Men and Their Toys

Photo by Ana Cruz on Unsplash

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

Photo by Camila Quintero Franco on Unsplash

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

Photo by In Lieu & In View Photography on Unsplash

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

Photo by Mark Fletcher-Brown on Unsplash

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. …


STRATEGIES TO QUIT

Sober Hangout Hacks for the Socially Anxious

Photo by Priscilla Du Preez on Unsplash

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. …


Photo by Diego PH on Unsplash

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…


SOCIETY VS SOBRIETY

Photo by Erik Jacobson on Unsplash

I wasn’t surprised to read that alcohol-related deaths have hit a 20 year high here in Britain, according to the BBC.

Yesterday, it was reported that of 7,423 UK deaths deemed caused by drink in 2020, “around 80% of those deaths were from alcoholic liver disease, 10% from mental and behavioural disorders due to alcohol use and 6% from accidental poisoning by exposure to alcohol.”

It’s a figure which, when compared with recent global crises, almost seems modest. Picture 7,423 people marching past your house though, and it’s an almost untenable amount of citizens. …


Photo by Damir Spanic on Unsplash

2021 has been an era packed with positive change for me. I’ve quit drinking, I’ve taken control of my mental health. I’ve stopped wasting money on things I don’t need. I’ve stopped wasting energy on people and pursuits which don’t deserve it. It all sounds great, so empowering, doesn’t it?

Sure, all of those positive changes felt great at first. However, the problem with stopping doing so many things is that it opens up multiple voids in your personal, social, professional diary. Sure, these days there is very little draining away my happiness anymore, but what do I actually do


MUSINGS

Photo by nikko macaspac on Unsplash

As a writer in the sobriety and mental health spaces, I view it as my duty to promote and demystify the process of choosing to live without alcohol. I’m here to glorify all of the shiny good parts, to convince anyone struggling with alcohol that they too can achieve the seemingly impossible. I’m here to chronicle a new, more stable chapter of my own life so that readers can compare and contrast this with the chaos and discomfort of addiction. …


AINYF SHORTS

Photo by Elevate on Unsplash

Every time I’ve tried to give up drinking, whether, on a temporary hiatus or striving for long-term sobriety, there’s been one word that’s guaranteed to put me on edge. It’s a word strong enough to induce social anxiety and send any fragile self-esteem you may have cultivated plummeting. It’s a word that, for me, comes laced with inherent shame and embarrassment. It’s an othering word, a dismissive word. It’s a word that grates on my soul. The word: Boring.

‘Boring’ is a word that all of us, whether sober not, rightfully dread. I would rather people call me irritating, loud…

James Fox Jeffries

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

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store