A Drunk Letter To My Sober Self

Woman with wine bottle

Photo: Andrey Zvyagintsev

Dear Stuart,

If you’re reading this, you’re probably sober, and you’re looking for a reason not to drink. Thankfully I’m writing to you now from beyond the land of the tipsy to address exactly that.

But since drunk you and sober you might as well be two totally different people, I’m going to assume that you don’t share my current viewpoints, and will thus strive to be crystal clear, especially for someone in your state. Together, I hope that we can nip your next craving in the Bud (hehe, get it?).

Yeah, I turn into a goldmine of crap (crapmine?) when I’m drunk. Oh, don’t act all surprised. You talk a pretty game after a few drinks, things that you’ll never be able to follow up on.

So I thought I’d remind you about that. Turn into drunk Stu and you’ll end up being full of shit.

You don’t need it

You’re not an alcoholic. We both know you’re not. But you clearing a six pack every day, for months at a time, has gotten me a little concerned, if not for our health, then at least for the sake of our wallet.

Right now, you’re probably feeling tired, or uninspired, and you think that one drink is going to give you some pep, reel back the enthusiasm into your world.

But guess what. It might feel good for about ten minutes, and then it’ll be hours of shitty energy levels after, plus a whole bucketload of regret to boot. You know this. You’ve done this hundreds of times.

Really, you don’t need it

I know, I know. You have a million different reasons to drink. And they may seem like solid justifications when you’re sober, but as the drunk version of you, I can safely say that it’s not worth it.

Like, why did you even want to drink today? Because you were feeling a little bored? What kind of stupid reason was that? I’m feeling like shit now, so please listen to me, sober Stu. It never pans out the way you think it will.

Oh, and that boring gathering you have to attend, or that work event consisting of ninety percent strangers? Yeah, you can totally do those sober too. I admit it sounds rather blasphemous (even to me), but you’ve done it before. You can do it again.

Remember the hangovers

I know you’ll probably feel refreshed by the time your next craving hits, and the dread of waking up with alcohol in your system might be a thing of the past, but try to keep the cold sweats and headaches in mind.

Try to remember the restless sleep, and how the world spins around you when you hit the sack. You tend to break your promises twice every time you drink. One that you’ll stick to your limit, and the second when you’ve drank too much and promise never to do it again.

Why not avoid the pain altogether? I mean, it’s not like it’s your bachelor’s night or anything. You always drink alone anyway, and you like it that way.

Social drinking, or not

That’s the other thing I should remind you of. How long has it been since you’d drank with somebody else? Isn’t lone drinking a sign of alcoholism? Nah, your intake level is lower than some people you know.

Besides, you never drink in the mornings, so that makes you a pretty normal person right? What’s that term, functional alcoholic? But you do know that everyone’s a functional alcoholic until they’re not, right?

Maybe you drink alone because it’s become a chore to keep up the charades of being a normal drinker, of showing up half wasted so that it takes you just a couple more to get you where you want to be.

How would your friends look at you if they learned that you needed to down your first three pints in under ten minutes to just get your buzz started? Do you even enjoy that? Think about it.

You even know which sweets best mask the smell of alcohol (Listerine breath strips), and you carry hand sanitiser so that you have an excuse for that scent wafting off your skin. If that doesn’t reek (ha) guilt, then I don’t know what does.

Drunk Letter Social - Omar Lopez

Me at any social gathering ever. Photo: Omar Lopez

Losing your self-worth

You know what’s the worst part about it all? It’s not the health risks, the regret, or even the hangovers. It’s your self-confidence taking a dive.

You can’t stand to look at yourself, because you always go to bed disappointed. If you can’t control this little impulse, what makes you think you’re worthy of all the better things in life? That’s what goes on in your mind before you sleep every night.

Look at you now though. At least you have a reason for drinking today—this blog post. Or maybe that’s a reason I’m just making up. Maybe if you wrote something, you wouldn’t feel like you’ve wasted yet another night piece of your liver tonight, huh?

But you do waste your time getting wasted, and just because you’re not like the uncles in the coffeeshops who drink beers for breakfast doesn’t mean you don’t share their taste for beers with the highest alcohol content at the cheapest prices.

And let’s talk timing, too. I hope you’re not thinking of drinking somewhere inappropriate, like that time you went to your friend’s baby shower, or that night your colleagues got together for badminton.

Maybe you have a problem

Maybe that’s where I’m getting at. Maybe sleep is a reset button, and when tomorrow night comes along, you’ll be visiting the supermarket for your next six-pack, trying to avoid the cashier that you paid at yesterday.

But until you remember what it is to feel like after you have a go at this ‘pleasure’, you’ll probably keep doing it until the day you can’t.

So here’s my message to you. The solutions you thought you’d find at the bottom of the bottle does not exist. I can say this because I’m staring right at it. In fact, it’ll only make your problems worse.

You’re going to need to face whatever it is that’s driving you to drink, sober Stu, and stop running away from those feelings. Of course, that’s going to be a tall order for tomorrow, since you’ll be paying for what you did an hour earlier.

If you ask me though, I’d say that you don’t have a problem. Not yet. But we both know that I’m full of shit.

And perhaps you are too.

44 thoughts on “A Drunk Letter To My Sober Self

  1. Oh my!! I hope you can conquer it! I know you can!! Stay positive and seek out resources!! You can do it!! If there’s any way I can help, come and find me!! :-)

    • Thanks so much, Meg! I’m pretty certain I can do it too, because I really don’t find myself too dependent on it. I just like to drink to unwind. Totally appreciate your support!

  2. If I could “like” this a hundred times, I would. I love your transparency and vulnerability. You are honest. You have all the truths lined up and know just what to do, but breaking an addiction requires a lot more grit and mental steel than people without addictions can imagine.
    I believe you can do this.

  3. Thanks for sharing. You should totally check out this (old but gold) NYT bestseller “Drinking: A Love Story” by Caroline Knapp. An excellently-structured memoir of one person’s love-hate r/ship with the bottle. Peace to u dis season, man!

  4. It’s good that you acknowledge your tendency to drink by writing about it. Maybe you could try by reducing your alcohol intake by a fixed amount each time you drink. This is a gradual way to help you curb the excessive intake. Hope this helps! I’m rooting for you!

    • Thanks so much for your suggestion! Unfortunately, when I drink, it’s either I ‘reach that level’, or don’t do it at all, so moderation might not be the best strategy here.

      Good news is, I’m perfectly fine without it. Just need to stop having it in the house.

  5. It’s very brave of you to be so publicly vulnerable. But you show that you have won great self-awareness of what your issue is. That’s always the first step to solving any personal issue. And you’re able to recognize where it’s harming you, where it’s draining time and life away from you. I don’t know anything about addictions but I believe that your recognition of the detrimental effects goes a long way towards recovery. Maybe it is time to gently dig deeper to see where the root of this is coming from. It wouldn’t bother you quite so much if there wasn’t something there to find, which once you find it, might help you help.

    • I have a feeling it’s because I hate feeling things, and would much rather prefer to numb everything. I’ve noticed this through journalling, but pinpointing the exact reason can be tough.

      The good thing about being a writer is that negative experiences can almost always be turned into a story (which I’m sure you know full well by now, Hetty), so there’s that, I guess, lol.

      Always a pleasure to have you here!

      • Feelings things is a good thing. I think it’s a sign of a superior human being. Think about some stupid meathead who goes around happy and cocky all the time. You see the benefits it has on your life–embrace it and be proud!

  6. This is so very relatable. I feel like I could have written this.

    Currently Sober JYP: Man, today was rough. I need a drink.
    Voice of Wisdom JYP: Why? Because you need to make more bad choices?
    Currently Sober JYP: What are you talking about?
    Voice of Wisdom JYP: You’re not even going to get to enjoy being drunk. You’re going to skip right to hungover and puking. You’re not even good at drinking.
    Currently Sober JYP: *sigh* Good point. But that means I have to actually solve my problems instead of dissolving them in ethanol and that’s no fun.
    Voice of Wisdom JYP: Fine. Enjoy spending the night with the toilet.

    It’s like you know it is such a terrible idea, but it’s hard to train yourself to have better habits. So hard but so very necessary.

    • I think it’s beneficial to know that there’s always two sides to us, and the more we get to know both of them better, the easier it is to make the best choices for our true self.

      The substance may be different, but the dialogue is always the same. I appreciate you being transparent about your own struggles as well!

  7. I appreciate what you have said here, both your vulnerability and strength in sharing, and am glad you are sharing. I am sending you lots of care as you continue this journey to your true self.💗

  8. That thing you keep saying about not really having a problem? That’s a problem. I’ve known people who’ve said that before. They said it when they were drinking 15 beers a night. It’s a problem and I guarantee those around you can see it. Please, if you can, find a therapist to talk with about what’s underneath all of this. What is it that you’re trying to numb? I know it feels super weird to start talking with a therapist, but if you go into it with honesty and a true desire to find answers, you will love the places it takes you, even as some of it feels kind of awful to let out. Ending your drinking isn’t a problem you should tackle all alone. With professional assistance, you will be able to dig deeply into the root causes and begin to find solutions. I’m rooting for you, man!

    • Yep, was addressing my denial in the letter, and I can’t agree with you more. I’m okay in a sense that I feel fine if there’s no booze in the house, so I just need to focus on not buying any and I’ll be dandy. Thanks so much for your support, Cheryl!

      • Well, dandy, as long as you can keep yourself from buying it. That might be harder than it sounds. Also, please, for your own general sake, try counseling. There’s something underneath all this that you need to deal with. I say this as someone who’s been in therapy for 2 years now for my own issues. When you deal with the underlying issues, you’ll feel so much more powerful and secure.

  9. “It might feel good for about ten minutes, and then it’ll be hours of shitty energy levels after, plus a whole bucketload of regret to boot.” – a very accurate description for any sort of addiction (or to put it nicely, ‘repeated impulses’ lol). I feel the same way with unhealthy food. Still struggling with it, but it’s getting better because I’m trying to address the underlying issue which drives me to binge. Thanks for sharing, this is very relatable, and not everyone can be so candid about sharing something so personal. Take care!

    • Thanks for being vulnerable about your issues too!

      Yeah, I think addressing the underlying issue is the main goal here. It’s almost always never the substance itself. Here’s to learning more about ourselves and becoming better versions of us!

  10. Stuart, thanks for your transparency. And noting the fact there is an issue truly is the first step. I used to drink Crown Royal the same way you drink beer. Then one day I got tired of being tired of waking up with hangovers that would take days for my body to recover. I began asking myself if I wanted to be a better person or keep waking up in strange places not knowing who I was or where I was. Then one morning I was watching the 700 Club, got down on my knees and prayed a prayer with Pat Roberts. When I got up off my knees I never drank another drop nor had the desire for it. And that was over 20 years ago. I never went to an AA meeting—I had a meeting with the Almighty with a true desire and purpose in my heart to be healed. And I was. That is my prayer for you today. Blessings and Peace.

  11. Thanks for sharing your story, don’t depend on alcohol to deal with problems, just like you said it won’t solve your issues, we all need to learn the life skills to deal with our problems.

  12. wow, this was powerful! It’s crazy how I used to believe that I was alone, but that’s mainly because that’s what drunk me was always telling my sober self. Thank you so much for sharing this.

  13. Woow..I am confident sober Stu is amazing if this is drunk Stu..

    I hope sober Stu will remain sober Stu even when he gets bored and has a million reasons to empty a bottle.

    I am struggling with another kind of addiction: TV addiction ( if that’s a thing). Perhaps I’ll write myself a letter too. It might help

      • Honestly, I absolutely adore this post. I think it’s an extremely creative way to remind yourself of all the valid reasons to stay sober! Good for you! Thanks for sharing, as it reminded myself of the reasons as well. I wish you all the best on your sober endeavours! Haha at my user name. It totally sums up my relationship with alcohol – if I had to use only two words. Thanks for the feedback, I appreciate it. 🖤

  14. I am reading this a month after it was posted. The holidays are a tough time to stop drinking. Then again so is every day. It can be done but not alone so opening up is a great piece to a very complicated puzzle. Good luck. If I did it, anyone can….

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