A Year After Sobriety

This week marks a year since I started working on my relationship with alcohol. Before we launch into it: to confirm, I am not currently sober. I initially went sober for 100 days, and now do periods of sobriety to check in with myself and to confirm that I still feel in control of my drinking. I won’t lie, it feels absolutely unreal writing that down – if you’d told my twenty year-old self that this would be something I would be tackling in two years time, I’d have had my jaw hanging open. I knew I had a complex relationship with alcohol at that point, but I wouldn’t have called it a problem. Only middle aged men with ruddy faces and pot bellies have an alcohol problem, no? And no one in my family is an alcoholic so how could I possibly be?? The attitude I held at that time just illustrates what a long way I’ve come in a year.

Unsurprisingly, alcoholism and problematic drinking doesn’t just affect middle aged men or hardcore sommeliers. According to research performed in 2016, the median age of those in alcohol treatment in the UK is 46, which suggests that there are many more young adults seeking help than one would expect. I’ve met a doctor who said he diagnosed a twelve year-old with alcoholism at one point in his career. It can also affect twenty one year-old women, fresh out of university, starting their dream career and in a happy relationship. So this time last year, this week exactly in fact, I had a massive personal scare that led to a huge upheaval in my life. I realised very quickly that drinking was jeopardising my relationships with friends, family and partners, and the only way to resolve this was to sober up. I made a video about my relationship with alcohol that garnered a lot of attention, and remains one of my most viewed videos to date.

It wont surprise you to hear that I’ve learned a lot this year, about myself and on observations about society as a whole. Most notably: we’re a society built on the sauce. As someone who had depended on it in social situations, quitting sucked. I did, however, quickly discover the benefits; I looked and felt healthier, my willpower was strengthened, I was no longer intimidated by alcohol-filled environments. I got over my breakup faster as I had to process everything head-on. All of the new relationships I embarked on weren’t built on the unsteady foundations of alcohol-fuelled dates and drunk sex. And the greatest blessing: no more hangovers. Honestly, waking up every day clear-headed was wonderful, and I started to wonder how I passed my degree when living in a perpetual hangover. I became a better, more self-aware version of myself, I got my work done faster and better than before and I really loved and appreciated myself. It was a really beautiful period of my life, and sobriety provided peace in all the emotional turmoil.

When I went sober, I made a pact with myself that I would never glorify alcohol on my social profiles again. I recently searched the work “drunk” in my Twitter history and you wouldn’t believe how many hours I spent tweeting as an intoxicated a teenager and how cool I thought it was. I’d mention it so much online, along with making many videos in which I was drunk, that it actually became part of my online persona to be “into” alcohol. If I didn’t manage to upload one week, people would assume I was hungover. Kind of sad, in a way.

When I went sober, it felt like alcohol was everywhere. Kind of like, I’d imagine, when pregnant women start noticing other pregnant women all over the city where they once weren’t. It wasn’t easy, so I wanted, and still try to, provide a space where there isn’t going to be an Instagram of a glass of wine on a Friday night, or where I jokingly tweet about my incapable hungover body without highlighting the relentless anxiety I am feeling the morning after. This once extended to not talking about alcohol at all, even in a sobriety context, but I’ve since realised that it’s important to talk about my experiences. When I initially spoke about my relationship with alcohol online, I received hundreds and hundreds of messages from people who were also struggling and who’s loved ones were afflicted and it confirmed that I couldn’t just stop talking about it entirely. As a twenty-something woman, I could offer the hope that I couldn’t find when I spent hours on Google looking for someone like me who didn’t understand how to handle her relationship with substance abuse.

I’m no spokesperson for sobriety, and I never wanted to be – I still drink, and fundamentally, I’m still working things out for myself. However I still want to help others as best I can; I’m a point of contact for friends and mutuals with alcohol problems and try to guide them to professional and community-based help, I have an open inbox on Tumblr for anyone to vent their concerns and frustrations with their own drinking patterns, I speak publicly about my own experiences and encourage events to provide non-alcoholic options for their guests. It’s all baby steps, but in reality alcohol dependence is best dealt with by taking baby steps. “Just for today” is a mantra of Alcoholics Anonymous, one of the most successful programmes for rehabilitation. Take it a day at a time and you will be able to climb the mountain.

Re-evaluating my relationship with alcohol was tough, but confronting it head on is the best thing I’ve done for myself. If you struggle with alcohol, please see the links at the bottom of this post and don’t be afraid to speak about it. A year later, it was still the best decision I’ve ever made.

If you’re looking for help with alcohol or substance abuse, these websites can help:

https://www.drinkaware.co.uk/alcohol-support-services/

https://www.alcoholics-anonymous.org.uk/About-AA/Newcomers

https://www.nhs.uk/Livewell/alcohol/Pages/Alcoholsupport.aspx

https://www.samaritans.org/

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21 Comments

  1. November 20, 2017 / 8:10 am

    It’s so important to see younger people talk about unhealthy relationships with substances! Breaking the stereotypes of what somebody with a problem is will lead to so many more people searching for help! Thank you so much!!

  2. November 20, 2017 / 9:04 am

    This is amazing you’re so inspiring. So glad you managed to overcome it and take control. Keep it up you’re doing brilliant.

  3. Nicole
    November 20, 2017 / 9:11 am

    Wonderful Lucy! You are such a self reflecting and strong women. I love reading your blog.

  4. Lena
    November 20, 2017 / 9:31 am

    What a nice read Lucy! I’m so happy you’re figuring things out for yourself. Keep it up ❤️

  5. November 20, 2017 / 9:39 am

    This may seem like a random out of context comment, but it’s responding to something you posted ages ago on the subject of your relationship with alcohol that I never commented on, so it is relevant, honestly…

    Angostura bitters are 45% alcohol by volume!! That’s the same as spirits…

    • Lucy Moon
      November 20, 2017 / 4:15 pm

      Angostura bitters is designed to be used in droplets, literally a splash on your food is all the packaging enables you to use. It’s like a balsamic vinegar or equivalent condiment – you couldn’t add enough to make any dish even remotely alcoholic!

      • Clare
        November 21, 2017 / 1:34 pm

        Yup in NZ it is common for bars to sell lemon lime and bitters (using drops of Angostura bitters) as a non-alcoholic drink, anyone underage could order it no problem.

      • November 22, 2017 / 3:05 am

        Ah, fair enough – in those quantities it’s neither here nor there. But certainly recovering alcoholics – people whose relationship with alcohol is so disfunctional that they dare not touch a drop lest they fall back into the bottle and drown – avoid mouthwashes containing alcohol and would definitely want to avoid Angostura bitters in case they quickly went from having a few drops of bitters in their breakfast juice to a few drops of juice in their breakfast bitters…

  6. merle
    November 20, 2017 / 10:03 am

    I took control of my drinking last year. I didn’t stop but went month without it and limited myself to the occasional glass of wine. I feel so much better and I don’t miss the mornings of regret.

  7. November 20, 2017 / 1:09 pm

    I’m pretty sure I knew about your channel before the video where you talked about going sober but I hadn’t actually followed you until then. I was interested to see your thoughts on it all. I was raised by a family full of substance abusers who actually didn’t want help, didn’t realize they had a problem or knew but didn’t think it was that severe. I’m glad you’ve made it to the point where you are now. Proud of you!

  8. November 20, 2017 / 1:31 pm

    This is really inspiring, well done Lucy! I think loneliness – when getting through any obstacle – makes whatever it is that much worse and it’s so great that sharing your experiences has helped other people too! And I’m so glad you’re feeling happier about this part of your life! Congrats!

    Daughter of An Air Hostess // Fashion, Travel & Lifestyle

  9. foo
    November 20, 2017 / 2:34 pm

    Had some issues in the past but I’m much better at listening to myself now and at judging whether I really would enjoy a drink or not. Mostly just don’t drink anymore, unless it’s a party or something. But it’s still annoying and kind of sad when I don’t drink and people ask, “Oh… You’re not drinking?” with a surprised, disappointed face. “Are you driving? Are you sick? You alright? What about some beer?”

  10. November 20, 2017 / 3:58 pm

    I can’t claim to have a problem with alcohol, but I still find your story and the way you tell it very inspiring. As a recent graduate like yourself it’s really interesting the role drinking plays regarding individual university experiences. I’m really proud of how far you’ve come and I hope you continue!

    Olivia xxx
    http://www.thekaleidoscope.uk/

  11. November 20, 2017 / 7:00 pm

    I’m honestly so proud of you. Your progress is inspiring and you can truly be proud of yourself!

  12. Elle
    November 20, 2017 / 8:52 pm

    I’ve recently stoped drinking as I am training for the London Marathon (I am in no way a runner) and like yourself I am a twenty something in London and since stopping I understand majority of situations are alcohol-fueled and being sober at these is…different! Really enjoyed reading this though and inspiring me to on this journey also self-reflect and understand my relationship with drinking.
    Thanks! Elle

  13. November 20, 2017 / 10:17 pm

    At the beginning of my last semester of college, my favorite history professor, who was also to be my thesis paper adviser, was fired by the administration (think Dead Poet’s Society x100). There wasn’t a single weekend I was sober. This led to terrible decisions, health problems, and hospital visits simply from my inability to cope with the loss head on.

    It followed me into the summer where I realized, through your video, that I had been drinking myself to a slow death (my liver enzymes were way out of whack) and that I had a hard time enjoying being social in the wedding I was a part of because each attendee was allotted one glass of champagne.

    Needless to say, your video helped me gain introspection. Thank you for your courage, lady bird.

  14. November 21, 2017 / 7:29 pm

    I am probably not your target audience, because I have never drunk before (even though I am officially an adult, haha), but I still think the way you deal with your problem and your openness about it, is amazing and breaking the taboo around not drinking. Because, what I *do* recognise, is the fact that it is not cool at all not to drink. I was struggling with this myself, but I love that you value this as well! Keep it up, Lucy, you are truly inspirational!

  15. November 21, 2017 / 7:49 pm

    This post is so important and just like your video did, this may really help those who feel just as lost as you used to. Great post Lucy!

  16. Kathrine
    November 23, 2017 / 12:56 pm

    Important and inspiring to follow your journey. Thank you for sharing Lucy!

  17. November 24, 2017 / 5:57 pm

    I am so proud of you. That you share with us, that you’re working on yourself. This is really great!

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