A sobering experience
After FREYA ROBERTS was labelled an alcoholic in denial, she decided to go to ArcSoc sober.
I was genuinely shocked after reading all the ‘you’re an alcoholic in denial’ comments on my last article, so I decided to try being sober at the night of term I was planning on being the most wasted: Arcsoc Cabaret.
I wondered if I could cheat and not drink but take MD instead, but apparently that wouldn’t be that impressive. Not being drunk when everyone else is is one thing, but with about half the people there also on drugs, I thought being sober would be torture.
Proving to myself that I could be fine without drinking was going to be a really useful lesson. To have a night of meeting new people, dancing, smoking (yes, I allowed myself fags – girl’s gotta eat), not spending money on drinks, and remembering all my new friends’ names the next day would be incredible!
The reality was fine. Not quite as eye-opening as I’d hoped, but fine.
I hosted pre-drinks as usual and decided I’d treat the night exactly as I would any other, just without the booze. Just like last year, I got a ‘Hipster Fuck’ costume from Primark, put on some Demi Lovato, and waited for people to arrive with their alcohol.
Pre-drinks were definitely the easiest bit. There really was no need to be drunk. We were just a group of friends sat around chatting – them with their vodka and me with my Nespresso. Perhaps that shouldn’t have been surprising.
When we arrived at the Union it was a bit more unsettling. I suddenly noticed how tipsy all my friends were, and felt really out of place.
What was eye-opening, though, was that although most of my friends were wasted, so many people there didn’t seem at all drunk. It made me realise that a lot of my ‘drinking problem’ comes from assuming that absolutely everyone else is always as completely wasted as me.
Still, the people there who were having the best time were those on drugs. The people having almost as good a time were those who were really drunk. Maybe they’ll all really regret it today, but they looked like they got their money’s worth.
I suddenly felt a bit lost. I queued up at the bar for ages because my friends wanted drinks. I got a diet coke for £1.25, which was exciting.
It mostly went downhill from then on. It wasn’t a terrible experience but was all just a bit meh. Wasted people are quite irritating when you’re sober, dancing is a bit embarrassing, and you realise that although your friends’ chat is funny, eventually (after 4 hours) you struggle to engage in it when they just tell you bullshit about lighting the wrong end of their cigarette.
Frequent fag breaks were essential, but cold. I don’t know what the hell sober non-smokers do. I realised I also kept being shit and getting my phone out. If everyone else was sober they would have realised what shit company I was, but luckily none of them even noticed or cared.
It wasn’t all terrible, though. I managed to catch up properly with a couple of people I hadn’t seen in ages, I didn’t do anything I regret, and I’m awake before midday. I’m awake and I don’t feel sick, but I don’t feel great either. I don’t have any funny stories; I can’t text any of my friends saying ‘hey remember when we stole that guys hat then he took it back lololol!!’.
Basically, being sober on a night like Arcsoc is quite shit. There’s a time and a place to be wasted, and it’s there. I’ve learnt that I absolutely have to be fucked to enjoy things like that, but I don’t need to be wasted at casual get-togethers.
The bad news is that this morning I realised the Essential Waitrose tiramisu I ate before I left was 22% coffee liquor, so I wasn’t sober after all. Fuck.