ll be back for Xmas so we’ll see how it goes.

  3. I used to drink heavily and regularly. I’d justify it by saying that I just loved having a good time. Or I’d tell myself that it wasn’t an issue because I never drank alone or I’d go days without a drop. But I never had a shortage of people to drink with, including my equally enthusiastically drinking wife. Unfortunately, my ex began to suffer from anxiety/depression, perhaps induced by alcohol, and she lost the ability to control her drinking. It was only when I quit drinking to support my wife in not drinking (it didn’t work), that I realized how much of a psychological and social crutch alcohol had become for me. I realized that I had been using it to avoid being genuine with myself and other people. My ex-wife’s alcoholism ultimately destroyed our marriage. I still drink socially, but I am much more cautious around alcohol and people who really like to drink a lot.

  4. Elysse Kuhar says:

    Well said Mike, you may have inspired me. I am only too aware that I have allowed myself to get caught up in the culture of drinking. As you said, whenever it occurs to me that I should maybe take a break, I also suffer from fear of misding out on something. Thanks for sharing!

  5. Great article Mike! As a mum of three I have had the pleasure of at least 27 months of non-drinking in the past 5 years, and it makes me laugh when people with no kids ask ‘how did you go not drinking?’ I never realised how much I actually missed out on when I was drinking. Getting up at 6am on a summer morning to walk down the beach without a hangover, going out with all my mates, then jumping in the car to drive home while they waited for taxis….. Needless to say I had a fantastic excuse so never had to justify myself, I actually feel sorry for guys, particularly Aussie guys who will never be able to use this excuse!

  6. Mike, great article. The opening exchange described is oddly familiar to me. Although I do drink alcohol, I have chosen for many reason not to eat meat. If you were to substitute drinks for meats in that conversation it would be the same thing I, and many other vegetarians, endure every time we go out to eat. Congrats to you for making a choice for yourself and going against the social norm, and even more so for sticking with it! Cheers!

    • Funny you mention that. I’m a vegetarian and sometimes have the same problem. I had considered writing a piece in my experience as a vegetarian guy but went with this instead. It’s pretty eye opening to see how people react to males who don’t eat meat like there’s something inherently wrong with them. Particularly in Australia.

  7. Jamie Parsons says:

    Good article.

    Here in Australia it’s just as bad, and being a strict teetotaller doesn’t exactly help you fit in. There are people around that originally judge a person’s worth on how much they drink. I can’t imagine what it would be like for a non-drinker to move to a place where he didn’t know anyone. Nearly every social thing is based on drinking. Weekend – out drinking with friends, after work – drink, sporting events – drink, after sporting events – drink, weddings, parties, any event at all seems to be packed with alcohol. And while sometimes I understand the allure of alcohol for these things, other times just do my head in. So much happens at these things, so many good experiences, and half the time I see my friends unable to remember them because they drank too much. Their loss I guess.

    It gets you wondering why you do a lot of things when your mates just treat it as an excuse to drink.

  8. I don’t drink alcohol. Just because I don’t want to. Just because I don’t need to. None of my friends have a problem with this, but I do come across new people who think I’m nuts. But you touched on something that I struggle to understand. Why pay $4 (and upwards. $4.80 is my record) for a glass of weak-flat-unsatisfying soda when you can pay $5 and have a beer or a spirit or a wine. If someone was able to regulate soft drink prices, maybe there would be more people willing to have a break like you; even for one night.

    Great work Mike, keep it up :)

  9. Drinking was never my drug of choice. I’m not a big fan of the taste and less of a fan of the price. Occasionally I’ll have one drink here and there but for the most part I don’t. I have repeatedly had the same conversations to the point where I just don’t go to bars anymore. Plus there’s other stuff I want to get accomplished on the weekends. I have found that a lot of those conversations from people feeling discomfort with their own choices and less about you and your choices.

    I’m lucky. Drinking was never a thing in my family. My mom and dad didn’t drink (dad has been sober for 30+ years). Drinking never equated to fun in my life so when people talk about it as their only social outlet I get really confused because for me it’s this really expensive past time where people can’t even track the conversations they’re having.

  10. Checo de la Cueva says:

    So, Mike, did you go to any self-help group, like AA, or did you take some kind of therapy to overcome your drinking problem? If so, I would appreciate any information concerning this. Also, how long has it been since you started being in charge of your drinking problem?
    All the best

  11. Good article Michael.
    I have been drinking alcohol less and less as the years go by…but even so I find there are times when I order a wine with my meals out of habit, rather than a real desire for the wine….

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