Ten things I’ve learned from the last few months of sober living

Note: I haven’t been drinking, by choice, for the past few months…since around November, 2011. I plan to continue not drinking. I’ve done this before (mostly), in university.

  1. Drinking booze is a great way to mask all of the terrible and sad things you feel day to day, and all of the frustrations that build up. It’s like throwing a nice warm blanket over a bed filled with caltrops. Sure it hurts when you wake up in the morning, but at least you had that blanket there when you went to bed. When you are sober, you start looking around and you say to yourself ‘I really need to deal with all these sharp caltrops in my bed.’
  2. Drinking in bars is EXPENSIVE.
  3. If you stop drinking beer and pop (still working on that second one), you WILL lose weight.
  4. It’s nice waking up on Sunday morning and not having a headache. It’s also nice not having semi-regular puke or almost-puke sessions.
  5. I have to be 100% clear: I have nothing against booze or drugs. I think they’re fine, I’ve listened to Peter Tosh…whatever. I just don’t need them in my life.
  6. There are times when a nice rum and Coke, or a fresh, cool beer are so delicious. I miss those times.
  7. If you go to a house party or a bar and you aren’t looking to smoke up, and you aren’t looking to get drunk, and you aren’t looking to get laid, and there isn’t a trivia game or a karaoke night happening…you have to ask yourself ‘why am I here at all?’
  8. It can be harder to sleep when you haven’t at least had a beer or a glass of wine. My body is strange that way.
  9. Exercise is one of my sole sources of stress relief now. Well, exercise and ‘sexercise’, to quote Vybz Kartel.
  10. There is a legacy of alcoholism, historically, on one side of my family, and whenever I start drinking socially on a regular basis I worry about some recessive gene hiding in the background about to cut loose. I’m not an alcoholic, because I really can just stop drinking (am I right about this?). At the same time, I can’t help but think about it, and what booze means to me above and beyond a social lubricant.
About Josh Bowman

Josh Bowman is a professional fundraiser, story-teller, comedian, and blogger. He has worked and consulted in Vancouver, New York, and now Toronto for almost a decade. Josh improvises around Toronto, including regular shows with Opening Night Theatre, and also blogs for the Huffington Post. You can email Josh here.. If you want to know more about Josh, check this post and this post out first.


  1. Great lessons, now we can learn from you.

  2. Hey Josh, this is a great blog and answers all my questions about your sober living. I would love to discuss this further with you.

  3. MissJuliaJ says:

    My younger brother gave up drinking this past November, too! It started as Sober November to give his body a break and he decided to stick with it. For him it was an “am I actually an alcoholic?” question. Our father was and my brother demonstrates clear warning signs. It’s *astounding* how often people try to get him to drink.

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