I’m a fresher and I can’t drink due to my medication
And I can’t have caffeine, either
When the doctor first suggested I try some new tablets for my migraines, I was all for it. That was, until I was told I would be unable to drink caffeine or alcohol "for the foreseeable future". I was thoroughly shook – NO caffeine? What about my 9am Thursday lecture with Dr Never-Shuts-Up? And no alcohol? How would I cope with the hefty queues outside Factory and the dodgy loos in Antwerp if I wasn't completely plastered?
But surprisingly, despite many disappointed looks from my aunties over Christmas when they heard I was a stone-cold sober student, I have managed to survive a solid 53 days. And I'm a fresher.
I know, I know, two months is really nothing to brag about, but in my defence, I've always been quite a fan of the tipple so I'm pretty impressed by myself.
"But how do you actually cope?"
I knew it wouldn't be easy, and a lot of people have asked me how I manage to handle the constant pressure to drink as a 19-year-old living in Manchester (home of the sesh). So, I've compiled some of my Top Tips and best bits of my sober journey.
I worried initially that, at 'bring your own booze' flat parties, everyone would wonder where my bottle of Sainsbury's vodka was. But, if you tell them it's premixed with the lemonade in your trusty reusable water bottle, you'll be left to drink your fresh and zesty soft drink in peace.
Doing shots of squash
Have you ever tried undiluted double-strength Robinsons? That stuff is was stronger than any Sourz I've ever had! Plus, you don't feel left out when all your mates are suddenly screaming 'OMG LET'S DO SHOTS' because, let's be honest, that's the best part of any night out.
I save a shit tonne of money
This may sound obvious, but if you don't spend loads on wine or cocktails or whatever, you have so much more money. You can go away for the weekend, or get a ticket for that artist you absolutely adore, or even just grab a cheeky Nando's.
Seeing the positive in the negative
People often ask me if my nights out are super boring because I'm always the designated mum-friend who spends the night scooping up that one mate who went way too hard at pres. But honestly, the answer is no – I get to remember every stupid thing my drunk flatmates get up to. Imagine having this amount of power; all the blackmail material, all the ways you can humiliate them in front of their respective families when they come up to visit.
Next time Becky or James or whoever asks you to take the bin out or collect the post, imagine being able to say 'well actually mate I think you should do it' because you both know full-well that you could ruin their reputation as a Gaff Legend by tweeting about that one night in November when they spilt cereal all over the carpet and then wet themselves laughing. And you better believe I have photographic evidence. No more chores for me!
That being said, there will always be some low points
It can be challenging to resist ordering a pint when everyone else has one. Or refusing a glass of wine when you go home for a family get-together (especially as someone who has never been the type to say no to freebies). But at the end of the day, I have an extra tenner per week to spend on Cadbury's chocolate buttons. And I don't have to worry about missing morning lectures because I'm asleep on the floor of a toilet cubicle, regretting the 6 double vodka-cokes from last night.