One Month Challenge: Sober, Week 1

So it’s been a week since I put down the bottle of Jack. And Ketel. And Captain’s. And… well, everything.

At first, it was easy. After chugging rum out of a flask last Friday night and inhaling two giant slices of pizza after a few too many margaritas on Saturday night, I was more than excited to stay away from the hooch for a little while. I walked around my apartment in a hungover haze on Sunday, unable to do much besides watch a Millionaire Matchmaker marathon on my couch all day.

“Remember this feeling when you wanna go out and party,” I told myself as I made yet another cup of instant coffee.

Since I normally don’t drink much on weeknights (after that time I had to give a presentation in class and I was still drunk from the night before), it was smooth sailing for most of the week. Even the daily IMs from my guy friends asking me if I was still sober (OK, betting me that I wasn’t still sober) didn’t bother me. After all, being sober on a Monday wasn’t anything new to me.

But then Thursday hit and I felt like a Pavlovian dog, salivating for booze. It didn’t help that I was listening to my iTunes and every single song that came up reminded me of a bar. First Ke$ha, then Journey and then, to dig the knife in a little deeper, Madonna‘s Like a Prayer (only my favorite drinking song of all time). I cursed Steve Jobs.

Lucky for me, I had to be up super early on Friday to head back home for the weekend. That meant I couldn’t go out to the bar with my friends and risk tempting myself with the delicious smells of stale beer and Jager. And by that I mean “try to stay sober while my annoying friends take shots and be annoying drunks.”

I got quite a few drunk dials both Thursday night and last night (“Come drink with us! Don’t do this dumb challenge!”) and, I admit, they did make me sad that I was missing out on all the fun, but waking up on a Saturday without a hangover has made it all worth it. It is 10:30 am as I type this. I’m fully dressed, sitting in a coffee shop sipping a delicious mocha. I have a million things to do today and, unlike most weekends, I have the energy to do them, My head doesn’t hurt, I didn’t make any dumb decisions last night (except maybe eating that 4th chocolate chip cookie fresh out of the oven), I didn’t spend a ton of money, and I will not be wasting my day in a t-shirt and underwear scrolling through my phone trying to find someone to run to the corner and pick me up a Powerade.

It feels great! I’m on a total high, but I didn’t need any illegal substances to get here – just some sleep (a full 8 hours, baby) and some hydration.

I’m not gonna lie, though: I am a bit nervous about this weekend. I have a fancy family dinner for my dad’s birthday (the type of meal that would go swimmingly with a few glasses of wine) and, gasp, the Super Bowl tomorrow. Which I will be watching with my guy friends. Who usually prefer me drunk (I guess I’m more fun that way?). Eating chips and my mom’s famous guac without a nice, refreshing beer (or, more appropriately, a cheap, disgusting Milwaukee’s Best) will be my first real test of this whole sober thing.

But I guess that will be just be the test I need to prepare for my Single Girl Valentine’s Day next weekend, what is normally a three-day chocolate and vodka bender.

Wish me luck!



  1. Mintii says:

    "Who usually prefer me drunk (I guess I’m more fun that way?)"

    Super depressing. Good luck to you, maybe this will give you perspectives of how friends should appreciate you when you're not in an altered state.

  2. Emma says:

    I agree. The entire story is pathetic, and hopefully extremely exaggerated. I am a college student as well, but I drink alcohol maybe once or twice a month, never binge drink, and I have never felt like I was "salivating for booze." I think the name for your drinking habit is "alcoholism" and is a serious disease that you should seek professional help for.

    I would hate for another young woman to read this article and think that that is normal or appropriate behavior.

  3. Ashley says:

    I don't think Lauren is an alcoholic…ever heard of writing to capture your audience's attention. I think what Lauren was getting at with this article is that we're in college, we drink, we like it; therefore, we do it when we go to parties, bars, formals, etc. It's not about having alcohol as a crutch, but rather, having alcohol as a way to have fun. Try going to a party with a keg of soda water and see what happens. Drinking is a personal choice and in no way is Lauren trying to influence readers to drink. In fact, I'd really like to hear her response to the month she spends sober because I'm sure we will then realize (and make the rest of us realize too) that you can drink in a situation and have fun, or you don't have to drink, still have fun, and not wake up with a horrible hangover.

  4. ads5 says:

    this photo is cool.

    Can I copy to post at my site here

  5. Roberto says:

    well you know i am pretty sure its common sense you don't have to drink to have fun

  6. Lauren - University says:

    Thanks for your concern, people but I am not an alcoholic or pathetic. I'm a normal girl who lives a normal 20-something life where alcohol is pretty central to the social scene. Was I LITERALLY salivating for alcohol on Thurs? No, but that WAS the first time all week I really wanted to go out and have a cocktail. Do my friends REALLY like me better when I'm drunk? Maybe they think I'm more entertaining, but I know for a fact they love me always. Why don't you stop taking life so seriously and learn to appreciate some humor sometime? I am not attempting to influence people to get drunk all the time – if you actually read this article you'd see that it's showing how great it feels NOT to drink. And congrats to you, Emma, for only drinking 2 times a month. You don't see me sitting here calling you boring and a loser for only going out that often, so don't judge me for the choices I make in my life. (Sorry if I'm cranky; must be my body's reaction to a Saturday night without vodka. THAT'S A JOKE FOR ALL OF YOU WHO CAN'T TELL.)

  7. Roberto says:

    well your drinking problem isn;t humorous at all, if you have a problem, SEEK HELP!!!



  8. Madison says:

    Lauren, seriously do not listen to any of this crap. Drinking is a normal part of most peoples college life, and clearly these people have no sense of humor! If I was in your shoes I would most defff be craving to go out and drink with all of my friends on the weekends! I can't wait to hear how the rest of this goes because I honestly don't think I could do this! And to those of you who will read this and criticize me too, I don't have a problem either. I'm just a normal college student who does things normal college students do!

  9. Ali says:

    I think it's great that you're doing this challenge. And I definitely don't think you have a problem. I just graduated in Decemeber and I spent my college life in a total drunken haze. My friends were the heaviest drinkers I've ever seen. Me and my roommate Katie would buy a 30 pack and split it many of the nights we drank (not sharing with friends, finishing it too). I can't look back on that as a "problem", because at the school we went to in a small town all there was to do was binge drink so that's what everybody did to socialize.

    However, I must say that when I sort of gave up drinking, and not as some choice, mostly I just stopped because I got tired of the feeling and gaining weight and the same old scene of beer pong, I lost a lot of friends. Basically, the guy friends who were 'my boys' for three years are now a foreign concept in my life. I got the same kind of texts, come out with us!, stop being lame!!, and if I did go out to have a couple beers and hang they would ridicule me and pressure me to drink even if I didn't want to.

    So honestly lady my advice to you is learn who your true friends are. From college now I've only kept about three friends from my huge inner social circle there (of drinkers). Drinking is like an exclusive party with that group, and if you're not shitfaced you're not in apparently. I really hope you make it through this month so you can see who is actually there for you and who only wants you to come be part of the party.

    And also, while I graduated early and lost twenty pounds and am training to be in a marathon, they are still up there at school doing the same damn thing every weekend. Sure it was fun at the time, but there is so much more to life! Best of luck.

  10. Zoe says:

    I really liked this article, and I fully understand, Lauren, you're not an alcoholic it's just that drinking really does play a huge part of many student's lifestyle and kicking the habbit for a while can be tough, most especially because of peer pressure. I'm very impressed with your decision, I know I would find it really hard too and I'm neither an alcoholic nor pathetic. Good luck!!

  11. Cristina- Michigan S says:

    Lauren, I give you a lot of credit for doing this because I'm sure it will inspire a lot of people to try to challenge themselves in different ways. I actually think I'm going to try this out for a month too. Just because someone gives up drinking for a month doesn't mean it's an addiction. I can clearly see you're doing this to challenge yourself and grow as a person to say, "Yes, I can do this!"

    For those judgmental comments, just remember that she is basically doing what most Catholics do for Lent, but for a little shorter.

  12. Abby says:

    "Better take advantage of it now, because after college it's called alocholism"

    haha – Lauren, you're a normal college student. People who are dissin' on you just don't understand. Nothing wrong with liking to party!! Good luck!

  13. Marcus says:

    Giving up drinking for a month really shouldn't be that hard. It's probably a good thing you've decided to take this challenge because your whole social life seems to revolve around drinking. Having said that, i wish you luck for the next couple of weeks and hopefully you'll learn a thing or two about youself by the time the month is over.

  14. Lenna says:

    Good job on week one, and good luck!

    And to the people who think you're an alcoholic obviously have not had to live with one.

  15. Tamara says:

    I'm finding very interesting to read the comments in the blog: I didn't believe people in the USA were so conservative until I started reading this.

    First, as Lenna says: have you people ever met a true alcoholic? An alcoholic would drink parfume if he didn't have anything else home. Alcoholics can't hold a job or any kind of responsabilities (like writing in such a big and crowded blog ran by someone else, or going to college, like Lauren obviously does); their friends don't like them when they're drunk, actually, alcoholics are pitied by their friends, when they haven completely lost them. So be a little more careful with your words. Luckyly Lauren has a thick skin, but she could have been hurt by your words.

    Second, it is not even about the alcohol, it's about what it means, socially. Do you all go to catholic schools? Because I live in a different hemisphere and college life it's just like that here too. Celebrating the end of the semester? Let's go for a beer! Haven't seen you in a while? Let's catch up over a couple of beers! My birthday party? Remember to bring your own beer! It's just like that. Not drinking leaves you out of a lot of stuff. Maybe another world would be healthier…but drinking a couple of beers in the weekend (without getting totally wasted every saturday) it's fun and healthy enough. So don't be so saint.

  16. Jane says:

    "Not drinking leaves you out of a lot of stuff."

    I'm sorry, but no.

    There are a lot of things you can do without drinking, in college or not.

  17. RIKO says:

    wow. there are a lot of judgmental people commenting here. and apparently a lot of psychologists/doctors! thank god we have people like you to point out that we are alcoholics for drinking in college. Thank you for your insight and expertise

  18. Casey says:

    I actually read the comments before I read the article and so I was expecting the article to be a terribly pathetic story of how you can't go a day without alcohol. Needless to say it wasn't anywhere close to my expectations.

    I think the people leaving the hatefull comments probably aren't in college, or are attending a community college and have never been to a University before, (and don't take offense to that, there's nothing wrong with community college) because this IS normal behavior for college students, there's little else to do in college towns besides go to bars, or frat parties, or clubs, where alcohol is a key factor in the function.

    And what Tamara described is true alcoholism, and is a sad and depressing way to live, some of you are obviously lucky enough to never have experienced true alcoholism first hand, and if you haven't then you really don't have the authority to comment on the subject.

    Good job Lauren, and Good luck!

  19. Lydia says:

    Well done, that is awesome! I’ve just stopped drinking as of today for Lent (now until Easter!!) which I can already tell is going to be pretty tough…

    Just blogged about it (thirtythreehummingbirds), check it out:


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