Jonathan quit drinking in September 2015. He has since replaced alcohol with running, climbing, and writing. These are some of his thoughts from his SoberPunks blog, which he launched in 2016 to mark his first year of sobriety.
The start of something
Since going sober, I’ve ingested a metric fucktonne of information about quitting drinking. I’ve read blogs and books, I’ve watched documentaries and I’ve spoken to people. Throughout my research there appears to be two things that 75% of successful quitters do:
- They start running.
- They start writing.
Without the low-lows of hangovers, and the high-highs of drinking, you end up with a much narrower bandwidth of emotions. Nothing feels REALLY bad anymore, but nothing feels AMAZING either. Things just go a bit…beige.
To put it yet another way: It feels like you’ve spent the last 20 years driving a fucked old Ford Fiesta in the slow lane on weekdays, and a Bugatti Veyron in the fast lane on weekends. Suddenly you’re driving everywhere in the middle lane in a grey Ford Mondeo.
Back in the booze days we were kings of good intention. Me and my mates would drink and we’d make plans. We were young (at first), spunky (perhaps), creative, and driven. We had the greatest ideas when we were drunk, but over days, weeks, and months of brave talk, the motivation slowly evaporated. We weren’t all mouth and no trousers though – the best ideas managed to go a step further. We wrote film scripts and business plans, we planned festivals and movie screenings, we thrashed out ideas for mobile catering solutions (curry in a cup, the Yorkshire doughnut company, tastyfuckingsoupservedinashoe.com…). I even wrote a whole musical called ‘Jimi Hendrix’s Time Travelling Guitar’. However, these ideas, ultimately, amounted to nothing more than drunken guff.
From idea to action
The point I’m trying to make, though, is that ideas formed on booze have probably a 1% success rate – and that’s being generous. The intention is never really there. In the sober world, things are different. An idea doesn’t mean anything important to me unless I’m willing to go the distance. If I’ve started to talk about an idea with people, then it means I’m probably going to give it a go. It’s probably got a 25% chance of seeing the light of day, rather than the 1% chance of pub-borne ideas.
Someone can have 100 different amazing ideas for a painting – but they’re worthless unless you’re going to put the brush on the canvas.
This, for me, captures one of the most amazing revelations I had when I stopped drinking. You stop being a dreamer, and you start being a doer. Feels good man.