Ruby, having made the way from the magazine world in London to becoming an author in New York, briefly made an appearance in the UK to promote her new book ‘Sober Curious’, (as well as to celebrate a little pre-Christmas with family in Europe). As the title of the book hints to, it’s Ruby’s experience of cutting out booze. She doesn’t want to go down the route of being labeled t-total, but the ‘sober curious’ title indicates a more willing approach to removing alcohol from your life.
However, the expectations in the western world is that you have a drink, especially in social occasions. If not then it is widely assumed that you must be pregnant, have a problem, are judgemental towards the people who do like to indulge or have something else wrong with you. This especially accounts for the pre-millennial generation of course, who grew up thinking booze was the only way to let go.
In January many of us have removed booze from our lives and may suffer from FOMA “fear of missing alcohol”, (yes, every new social trend comes with an abbreviation nowadays). But what is it like to have a dry January that continues? That has no end? Making a decision to give up permanently, comes with the fear of ‘what if I do want one drink one day?’
Maybe it’s the need to label that makes it so scary. If it was just a choice to not drink, without end or beginning, without explanation, then it would surely not be such a big decision. However, the daily/weekly/event -drink is so expected that if you don’t do it, you need a label. Maybe it’s way for us drinkers to keep as many of you who don’t want to indulge, on our side, crawling under tables and howling like wolves, reminiscing the day afterwards about the things we no longer remember and sharing paracetamol tablets. Because if we didn’t all do it then the ones that did would surely all be fools?
Shot for The Guardian Weekend