The luxury of sobriety

photo (1)

I’ll need that money for drinking.

With alcohol abuse comes a shutting down of wider life experiences. Breaking it all down to the smallest piece possible. Just the basics. With a fixation on one thing comes a shoving to the side of all others. When the need and want and obsession take over, there is a switch of focus from living to surviving. Not many people need luxury items to survive.

No frills. Waste not want not.

Stopping drinking and keeping doing it requires making the world around us a bigger place. I’ve said that enough times, it’s just boring to bang on about it anymore. But what doesn’t get discussed very often is the need to stop living on just the basics. On settling for less. If you want long-term sobriety in a way that is meaningful and useful? It’s time to raise the bar a great deal higher than where it’s at right now in terms of lifestyle.

You don’t deserve nice things. 

Loads of people talk about living mindfully, appreciating the basics. And it’s nice. It’s a very good start. And to be honest the peace and calm and tranquility is a very different kind of momentum from the chaos and drama we invented to alleviate the sheer boredom of abusive drinking.

The good stuff is for other people.

But you can’t build long-term sobriety on feeling eternally grateful for the basics. Because if it’s used as a prolonged way of looking at the world? It becomes a further excuse to make life smaller.

Just like the drinking did.

I’m going to break the only rule I have here and talk about boys. I never mention any bloke in my life because believe it or not by nature I’m a really private person. This whole blogging malarkey has pushed my out of a lot of that but, yes; I’m not naturally a sharer. Plus it’s probably quite boring to read about the specifics of someone else’s life. But it’s how I learned this lesson. And it was a huge lesson to learn.


Last year I had a boyfriend who was really, really used to nice things. I mean really f*cking used to nice things. He wasn’t born into them, he worked his arse off and created a life where luxury was the norm. We were exactly the same age which is unusual for me because I tend to like them older. Anyway. We got on really well even though the only thing we honestly had in common was our sense of humour.

What we definitely didn’t have in common was our lifestyle expectations. He’d been to every luxurious place in the world, only ever traveled first class. His homes were opulent. You get the gist. All things that were a polar opposite to my life experience.

But it was how he spent his free time that really did my head in. I honestly couldn’t get a handle on it at all. He was never in his nice homes, he spent most of his time away at some new 5 star place he hadn’t tried yet. Doing new things. Constantly. His life was a merry-go-round of amazing experience after experience. You wouldn’t think he’d know survival-mode if it bit him on the arse.

I can manage without it

And I couldn’t use age as an excuse because we were born within days of eachother.

And there wasn’t even any virtue in my own crappy version of struggle. Because he did know the meaning of survival. He’d grown up in the Middle East in a poor family during a civil war.

I hadn’t a leg to stand on.

He was both brilliantly clever and good at making money. He also knew how to enjoy the money he made without shoving it in anyone’s face. Because it was all so normal to him that he didn’t care. He’d created this incredible life and it was all self-taught.

Incidentally he didn’t drink.

Everything about this man made me realise that I was still carrying around this habit of existing on the basics. That I truly did not feel I deserved nice things.I know a lot women say they don’t date people because of their money. I definitely wasn’t dating this man because of his money.

His money terrified me.

I had a choice. Embrace the luxury of sobriety, or end the relationship and continue in the comfort (?) of what I knew.

So I ended it.

Then I worked on understanding the luxury of sobriety.

Because the thing is he was right. The thing is we are supposed to have nice things. Our lives are surrounded by luxury. It’s not divided into

People Who Really Deserve It vs People Like Us

We can all open ourselves up to the possibility of luxurious sobriety. I did. It was probably the hardest part of Recovery for me. Persuading myself to really open my eyes and look at the external world I had created. The crappy flat. The cheaper clothes. The constant bargain hunting. Paying less for food than I needed to. Not going to better quality places and doing nicer things. What was it all for?

So I changed. I upgraded. I raised the bar. It was a f*cking challenge but I did it. And I would still never dream of dating a man because he had a lot of money. But I would never dump him because of it either.


And if you want it then we can get you there too. It’s a much nicer place. And surprisingly the further up the ladder we scale in lifestyle, the less people drink anyway…







5 thoughts on “The luxury of sobriety

  1. Yes, this is a tough one! The feeling of “I don’t deserve better.” Drinking as the only reward, because it can be meted out secretly — no one knows you’re rewarding yourself. It just looks like you’re having a drink like everyone else. This post relates to the one I found so moving about counting the width of our days, not just the number. Great thoughts!

    • Oh I REALLY like your thinking with this! So true! The part when you realise you’ve essentially been rewarding yourself with an action tantamount to punching yourself in the face…secret face punching…great way to while away an evening eh xx

  2. You are spot on in that fixating on booze leaves us to only be able to survive on the sheer basics. Infact we do so because the time, energy and ability to wrap our heads around caring about things and the steps we could be taking to maneuver through life and into luxury and greatness have not had a chance to manifest. A boozy life is just like treading water…you do it ’cause you have to. And you do it in a super old swimsuit that doesn’t quite fit right.

  3. Soberistas says:

    Reblogged this on and commented:
    Here are Carrie Armstrong’s thoughts on enjoying luxury in sobriety…As part of the Sexy Sober Summer Campaign that Carrie and I are running throughout August, this post highlights the enjoyment to be found in pampering ourselves once the booze has been removed. When you are no longer hurting yourself through alcohol misuse, you can really reap the benefits of treating yourself. Lucy x

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: