I Hate Being Sober

Bev Potter
3 min readJan 22
Photo by Kelsey Knight on Unsplash

I hate being sober.

Everybody talks about how great it is being sober, how clear they feel. How “It’s a struggle, but life is so much better now” and on and on.

I’ve been sober for 30 years and it fucking sucks. I think about alcohol every day. I think about all the drinks I didn’t get to drink.

I’ve never had a daiquiri with a little umbrella in it. I’ve never had a margarita or a mimosa or a mojito. In high school and college, I drank whatever was put in front of me or was on sale, and then I graduated to vodka tonics (twist of lime, never lemon).

And then I got hepatitis C and I stopped drinking, cold turkey. There’s something about jabbing yourself in the thigh with a syringe for several years that makes you want to protect your liver, if for no other reason than to make the stabbing stop.

But I remember the last drink I had. It was a Zima, and I was on the back deck of the little house I lived in with my first husband who probably gave me the hepatitis C, which he picked up from either a dirty coke straw, or a tattoo, or dialysis.

It was summer and I loved Zima. Cold and crisp and fizzy.

I remember the drinks before that too: the amaretto and cream I had at a high school party in a field at night; the Fuzzy Navels I drank at my best friend Amy’s house that turned me off peach schnapps for life; the Long Island iced teas we drank at Miami that were 16 ounces of oblivion; and the endless rounds of 50-cent beers in flimsy plastic cups that I downed throughout grad school and then drove home to puke outside my parents’ garage.

My dad told me to eat an orange to settle my stomach and it worked. As a young man, he’d almost died when he drove in front of a train. That’s when he tapered back to the occasional beer and a ritualistic Tom Collins every Saturday night. My mom would join him in a Tom Collins, but I never saw her drink anything else, which is probably for the best since I once found a bottle of Stelazine stashed in a kitchen cabinet. (Of course I took one.)

My uncle Jimmy, my dad’s brother, carried a little Igloo cooler around with him that was full of beer everywhere he went. He was the funniest human being I ever met. He died of pancreatic cancer, because that’s what gets you…

Bev Potter

Legal secretary by day, insomniac by night. Ally. BA, MA. Humor, pop culture, and things that make you think. My weekly-ish newsletter is bevpotter.substack.com