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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

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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. …


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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

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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

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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…


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‘Dear God,’ I would mutter, the very moment my mother clicked off my bedroom light for the night and quietly shut the door behind her. I would always start the same way, addressing the celestial being whom — despite my having been raised in a staunchly atheist, easy-going household — I believed held the fates of me and my loved ones in its hands. For the ritual to work, my eyes had to be shut firmly to show my devotion, not allowing a single crack of light to pass through. …


My sexual orientation was, in part, responsible for my troubled relationship with alcohol

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I’ve always found early sobriety to be a period of intense self-discovery. It can be equally as thrilling as it can be daunting — the sensation of synapses sparking with new ideas, and profound epiphanies dawning alongside painful regrets and blooming anxieties.

Currently, I’m grappling with a newfound discovery, one that seems to have been hiding for years in plain sight. This epiphany, when I finally voiced it out loud, seemed so preposterously obvious, that I found myself laughing out loud. …


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‘Enough is enough,’ I mutter, in between mouthfuls of long-gone-cold coffee that my partner had placed by the bedside around two hours earlier. I really needed to get a grip on this sleeping in late situation.

Mere moments before I had awoken, groggy and reluctant, from a deep slumber. My iPhone told me it was somehow 9:59 AM. I had to be at work in one minute.

In the old world, this would have been panic stations. Cue frantic, fictitious texts to my manager warning of train delays or a medical emergency. …


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Addiction is a costly endeavour. We already know addiction is a black hole for time, happiness, relationships, potential, energy, and (sadly) many lives. As a society, we quite rightly discuss this frequently, particularly in countries where alcohol is deeply embedded in culture.

But there is another overt cost to addiction which is not so frequently discussed: the financial cost. For me, a newly sober problem drinker, the financial implications of my alcohol consumption were troubling and difficult for me to acknowledge.

The people around me seemingly drank like just like I did, but somehow they appeared to thrive while I…


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Picture this. You’re walking home from your local greengrocers with a tote bag brimming fresh organic veggies. Sure, they were a little expensive, but you can afford them now that you’ve stopped drinking. In fact, you can afford a lot of things these days, and you’re more than a little pleased with yourself. You’re feeling the sun on your newly glowing sobriety skin, the breeze is toying with gently with your hair. You’re sober, you’re content, you’re living in the moment.

You turn a corner, and WHAM. There’s the bus stop where you emptied your stomach of its boozy contents…

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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