FEATURE: SOBERPUNKS BLOG

FEATURE: SOBERPUNKS BLOG

The web is full of recovery blogs and sites… heck, this is one!

One of the things we want to do here is showcase other like-minded sites, and this week we’re made up to share the work of fellow recovery warrior, and Yorkshireman to-boot, Jon Tetsuo, founder of Soberpunks. We’d like to share Jon’s very first blog entry, which sheds some light on Jon’s experience and his reasons for starting up his blog. Following that, and fast forward a couple of years, Jon reflects on his coming out as a drinker, and how his blogging has found him linked to national groups, like Club Soda… and hanging out in Westminster!

Jon – thanks for sharing with us, and we look forward to seeing you back up North very soon!

Soberpunks.co.uk is a sweary alcohol recovery blog that is written by mid-thirties ex-drinker Jon Tetsuo. Born and raised in West Yorkshire, England, Jon’s drinking career began at around age 15, and continued well into his 30s. An active musician, Jon spends many a weekend recording and gigging with his comedy techno-punk band Petrol Bastard – and it was the party lifestyle that came with this touring which pushed Jon to a point where alcohol stopped being fun, and started causing problems with work, relationships, and general health. Jon made the decision to quit drinking in September 2015, and has replaced this vice with running, climbing, and writing. He relocated to Milton Keynes that December, to be with his wife Emma. Soberpunks.co.uk was launched in September 2016, to mark Jon’s first year of sobriety. Since it’s launch, Jon’s blog has received praise for it’s honesty, and it’s non-patronising approach to offering advice and support.

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EIGHT THOUSAND SEVEN HUNDRED & SIXTY
July 28, 2016 by Jon Tetsuo

That’s approximately how many hours it’s been. One whole year since I last had a drink, and since I last got drunk. Drinking, getting drunk – they’re the same thing! You drink to get drunk, right? Hell yes. This is part of the problem…

Following A LOT of false starts, this is the longest I’ve been sober since I was probably 16 years old – 20 years ago. This time it feels different. I’ve approached it from a positive angle, I’ve rationalised the whole thing, and I’ve surrounded myself with the right information and the right people. This time it’s for good – going back to the my old life would be a suicide mission. Admittedly it would be fun for a few weeks, but in the long run…. nah. Been there, had a blast, moved on.

You too can look like unhinged in an unkempt kitchen

I was never the classic alcoholic. I’ve never been homeless, and I have always managed to hold down a decent job – but it wasn’t easy operating through the fog of hangovers and paranoia. I wasn’t the guy picking up a drink in the morning to stop the shakes, but I was the guy occasionally picking up a drink on a Sunday morning to keep the one-man party going. Every weekend, for as long as I can remember, has been about getting obliterated. I fucking love it, I love it too much, and that’s why it’s an issue. Personal relationships have suffered due to drinking; that’s probably the biggest casualty.

I promised myself that when I hit 1 year sober I would start this blog for 3 reasons:

  1. To mark the occasion, and give it the recognition it deserves
  2. In the hope that my forthcoming meanderings will resonate with at least a few people. If I can help other people, then I’ll have a responsibility to them and therefore a responsibility to stay sober. Similar to the 12th step, for those of you who are familiar with the AA programme
  3. To build a community and encourage sharing. I aim to add a forum to the blog at some point, and I’m on the lookout for guest bloggers (wanna share your story? drop me a message via the contact form). This is why it’s called SOBERPUNKS and not SOBERPUNK. Group huuuuug.
    I won’t be imposing any rules for this blog – no agreed post frequencies, no opinions censored, no rigor around topics, no target demographic (despite the name SOBERPUNKS – more on this in a future blog).

I’m keen to keep this blog as honest as possible. In my next couple of posts I’ll be setting the scene with a bit more about me (northern lad, living down south, bit chunky, engaged to a goddess, likes pizza, climbing, and shit music, hates vacuum cleaners) and my ideas for developing the blog. After the initial niceties you can expect drunken horror stories, tales of previous attempts to quit drinking, things I’ve learned throughout my experiences, relationship disasters, and anything else which I decide to fire into cyberspace.

This blog is for anyone with an interest in alcohol struggles. Drinkers, teetotalers, serial quitters, those worried for a loved one, all genders, all ages, all tastes. Everyone is welcome.

No fucking Coldplay fans though. There’s a limit.

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ON COMING OUT… AND THE HOUSE OF COMMONS.
March 18 2018

… With everything out in the open it suddenly felt like a MASSIVE weight had been lifted, and I spent the next couple of days getting some huge plans in motion:

SoberPunks Live Event – Plans are still in the early stages, but with the support of the lovely people at Club Soda I am looking to stage the first ever SoberPunks live event in September this year in a grotty venue in Manchester (grotty i.e. in keeping with the general vibe of my smelly blog). Tentatively titled Rampage To Recovery it will be a chance to hear some of the downright grittiest and nastiest stories of drunken tomfoolery right from the mouths of the people that lived it, and the way in which they turned things around. I’ve already got some exciting speakers lined up, and the event will be open to anyone wanting to attend – whether it’s people in recovery, people considering cutting back on drink, or just people who want to hear some fucking minging stories about pub fights and broken bones and self-weeing incidents. There’ll also be loud music (of course) and hopefully a chance to sample some of the best alcohol-free beers on offer. Proper beers may also be available depending on the venue; I’m all about inclusivity dude – even if the spell checker does put a squiggly red line under it.

SoberPunks at the House Of Commons – So this was a biggie, and came about all very suddenly. The week before last I was on the phone to the lovely Laura Willoughby MBE – co-founder of Club Soda – and she mentioned that they were going to the House Of Commons to raise the issue of confusing labelling rules when it comes to alcohol-free drinks. Basically, in the UK we have to label them as low-alcohol, whereas those made elsewhere – for example Becks Blue made in Germany – can be labelled as alcohol free. This confuses bars and stockists, which leads to them choosing not to stock them, which then leads to your booze-struggling man on the street having to choose between getting ribbed for drinking Pepsi on a stag-do, or just throwing the whole thing to hell and getting plastered on beer with the rest of ’em. I was invited along as a living example of someone who benefits from the availability of alcohol-free variants, which is something I was very cool with.

SoberPunks In Parliament. That’s Jon at the back in the blue jacket, cupping his balls!

A lot of good things came from my visit to the HOC – namely: I got to finally meet a few of my fellow booze-bloggers face-to-face, which was AWESOME. I also got to meet the legendary guys from Rok Soba – a biker clothes label created by two bearded brothers and built around the sober lifestyle. One other unexpected pleasure was that I got the chance to meet the inspirational blogger and writer Clare Pooley – author of The Sober Diaries: How one woman stopped drinking and Started Living.

There was also a very slightly embarrassing bad thing that happened. A friendly little bespectacled guy, possibly one of the aides (is that a thing? I’m not very politics. Assume it’s not spelled AIDS?) was chatting to me over a couple of bottles of alcohol-free G&T. I told him a bit about the blog, and after piquing his interest decided to whip my phone out and show soberpunks.co.uk to him. I selected a random old blog and quickly scrolled through, landing on the pic from this blog of a shopkeeper above the caption ‘Not today thanks Mr Patel. Instead I’m going to go home and have a big wank.’ Oops.

Wanking faux pas aside, it all went rather swimmingly. You can read a great little article about it here.

It’s awesome being able to suddenly have the freedom to put my blog about, and stand proudly as someone who has gone from a debilitating party-hard lifestyle to a position where I can stand about in Parliament talking about wanking. There’s no one left to hide from, and the feeling is pretty fucking exhilarating. It’s good to feel free, man.

If you’re in a similar position to where I was, and you’re contemplating COMING OUT, then believe me I do understand how daunting the prospect can be. There are two main reasons that I would say go for it though:

  1. Be proud. If anyone has a problem with who you really are then FUCK those guys. You don’t need people like that in your life. Obviously don’t actually fuck them.
  2. It all adds extra weight to your accountability. The more people who know, the less likely you are to fall off of that wagon. Trust me.

It feels like things are really starting to take shape in the world of SoberPunks. Sober life has a way of leading you on amazing journeys that you would have never undertaken if you were still stuck in the cycle of drink->hangover->drink->hangover. I had a moment when I was on the tube, heading towards the Houses Of Parliament, and I suddenly thought ‘Hang on! What the fuck am I doing here?’ and the absurdity of the whole thing put a big smile on my face, which seemed to really unnerve this group of Chinese women stood next to me.

Finally today, I just wanted to say a huge thanks for all the lovely support I’ve had on this journey so far. It’s only the beginning! Look out for tickets for the Manchester event, and in the meantime if you want to support SoberPunks you can do it by buying one of my fancy new T-shirts here. Wear it loud and proud! 

Massive fist-bumps.

Jonathan

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