I Stopped Drinking When Drinking Stopped Being Fun

by Sheena Sharma

It was one of those magical Brooklyn nights. I had taken up a friend’s last-minute invite to attend a promotional event for a new line of menswear. The event, which had an open bar, clothes for sale and free haircuts, was impressive, to say the least.

Alcohol commanded the room. Everyone had a drink in hand, which was expected. Ready and willing, I stepped up to the bar and asked for champagne.

Needless to say, I got carried away. One drink turned into six, and the rest is history.

I woke up still drunk the next morning. There I was, suffocating in my skin-tight crop top and leather skirt, which was collecting around my ankles. To my right stood a trash can filled with a pool of God knows what.

Remnants of half-eaten pad Thai lay strewn across my marked-up wooden floors. I picked up my phone to find an incoherent one-sided conversation between myself and my ex.


I decided to call my partner-in-crime and update myself on the night’s events. Apparently, I had bought a $150 shirt, lost it, and then proceeded to get a horrible haircut. Sh*t. I dropped the phone, ran to the mirror and, lo and behold, there they were: accidentally asymmetrical bangs.

Hair fell halfway down the right half of my forehead, but the left half was practically hairless. As Taylor Swift would say, “That was the moment I knew.”

It’s been five weeks since I last had a drink, and man do I feel weird (in the best possible way). I’ll admit that happy hours and booze cruises have proven especially difficult. But the advantages of staying thirsty have, so far, outweighed the disadvantages.

Just ask my coworker. She’s been sober for a full four days, and she’s never felt better. “I haven’t had alcohol in four days,” she stated proudly, “and I feel such a profound clarity from not drinking. Oh, and I feel like I’m on fucking fire.”

Hear that? Fucking fire. She feels lit, and she isn’t even getting lit. Her impressive sobriety is a stellar example for the rest of society.

Mental clarity isn't my only motivation. There’s that whole "empty calories" thing, and the "early onset wrinkles" thing. Last, but certainly not least, there’s that "I did something incredibly stupid and there’s no turning back the clock" thing.

As for me, I most likely haven’t written off alcohol forever. But I’ve definitely written it off for now. Alcohol is like dating the bad boy: once you’ve had a taste, there’s no coming back. Still, I’m starting to see the value in a life without vodka.

Hangovers make me vulnerable.

We joke about the wrath of hangovers. But they aren’t all that funny: They’re draining, dehydrating and downright devilish.

Every time I’ve thrown back a few too many, I wake up, take a good, hard look at myself and say, “I’m too old for this.”

I don’t know if people will ever actually outgrow the desire to drink. What we will outgrow, though, is the dreaded aftermath of the drink. Hungover me is slow, unreceptive and just plain stupid.

I’m ready to take people at face value.

Everyone is more interesting when drunk. But everyone else is also more interesting when I’m drunk. And that is a problem.

Meaningful conversation has nearly become a lost art. Must we use cosmopolitans as an excuse to get close? I mean, why do we need to “grab drinks” to have a heart-to-heart?

We don’t need to. We’ve just forgotten how not to.

I finally know where my money is going.

Call me crazy, but I’m not too into the idea of investing my hard-earned dough (which took weeks to accumulate, mind you) in fleeting bliss.

Also, that's not to mention that staying sober leaves extra spending room for clothes and shoes. Going out but not drinking this weekend, perhaps?

Spend the $60 you’re bound to save on a new romper instead, and wear that romper out on special nights. An outfit you can wear more than once is a more worthy purchase than a buzz that will wear off in no time.

Besides, I like my money hanging in my closet, where I can see it.

Living is more fun when I'm clear-eyed.

Alcohol doesn’t just make that one infamous night fuzzy; it makes life fuzzy. And it doesn’t just dry out our bodies; it dries up our ability to have fun without a flask.

Yes, everything is more fun once the buzz kicks in. But just because getting buzzed is fun doesn't mean we should spend every moment waiting for it to happen.

I’ve taught myself to find the merit in a low-key bike ride, a picnic at the park, and a meal without that glass of wine.

Let’s be real: We generally find some sort of way to incorporate alcohol into daytime activities. But here's an idea.

What if we tried our activities sober for once? How about ditching the wine for the day and actually soaking in the scenery?

I don’t want to fall back into my old bad habits.

Texting the ex. Sloppily making out with undeserving strangers. Diving into a black hole of self-pity -- when really, everything in life is pretty damn decent right now. Sober me maintains a steel will. But once the liquor starts flowing, that willpower turns to sh*t.

I’ll never be the girl that can chug a drink and not self-destruct by the end of the night.

But maybe I will. Maybe I just haven't met that part of me yet. Until then, see ya, alcohol!