I Can No Longer Be a Traditional Sobriety Writer

Sometimes it seems everyone online has to be a guru about something. That’s the whole purpose of the personal brand. I know something you want to know about. Often its the same ideas, rehashed, repurposed. I’ve been guilty of it too, so many times. Perhaps that’s why it gets so tiresome to write and to read sometimes.

I used to act like an expert. I wrote like I was some sort of expert. I wrote about sobriety, addiction, recovery, mental health, as if I’d been there and done it all, was…

A Death Out of Sight

Early 2019

There was a certain point in my now weekly train journey from London Paddington to my small, rural hometown, where reality would invade. I could no longer delude myself into the feeling I was on a business trip, or a spur of the moment jaunt.

It came long after the first leg of the journey, where the train rocketed through built-up inner London. Here, my mind stayed nicely preoccupied with my job and my ambitions and my little collection of London friends. …

I’ll Do Whatever It Takes To Get You Back, My Love

Back in late 2019 I received a small bonus from my job. I’m not talking banker-style thousands, but enough for me to consider impulse buying a PS4 and not anxiously hand-wring for weeks over the expenditure. I was excited.

I had it all planned out. I’d rush home, plug it in, create all the necessary usernames and accounts, download SSX Tricky — my favourite game of all time — from the Playstation Store and simply wallow in the nostalgia for years to come.

SSX was the first game I truly loved. Other than Pokemon Silver on the GameBoy Colour, it…

Sobriety Was My Magic Fix

For me at least, July 13th 2021 will be remembered as a momentous day. It’s a day that I’ve been anticipating —dreaming about, working towards — for more than four years. It marks the end of a problem I’d been stressed and anxious about for over a decade.

Today I paid the final full balance payments on my remaining three credit cards. Once these payments have cleared, my outstanding debt balance will officially be £0.00. I’ll finally owe nothing to nobody. Well, not in a financial sense, at least. …

Men and their toys

Recently I found myself idly scrolling through TikTok. The app — as most tend to these days — thinks it knows me pretty well. It provides a steady and addictive stream of Beyoncé dance breaks, clips from the New York ballroom era, cute cats misbehaving, and van-lifers’ Ten Top Tips for Surviving Off Grid, even though I’ve never set foot in a motor home. It’s a numbing sort of bliss. A habit I really should break.

One of the other things TikTok knows about me is that I’m a fan of drag. I often get treated to Jackie Cox’s wonderful…

Sober Writings After a Fortnight of Mess

I thought I was honestly nailing the whole sobriety thing. Months had passed since I had wanted to drink. I felt strong. Recently I wrote about how my longest sustained attempt at sobriety to date was filling my life with a newfound sense of wonder, and I meant it. Perhaps naively, I really thought I was out of the woods.

But now, just two weeks after publishing my gratitude letter to abstinence, I’m back at the very beginning. …

Many Other LGBTQ People Might Struggle Too

Now that my friendship group is ageing, dragged kicking and screaming into our thirties, getting together is a very different affair. Many amongst us are making urgent plans for the years to come. Biological clocks are ticking, albeit very faintly.

Inevitably, conversation turns to the matter of kids. Who wants them? Who doesn’t? How many? What will be their names?

I found myself quiet, nodding along, willing the topic to pass me by. There plenty of reasons why talking about hypothetical children can be uncomfortable, my sexual orientation being among the least significant or stigmatising of them. Fertility issues, miscarriage…

How it happened, and 5 tips to help new writers avoid the same mistake

Recently I was half way through a fellow Medium writer’s latest article, in which they bemoaned a fellow writer for essentially copying one of their near-viral titles. The writer was frustrated, bemused, a little cheesed off. It was a humorous read that also packed a strong punch.

There I was, nodding along, agreeing in earnest, when my heart dropped. Something about the way they described the impostor article was a bit too close to home. The same choice of descriptor words, the same punchy hook.

I jumped to this author’s previously published articles. …


Sober Hangout Hacks for the Socially Anxious

I love sobriety, but I don’t love what it does to my social anxiety. In early sobriety, operating without the social crutch of alcohol, social events made me feel like a pariah. I had nothing exciting to say, no personality to draw upon. I was devastated. My former joke-cracking self had vanished into the ether. I was becoming boring.

My message to all sobriety newbies: this will pass. …

I used to think of them as my magic moments. They would come often, unheralded, the cause shape-shifting from one moment to the next. There were the classic triggers: a beautiful vista, the New York City skyline, a sunset that seemed painted with every colour in nature’s palette.

There were the less cliched causes too: a bustling South London street, a murky pond fizzing with bugs and algae, the rhythm of a slow, chugging, inevitably delayed train. A sense of joy would rise up and dapple itself across my body in goosebumps. I was here, I was present, I was…

James Fox Jeffries

(Hopefully) humorous writing on young sobriety, mental health, cats, and LGBTQ matters. Written for Huffpost, Lyra, and others. London, UK.

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