Weekly Ten: Sober and Loving it

Every week I write a weekly top ten list (what up, Letterman?) about the hard hitting issues. The tough. The real deal. You know, like stupid celebrities and things that piss me off on Facebook. But this week I want to take things to another level.

For the past four weeks I have stopped drinking. Like, completely. I know – scary. Especially for a girl like me who loves to pair a drink with every time of the day. 9:30 AM? Bloody Mary. 11:45 AM? Margarita. 12:00 PM? Vodka Cran. 1:30 PM? Harpoon Summer Ale. 6:00 PM? Dirty Martini. Make that porn star dirty. You get the picture. I am definitely no lightweight.

But, several weeks ago after a rough night at an infamous Times Square watering home, which may or may not have involved shots of tequila…that I drank while dancing on the bar… I decided to slam on the brakes until my birthday (September 28th. Feel free to send presents), which totals over two months of stone cold sobriety.

This decision has sparked a lot of controversy, but I’ve remained strong and haven’t slipped up once. When I commit, I commit all the way. I still go out to the bar at least twice a week and, yes, still have a phenomenal time. This month has made me realize one very important thing that not many college students realize:

Sobriety is nice.
And here are a few (well, 10) of the things I love:

10. Cheap barhopping!
Hey, just because you’re not drinking doesn’t mean you can’t hit up all the bars and clubs you want to. A great way to feel comfortable is to go up to the bar, and show the bartender that you’re going to to tip them. Ask for a seltzer or a Sprite and just smile and ask them to “dress it up like a cocktail.” Sometimes you’ll get a snotty bartender, but more often than not, they’ll do it with a wink and a smile. Just holding a drink keeps people from hassling you. Not to mention, as long as you tip the bartenders, you’ll only end up spending about five bucks on drinks a night so you can save cash. Thrifty and healthy. Me likey.

9. Get some effing culture
So instead of getting plastered on a Friday night, you can take advantage of awesome museums, movies and sight seeing. If you’re in the NYC area, the MoMa has free entry from 4-8 every Friday. Skipping happy hour and checking out the James Ensor exhibit? I’ll take it.

8. Meet better dudes.
Drinking = confidence= meeting hotties! Right? Um, no. Hanging out at a bar soberly will keep your judgment clear. That guy who’s a total slamming hottie when you’re five cocktails deep? He’s wearing an Ed Hardy shirt and uses more hair product than all the Gotti boys combined. Ew. Since I’ve sobered up, I’ve learned to ditch the losers and chat up the sweetheart who’s not dropping it like it’s hot. Trust me, the genuine nice guys appreciate the non-sloppy girls. Plus, if they respect the fact that you’re not drinking? Keeper.

7. No more drunk munchies!
That extra large pizza with all the fixings at 4 AM doesn’t seem like such a great idea anymore.

6. Goodbye hangovers.
I no longer feel like I’ve been run over by a semi every Saturday and Sunday morning. I’m (GASP) productive on the weekends. Unless there’s a Back to the Future or Top Model marathon on. Then forget it; I’m married to the couch, hungover or not.

5. Learn to say No.
Sometimes I’m kind of a pushover. I’d like to say “loyal,” but once in a while I’ll find myself doing something above and beyond what’s necessary. For example, giving my former male roommate PEDICURES. I know. You’d be surprised how many of my friends were annoyed that I stopped drinking. Doing a stint of sobriety, especially at a college-age, is not easy. People are not understanding but I learned that I DON’T have to give a reason, even if people often demand one. Even after saying, “No, I’m really not drinking,” I’ll have friends (and even new acquaintances!) telling me, “Come on, just a drink. Oh just take a sip. It’s not a big deal. Seriously, you’re going to regret not drinking.” Right. I’ve learned to hold my own and say No. Peer pressure does exist, but now I know how to deal. Thanks, D.A.R.E.

4. No more empty calories.
Did you know one shot of tequila is 100 calories? And a margarita can be up to 250? Five margaritas is about as many calories as you should consume in an entire day. I’ll splurge on a burger instead, and still be cutting calories.

3. It’s really, really funny to watch drunk people. I mean, really funny.
You get to watch people go from perfectly coiffed and demure to complete sh**show circus in three hours. Amazing what you learn about friends when you’re sober and they’re not.

2. Feel and look better.
Despite feeling a little left out when everyone’s getting loaded, the physical benefits of lack of booze have been amazing. I’m more energetic, slimming down, less nauseous and headachey. Alcohol does a number on your skin, hair and all physical features. No more bags, dried out skin or frizzed out hair. I mean, we’ve all seen LiLo at her worst. Ew. Grey Goose, you are sooo not worth it.

1. No more stupid dance moves.
Sobriety means less arm waving, nerdy, “WOO-HOO” yelling and getting low. Lil’ Jon, you are my life.

Okay, I lied. I totally still dance like that when I’m sober. Put on “Pretty Young Thing” by MJ and despite my lack of booze, I still look like the drunkest girl in the bar.

Melanie currently interning in NYC, taking full advantage of all margarita shirley temple specials and those blonde summer boys. Stalk her on Twitter: @tinkermellie

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