Emerging out of the Closet

I knew I had to be honest with people. I was not prepared to live a lie any longer. I knew there was a danger that family and friends would not be able to accept my new identity, my new way of life, but I could no longer live a life of secrecy and shame.  It was time to come out the closet.

I was nervous. Would I be accepted?  Would friends turn on me? What about my sons, would they now feel embarrassed by their dad’s new way of life. I knew I’d face predjudice, incredulity, mockery even hostility for what I was about to tell people. “But Jim, please give it some time, it might just be a phase, you could be back to normal in a few days.” I could hear the possible words that would be directed at me swimming around my head.

“Jim, you’ve spent too much time hanging out with those strange types on the internet, they’ve warped your thinking, influenced you, made you feel you are different than you really are. Jim for God’s sake, turn back before it’s too late.” Maybe they would say that, but my mind was made up. 

I decided to make my announcement to a friend in a pub last Friday.  I could tell she knew I had something monumental to say.  I poured myself some water.  I tried to speak but my mouth was dry.  My hands were trembling.  My friend took my hand, took a huge gulp of her red wine, looked me in the eye and said, “Jim, you know you can tell me anything.”

This was the moment.  I knew my friend would relay what I was about to say to her, to my other friends.  One way or another I would be out the closet and it would be a relief.  I coughed, straightened up and hesitated. I couldn’t do it.  My friend was now highly concerned for me.  Thinking she was changing the subject she said, “Shall I order a bottle of the Merlot Jim, I’ve nearly finished my glass and you haven’t had anything yet? Yeh let’s get a bottle, we can leave the car here and I’ll drop you home in the taxi.”

I couldn’t take it any longer.  It just came out, “I’m not bloody drinking, alright.  I’ve stopped, that’s it. Finito. Don’t keep asking me.  I don’t drink.  I have stopped drinking. I’m identifying as sober! Go on reject me, tell me to fuck off you freak, I don’t care any more. Just leave me alone.” I sobbed.

“Jim, take it easy, I only asked if you fancied some wine. Is that why you’ve been a bit tense, a bit odd?”

“Er yes it is actually, that’s my big announcement.you don’t seem shocked.”

She wasn’t. We ordered our food.

And that was it. I was Captura de pantalla 2019-11-11 a las 21.52.02.pngaccused by my friend of being a drama queen but otherwise my friend thought it was amazing that I hadn’t had a drink for ten weeks and was now determined to carry on Alcohol Free.

 

 

I went home and then told my partner.  She said she thought it was a good idea. “Well done,” she said.

I emerged from my sober closet and the world just carried on.  It was all rather underwhelming. I, on the other hand, felt great.  I had my new identity.  

To make it sound cool I call myself a Soberista, as if I am some kind of revolutionary alcohol free Mexican hell raiser.  Again a little over dramatic, but why not.  

I’ve emerged from the alcohol closet, I’m a Soberista and I’m proud!

 

 

21 thoughts on “Emerging out of the Closet

  1. boozebrain

    Hurrah to you soberista. I love that name. I also recall when I stopped drinking how underwhelming it was for others. Most people didn’t really give a toss. It was hilarious. That’s when I realised how focussed we all are on ourselves much of the time. Which is not a criticism, just an observation. But for you Jim, it’s a mighty occassion and we are all cheering you on. Bravo.

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  2. drgettingsober

    Love this Jim! I remember the first time I stopped being out and realising that no one else really gave a monkey what I was drinking – well done you for coming out and well done on 10 weeks that’s fab! 👏👏👏

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    1. Jim Simmonds Post author

      Thanks Doc. Yes I’m realising that I became quite self conscious of not drinking but everyone else couldn’t give a monkey’s . Next week I’m out with my walking football group, all blokes, money in a pot and rounds of pints. Be interesting to see how that goes!

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      1. drgettingsober

        I think you’ll be fine – the 1st 10 mins are the hardest. Last few times I’ve been out I’ve noticed I get chatty and garrulous after a while as if I’d had a few! I stay like that though rather than reaching the slurring passing out part! 😂😂

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  3. ceponatia

    Isn’t it kind of crazy though, how terrifying it is to tell people we aren’t drinking? Like not imbibing rotten fruit and veg is somehow a crime? Lol. I, fortunately, didn’t have to go through the same thing because everybody knew I was an alcoholic for years before I quit.

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    1. Jim Simmonds Post author

      I’m also getting some intrigued responses and that’s quite nice and reveals to me that there’s quite a few people out there that would like to give sobriety a try but don’t think they would manage it.

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  4. nomorebeer2019

    YES YES YES 🙂 Congrats Jim 🙂 This is so inspiring and encouraging. I was beginning to wonder what my return to France as a sober person would look like next year. Here in the US people respect the “healthy lifestyle” trend thing. But in France…. (many? some?) people enjoy sensual pleasures way more, and “condemn” this healthy lifestyle stuff for being moralistic and excessive. (Or maybe that’s just what I used to do^^) Your post helped me remember that in the end, people don’t really care what we do, and we don’t have to waste all our energy thinking about (and imagining) what they think 🙂 It’s what we think/want that matters most !!!! Let us know how the walking football group evening goes next week ! And I’m glad your partner is happy and supportive of your choice too !!! xx Anne

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  5. Addy

    Well done. Another difficult hurdle crossed. People are more understanding than we give them credit for. I was always nervous about telling people Greg was an alcoholic for fear of the shame or their reactions. Since I have discovered there are alcoholics out there in everyone’s circle and that they are more understanding, I am quite happy nowadays to say that Greg was an alcoholic and died from his addiction. You are doing so well.

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    1. Jim Simmonds Post author

      Hi Addy, personally I avoid the alcoholic tag as it’s not very specific unless talking about the extreme end of AUD. I understand where you’re coming from but I would have reacted badly to the label of alcoholic, not however to the description of problem drinker. Semantics maybe but important to many. Where we are on the same page is once drinking becomes problematic it’s hard to moderate and then abstinence is often best option. The terrible waste of lives and potential, as you sadly had to witness, is a big part of why I stopped. I’m glad I did.
      Jim x

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