So, I’m Going to Stop Drinking. Alcohol, that is. Not water. That’d be impossible. Water’s in nearly everything. Fruit, meat, taps and even alcoholic drinks are mostly water.

Also, it’d be deadly to stop drinking water, as it’s essential. For me, alcohol has often been essential too. Which is one of the reasons I’m planning to give it up.

A friend but not a very good one…

Anybody who knows me will be reading this through a smirk and thinking, “Bullshit”. Which is fair enough. For years I’ve been the last man standing, the good times guy, the person that everyone blames for turning a few drinks into a full on bender. Who did introduce us to those flight attendants, but then got kicked out for dacking a bouncer.

I’m aware of all the stats around the health problems caused by alcohol. All the side effects of it and other drugs, but there’s one massive point missed by all the campaigns against drugs and alcohol. It’s fun.

People don’t drink for the side effects. For the weight gain, the hangovers, and to destroy their livers. People drink and take drugs because they make good times better. Or terrible times bearable.

Drugs and alcohol are so good at making fun, that most people know the side effects and are willing to risk or put up with them.

What I get back from drinking is no longer enough to cover what I’m losing. I’m 34, and I feel like my life is racing along, and I’d really like to do something with it.

I’m trying to become a full time artist, while working full time to support myself. To do both with any semblance of success, something had to go, and that something is drinking.

Honestly, I wouldn’t be an artist without alcohol. I would’ve never gotten on stage for my first ever comedy gig. Without drinking, I’d also still have the urge to write, but much less to write about. “Today I went to work, watched a movie, and went for a run.” Boring.

Alcohol has done so much for me. So many objects and people set on fire, so many traffic cones and shopping trolley races, so many kebabs, and even a few pretty girls. So many wonderful, hazy memories.

Almost everything is more fun when drunk. Social occasions, music festivals, family gatherings, nightclubs, and many first dates. And have you tried sitting in inner city traffic for hours without being smashed? It’s totally boring.

Seriously, I do struggle in social situations without a few drinks, and now even after several. Entertaining conversation I’m fine with, but it’s really hard for me to take an interest in the facts of a life, from someone I barely know.

Cut to the anecdotes and skip the information. Thanks. Now that sounds harsh, but when people ask me what I’ve been I’m to, and I hear myself talking, I’m just as bored. Down a few double vodkas though, and all of a sudden your trip to IKEA is fascinating. I’ve never been to IKEA. I imagine it’s hideous.

I depend on alcohol for so many things. It’s a warm security blanket of self-confidence that cuts through the doubt and any second guessing.

Especially important for as a single, male comedian. I need the confidence onstage, and then to deal with the rejection from the girls afterwards.

So I want to see if I can exist in the evening without a few drinks to take the edge off. Basically, I want to break my dependence. I’d also like to extend my life for as long as possible, and achieve heaps in the time I have. Instead of wasted days hungover and hating myself.

Most importantly, I’m doing this for me. It’s purely personal. I’m not encouraging others to give up, and I’m certainly not going out of my way to develop friendships with other non-drinkers, in the same way that vegans and Liberals have their own cult and secret handshake.

By sharing what I’m going through though, while reflecting on some of the good and bad times I’ve had with the booze, maybe others will think differently about their drinking. Or my friends will drink more, and continually offer me free drinks that they know I can’t have.

Seeing someone visibly suffer is one of the most entertaining things ever, especially when it’s me.

It all starts on Feb 1 with FebFast. Links below. Sponsor me if you like. I’ll also be trying to get through performing at two arts festivals in a row without drinking. Which is the truly terrifying part. Show, after show, after show. All sober.

Have you ever seen a comedy show sober? Well try performing one in that state.

Sign up for Febfast here: febfast.org.au

You can support me here: https://give.everydayhero.com/au/xaviertoby

Comments on this post will close at 8pm AEDT.

Most commented

54 comments

Show oldest | newest first

    • Steve says:

      05:00am | 29/01/13

      I read the first paragraphs of this and thought “good for him, getting drinking in perspective”.

      Then it became just another FebFast Look at Me story.

      If you drinking is an issue, just change.  No need to tell us how good you are being. Don’t share.

    • Mack says:

      07:43am | 29/01/13

      At 34, it’s about time he grew up.

    • gobsmack says:

      09:49am | 29/01/13

      It’s not the alcohol, it’s your underlying personality problems you need to address.

    • Prick With a Fork says:

      06:27am | 29/01/13

      Bor-ing. So now we’ve got Feb-Fast, Oc-Sober, Parchy-Marchy, Dry-July, Remember-Last-Night-September, and every one of these secular Ramadans folks like this come out to say we’re not judging you (but really, we are). All part of the joyless Roxon-world the Left is pushing in this country.

      Speaking of politics, it’s interesting that Xavier calls himself an “artist”, because he’s actually more of an overgrown undergraduate lefty. Check out his website and it’s all boo-hoo Australia Day, oh our terrible flag, white privilege, etc. He writes like he’s trying to get into some hippy chick’s pants.

    • Gordon says:

      08:50am | 29/01/13

      Which is, at least, a better reason than many.

    • scott says:

      08:55am | 29/01/13

      If you think his site his terrible, I take it you have never had the misfortune of seeing one of his ‘comedy’ shows

    • Bill OTS says:

      09:20am | 29/01/13

      Actually I concur with what he says about Australia Day and white privilege. And I am not saying that because I’m trying to get into some hippy chick’s pants.

    • kitteh says:

      11:59am | 29/01/13

      Feck! That website could be subtitled The Second Coming of Rick from the Young Ones, Except Not Funny and Ironic.

    • wakeuppls says:

      12:04pm | 29/01/13

      Bill

      So you talk total delusion with no other motive than that delusion.

    • Bill OTS says:

      02:15pm | 29/01/13

      @Wakeuppls

      Yes! You’ve nailed it! You are one clever detective, my friend.

    • dweezy 2176 says:

      06:28am | 29/01/13

      I’m an alcoholic though I haven’t had an alcoholic drink for 32 years(15Aug1980 to be exact). Nowadays I would be more likely to play among the traffic on the M4 than bother with alcohol.
      BUT the main problem I have always found with sobriety is simplistic! How you wake up in the morning is how you feel all day! At least a drinker(drunk) can improve as the day goes on

    • Schmavo says:

      10:13am | 29/01/13

      Just when I thought a shot at sobriety was worthy of a tilt.

    • gof says:

      06:39am | 29/01/13

      Watching Tony Abbott in his latest goofy attempt of bulshiteing the Aussie public in his TV adverts for the NLP is enough to turn you on to the drink.

    • dovif says:

      06:56am | 29/01/13

      He is still miles better then the morally bankrupt Julia, we have at the moment.

      Has Julia been spoting sexism and mysorgyny recently, her boyfriend has recently been steoreotyping “small asian women”. You would have through the morally bankrupt one would be up in arms, maybe it is only fake Julia, we are seeing all the time now

    • acotrel says:

      06:57am | 29/01/13

      If he gets up we will all be drunk - the right feeding their delusion, and the left drowning their sorrow and anxiety at what would be ahead with a deceitful moron leading Australia.

    • gof says:

      07:14am | 29/01/13

      # dovif,
      The only difference between a Drunk and Mr Abbott is that the Drunk is
      coherent.

    • Chillin says:

      07:26am | 29/01/13

      @gof

      I guess you are going to love him when he is our NEW Prime Minister.

    • gof says:

      07:49am | 29/01/13

      #Chillin ,
      “I guess you are going to love him when he is our NEW Prime Minister”
      Chillin, that will all depend on what legal, mind altering drugs are legal at the time!

    • Jaqui says:

      08:42am | 29/01/13

      So not one article is possible to pass without you leftie scumbags to spew forth your vile hate acotrel (or his alter ego gof).

    • Bill OTS says:

      10:11am | 29/01/13

      What the hell has Tony Abbott got to do with this article, really?

    • k.marshall says:

      10:42am | 29/01/13

      Go find a lady with big fingers.  The pm’s partner should be able to point you in the right direction. Then, sit on it and twirtttttttttt. smile

    • KimL says:

      06:43am | 29/01/13

      I stopped drinking alcohol about 20 years ago, I wasn’t an alcoholic I was a binge drinker on weekends, It would cost me a small fortune to go out, I was sick the next day..hungover.. I spent much of my night heading for the ladies room, urinating it back out again. And one day the penny dropped that this was not only expensive but it was probably going to destroy my liver as well. The social aspect was the thing I missed, I sure did not miss the hangovers.. it is so ingrained in Australian culture, I think it will be here a long time to come. I am not a wowser, I don’t care if others want to drink as long as they don’t want me to as well. Good on you mate, your health will probably be the better for not drinking

    • acotrel says:

      06:45am | 29/01/13

      ’ People drink and take drugs because they make good times better. Or terrible times bearable. ‘

      I rarely drank alcohol during my working life, however I might be a healthier person now if I had self-medicated with it.

    • NESLIHAN KUROSAWA says:

      06:45am | 29/01/13

      Hi Xavier,

      Should I say that congratulations are in order then? I am only guessing that drinking in moderation may seem harmless enough in the beginning! It is always about finding the right balance in everything that we do such as overeating and smoking too much.  I have also heard recently that there is big difference between drinking when we are sad or upset and getting together with a few good friends enjoying our selves. Most Europeans do enjoy a glass of wine or two with their evening meals and I totally believe that could actually considered to be healthy for everyone.

      I have discovered that most dangerous kind may be the cultural binge drinking on those late nights out on the town.  I am also curious to know not being much of a drinker myself, when having far too many drinks in one night stops being enjoyable and starts to become a health hazard?  Whichever way we may choose to look at it,  large amounts of alcohol over long periods can cause the biggest damage to our liver and our brain functions.  And FYI most experts say that our bodies are 90 percent water and not alcohol surely!  Water is so much better for you in the long run.

      Just talking to my friends living overseas who happen to be doctors who actually said that people are checking into clinics for alcohol abuse is actually on the rise. And I don’t only mean the Western nations. For me personally drinking alcohol on social occasions can be harmless enough, but if our friends and loved ones are drinking far too much and far too often especially when they are unhappy, stressed out and upset that actually could be first warning signal that they might be in need of some professional help.  Kind regards.

    • Arrrghhhhhh in grafton says:

      04:44pm | 29/01/13

      NESLIHAN you said
      ” I am also curious to know not being much of a drinker myself, when having far too many drinks in one night stops being enjoyable and starts to become a health hazard? “

      If this is really what you are thinking, then you obviously aren’t much of a drinker and perhaps you are a bit curious.
      Seriously who are you?  The voice of reason?  A nun?  The bubble boy?
      Arrrghhhhhhhh!
      PS. For the most part, professionals don’t know shit about well being.
      But they get paid well to put a positive spin on stuff.

    • wakeuppls says:

      06:45am | 29/01/13

      Do you go on your anti-White rants when you’re sober? This is why you struggle in a social setting.

    • Tartan Smurf says:

      06:48am | 29/01/13

      Clocked up 12 months dry on the 27th Jan.  Leave it to your imagination how big my Australia Day 2012 was.

      For me….second best thing I’ve done after quitting smoking 10+ years ago.

      Good luck.

    • Wayne Kerr says:

      07:21am | 29/01/13

      How did you do it Tartan Smurf?  I’m looking to give it up but I tend to fail at the 2 week mark.  I’m currently on my “god knows how many” attempts as we speak. Would really like some insight.

    • Glenn9 says:

      09:37am | 29/01/13

      @Wayne Kerr - try this website, I found it to be immensely helpful - being informed about why you smoke is the first step in quitting - http://whyquit.com/

      Making the decision to quit smoking is one thing, making the promise to yourself to never put nicotine back into your body is another thing entirely.

      Good luck overcoming your addiction, you have my support. BTW, I quit 11-Nov-2006 after 23 years of Winny Reds, and my life has never been better.

      All the Best

    • Wayne Kerr says:

      11:43am | 29/01/13

      Thanks Glenn9.  I’ll give it a go.  My addiction is alcohol, I gave up the smokes 13 years ago.  Hopefully the practicalities are the same.  Thanks again for your support.

    • Simon says:

      06:57am | 29/01/13

      More power to you Xavier and good luck, but as a 32 year old male in a similar predicament, who also sees life going by at an alarming rate, I’m going to keep on drinking for many of the reasons you stated. Life’s too short to deprive yourself of the simple pleasures. Boozing it up with friends certainly fits the bill.

    • Helt says:

      08:02am | 29/01/13

      Good luck to you.

    • dancan says:

      08:55am | 29/01/13

      After spending several years drinking heavily I quit drinking and stayed alcohol free for 2 years, then about 18 months ago went back to social drinking, but after a few hiccups in life I starting drinking heavily again and relying on alcohol, I figured I would go out in style and had my last binge on new year’s eve, but have been alcohol free since Jan 1 and plan on being alcohol free for at least another 2 years.

      But I do miss the fun of drinking, people often say “you can go out and not drink but still have fun” to which I respond “Sure I could, but going out and being the only one not drinking is like going to an orgy and being the only one the room not having sex, sure you can sit in the corner and amuse yourself but it’s really not the same”

    • Roxanne Ford says:

      09:02am | 29/01/13

      Timing.  I am sitting here absolutely gut wrenched following a disastrous weekend of way too much booze.  I upset my friends, spent my money and now am sicking here sick as a dog.  I know, it is all my fault and I take responsibility.  But I have been thinking for a while of kicking it.  I think I will now.  I did have 7 years off and I felt better.  Time to take the plunge (while I still have some friends)

    • k.marshall says:

      10:47am | 29/01/13

      Sounds like a plan to me. Go for it. Losing friends means you are probably an unpleasant drunk. Congatulations on the epitheny ....? spelling:)

    • Roxanne says:

      11:01am | 29/01/13

      Thanks k.marshall for the support.  The thing is, I am not always an unpleasant drunk.  But lately I can’t predict my behaviour and I have blurred memories where I just cringe.  I remember someone telling me once if you can’t predict your behaviour, you might have a problem.  Well, things are not getting better so to me the best thing is to just get rid of it.  The worst thing at the club is that drunken, foul mouthed bitch carrying on - - - and the last few times that was me.  Nope.  Time to stop.

    • AFR says:

      11:15am | 29/01/13

      Good on you Roxanne. I’m a recent “quitter” myself, and it was at the stage that my drinking got so bad my girlfriend left me and even my parents and friends are telling me they are concerned.

      All the best.

    • Roxanne says:

      11:43am | 29/01/13

      Thanks AFR.  Well, not many of my friends actually said much to me, but I remembered some of the things I had said.  I get on well (suprisingly)  with one of our club security so I went and spoke to him.  He was nice about it all, but confirmed my behaviour, lanuage etc was abysmal and not what they expected. Ah well, might save some money too eh?  Thanks again for your kind words, good luck to you too!

    • T says:

      12:59pm | 29/01/13

      @Roxanne,

      I self medicated with alcohol too, I use to cringe at the thought of last night and have tiny flashbacks of some horribly ridiculous behaviour! One night on my friends birthday I got so smashed I thought a guy whom I was friends with was my ex fiance (who died a year earlier) I went home with him in this delusion he was my ex alive and seltp with him. I woke up at his parents house at 8am and I started work at 8:30am. I was still drunk, still hammered actually. And I passed out on my work floor and vomitted on myself.
      That day was the last day I ever had a problem with drinking, I had 5 months off and I have never looked back. I still drink occasionally but I’m definitly better off for it!
      You will get the usual “are you pregnant or something?” As people just can’t understand why you would stop drinking.
      But listen to your friends and family they only want what is best for you. Set yourself a target, you can do it!

    • Roxanne Ford says:

      01:48pm | 29/01/13

      Thanks for that T.  Interesting how many decent people are on Punch.  Appreciate your support.  To be honest I have been crying most of the day.  Yes, I know, I am to blame. My problem etc etc.  But I feel sort of good now.  I have been aware for a while that things are getting worse. Looking forward to sober weekends!!!  Thanks again Punchers, you are all quite nice and have brightened me up.

    • Millsy says:

      01:55pm | 29/01/13

      Best of luck Roxanne

    • Neil says:

      02:01pm | 29/01/13

      Roxanne, I bet you’re not a beer drinker. This is why I stick to beer, it’s much easier to not piss people off after ten beers than ten bourbon and cokes.

      But being a large male that’s easy for me to say.

      All the best to you.

    • Chillin says:

      02:11pm | 29/01/13

      Take up exercise Roxanne, even walking, getting fitter makes you actually feel good.  It’s all about self esteem and I am sure there’s a reason why you resort to alcohol, so face the demons and become a better person.

    • Roxanne Ford says:

      03:15pm | 29/01/13

      And again, thanks again to you all.  Really have made my day.  It is nice to be given encouragement from strangers. So cheers.  One thing mentioned there by Neil, you are actuallly not right. I would say I drink beer around 50% of the time. Mind you, I can’t hold much alcohol at all. But good advice, as is the advice from Chillin.  Yes, I do exercise, but should increase it.  Hmmm, happier now.  You all have a great night.  smile  smile

    • gof says:

      09:19am | 29/01/13

      Yes, but if guys stop getting rolling drunk then ugly chicks won’t get laid. No more 3am , lights on rush!
      Wont’ someone please think about those unfortunate women over a size 8!

    • Roxanne Ford says:

      09:47am | 29/01/13

      Weren’t you meant to be going back to school today?

    • k.marshall says:

      09:31am | 29/01/13

      You are probably half way through your life now. It is time to reassess. It will be uncomfortable for awhile, but wonderful after. Hope you give it a chance , and even more, hope you stay off it. Horrible when you see and listen to others who are drunk, and see yourself. Better still get someone to video you when you are pissed. That can be almost soul destroying. No matter what, the hangovers get bigger, last longer, and take less booze to get to it.
      It is time to look at life and reassess.

    • St. Michael says:

      11:14am | 29/01/13

      “So I want to see if I can exist in the evening without a few drinks to take the edge off.”

      Keep thinking like that and you won’t.

      You were not born with a beer can in hand.  You are perfectly capable, as every other human being is, of putting away emotional crutches—but it takes more than “wanting to see” in order to cure what amounts to an addiction.

      I would term “wanting to see if you can exist” without alcohol as evincing a superficial intention to kick the grog.  I would term it as “Abstain until it seems moderately hard or boring, and then give up.”  You can’t just “want to see” if you can stop drinking.  You have to stop, and then cope with the withdrawal symptoms—physical and emotional—that follow.  That takes conviction that the result will be worth the effort, and saying you “want to see” if you can stop suggests you’re not sufficiently convinced whether it’s a good thing to stop.

      “And have you tried sitting in inner city traffic for hours without being smashed? It’s totally boring.”

      Well, yes—because being smashed and in “control” of a vehicle not infrequently results in a charge of DUI, as well as significantly raising the odds of getting smashed in a literal as well as figurative way.  Much as I find inner city traffic boring, I find having to walk everywhere, public transport and/or being dead a hell of a lot worse.

    • wakeuppls says:

      12:31pm | 29/01/13

      “You were not born with a beer can in hand.”

      Nah. He was born with a Cosmopolitan in his hand.

    • life is but sleep says:

      01:14pm | 29/01/13

      do not knock alcohol.
      I wash all my wooden , lineoneum and tiled floors with alcohol !
      alcohol gets rid of the dirt

    • Sheldon says:

      02:52pm | 29/01/13

      Good on you Xavier. I agree with many of your reasons for giving up alcohol. I gave up myself four and a half years ago because I wanted to prove to people (and myself) that I did not need to rely on alcohol to have fun. I did not encourage other people to give up alcohol, they’re welcome to keep drinking if they want to, but if my attitude makes someone else rethink theirs, so be it. After you’ve been sober for long enough, you find your own ways of making life interesting, and you don’t look back. Many people tell me that now I’ve proven myself, there’s no harm in having just a few drinks every now and then. My reply is that there’s no point either.

 

Facebook Recommendations

Read all about it

Punch live

Up to the minute Twitter chatter

Recent posts

The latest and greatest

The Punch is moving house

The Punch is moving house

Good morning Punchers. After four years of excellent fun and great conversation, this is the final post…

Will Pope Francis have the vision to tackle this?

Will Pope Francis have the vision to tackle this?

I have had some close calls, one that involved what looked to me like an AK47 pointed my way, followed…

Advocating risk management is not “victim blaming”

Advocating risk management is not “victim blaming”

In a world in which there are still people who subscribe to the vile notion that certain victims of sexual…

Nosebleed Section

choice ringside rantings

From: Hasbro, go straight to gaol, do not pass go

Tim says:

They should update other things in the game too. Instead of a get out of jail free card, they should have a Dodgy Lawyer card that not only gets you out of jail straight away but also gives you a fat payout in compensation for daring to arrest you in the first place. Instead of getting a hotel when you… [read more]

From: A guide to summer festivals especially if you wouldn’t go

Kel says:

If you want a festival for older people or for families alike, get amongst the respectable punters at Bluesfest. A truly amazing festival experience to be had of ALL AGES. And all the young "festivalgoers" usually write themselves off on the first night, only to never hear from them again the rest of… [read more]

Gentle jabs to the ribs

Superman needs saving

Superman needs saving

Can somebody please save Superman? He seems to be going through a bit of a crisis. Eighteen months ago,… Read more

28 comments

Newsletter

Read all about it

Sign up to the free News.com.au newsletter