So, this was me last night – singing New York New York at the top of my lungs with a friend. It wasn’t pretty. In fact, it was so unpretty that everyone left the building once we got started. But we had a great time!

Here’s the thing… I’m not remotely interested in karaoke. If I pass a pub with karaoke going on, I’m walking straight past. If anyone mentions karaoke, I switch off, glaze over and politely mumble excuses. Throughout my whole drinking career I think I only ever attempted one karaoke, under duress, and I was so pissed I have absolutely no recollection of it.

I don’t like karaoke. If I want to go and see someone sing, I’d rather pay to go see someone I like, singing music I like. I’ve never understood the draw of karaoke. Probably partly because I know I’m not a very good singer and I’m only interested in doing things I’m good at and not making a fool of myself.

However, the beauty of enjoying life sober is it opens you up to the most surprising and wonderful experiences.

Yesterday afternoon, my friends called and said they’d be popping into town to pick up an Indian meal and would it be okay to call round here and bring some for me. I think it goes without saying that my response was an eager yes! So, here was an unexpected impromptu evening gathering of five of us. Lovely food, lovely conversation, next-to-no alcohol and a good laugh was had by all. I love when things happen on the spur of the moment. And, I love being sober so I can take advantage of them.

When I was drinking, this would have required some energy and thought: what to drink, how much to drink, how much to drink in front of the guests… given that only one of my guests was drinking (and, even then, only two small glasses of wine). How to create an appearance of moderation and healthy drinking. Drinking would have caused me a whole lot more effort. Not only all this thought and energy but also the effort of trying. Trying to be someone different. Trying to appear “normal” (or my version of it). Trying to be entertaining and likeable. Trying to enjoy restricted drinking… etc.

Sober, the spur of the moment gathering required me only to take out some forks, plates and glasses, to choose some music and then to sit and enjoy the company and conversation. No effort involved whatsoever. The whole evening was effortlessly fun and I was confidently my authentic self (or one of them at least!)

While showing off the enormous TV screen complete with impressive sound box, I came across a karaoke setting which my friend and I explored. Neither of us are into karaoke. Neither of us are into Frank Sinatra. But we laughed so hard we had tears streaming down our cheeks, especially when we realised everyone else had disappeared. Without even thinking or worrying about it, I had spontaneously and confidently grabbed the opportunity and tried something completely different. And, now I have a memory that’s making me laugh. (My friends are milking the photos for all they’re worth too!) I have a feeling that my friend and I won’t win any singing awards but we will provide some laughs for a few months to come.

Drunk, none of this would have been possible.

Being sober opens doors to wonderful experiences and memories.

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