The Things You Notice When You're Not Drinking


To make my complicated medical history short, within the past year I’ve developed chronic migraines and had to go on a preventive migraine medication, and it’s the type of medicine you can’t mix with alcohol. Of course, drinking makes headaches worse in general so I had been recommended by my doctor to stop drinking anyway.

These are the things I’ve learned after taking off the beer goggles that have been comfortably clouding my vision since I first got wasted off Smirnoff Green Apple Twist freshman year of high school.

Not drinking is the best diet

Since I stopped drinking I’ve lost twenty pounds. Gone are the late night empanadas drowning in tequila and spicy mayonnaise, the stale Papa John’s deliveries in my fridge, the frothy and caloric Yuengling, the dark and sugary Captain and Coke, and the intriguing “Buttery Nipple” shots. Though I’ll admit I’m aided by my migraine medication since it reduces appetite, every morning my body thanks me for refraining from shoveling late night food into my mouth and funneling alcohol into my liver.

Drunk people are ugly

I blatantly stare at the drunk people who stumble into me on the sidewalk and push me out of the way at the bar, eyeing their smeared makeup, ripped tights, sweaty foreheads, splotchy skin, armpit sweat marks, chapped lips, red puffy eyes, spittle, bad posture, wrinkled shirts, lost expressions, and flushed cheeks. Their bad breath wafts into my mouth and nose as they shout nonsensical sentences at my face, along with the stench of their vomit, sweat, and piss. And the whole time they’re thinking they look damn good.

Not drinking equals not wasting all your money

For some reason when I drank I was the friendliest girl at the bar. This meant bonding with random girls in the bathroom about borrowing lip gloss and how much our shoes hurt, and then proceeding to buy a round of shots for everyone and shrugging off their offer to pay and shouting “You’ll get the next one!” and then never seeing them again. Or getting sixty bucks out at the ATM for no reason and realizing I have cash when my friends don’t and giving them money for a cab and shouting, “We’ll figure it out in the morning!” and then not. But when I’m sober the water is free, I’m the one driving, and I remember everything.

No one wants to have sex with the girl drinking water

Men simply avoid talking to women who are drinking water at bars. Apparently drinking water equals unattractive bitch, or possibly anti-fun Debbie Downer, or just she’s-the-designated-driver-therefore-I-can’t-bang-her-tonight-so-why-waste-my-time. In a fun little experiment I played with myself, I ordered a cranberry-seltzer with lime at the bar one night instead of my usual ice water (since cold water helps keep my headaches at bay) and — voila! — I was suddenly infinitely more attractive to every man in the periphery. I had gotten so used to men ignoring me that the deluge of pick-up artists was flustering, especially once I realized I have no sober flirting skills.

Dating is nonexistent for the sober you

See above. Since the 20-something social scene generally revolves around alcohol and the consumption of mind-altering substances, it’s hard for a sober girl to get her footing. Where do most people usually go for first dates? To get a drink. What do new young couples usually order to dissolve some first date jitters? Wine, beer, or a cocktail. When was the last time you kissed someone for the first time sober or had sex with someone for the first time sober? My subconscious reliance on alcohol as a social lubricant has become extremely detrimental to my post-drinking social life. Everything I learned about meeting people and “going out” in high school and college revolved around drinking, and now I have to rewrite the framework for my life while my friends and social circle are still partying within the former binge drinking structure.

I miss drinking

I definitely don’t miss the hangovers, the blackouts, and the mistakes. What I do miss is casually sipping wine with my friends while watching the latest episode of American Horror Story, or ordering a microbrew I’ve never heard of at lunch with a grilled cheese and salt and vinegar chips. I miss having a light buzz while doing my makeup with three other girls squeezed in front of the same mirror on a Friday night. I miss having just enough liquid courage to flirt. Or date. Or have sex. But for now I’ll keep sipping my ice water until my friends tell me they’re ready for me to drive them home.

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image – Janine