My apologies if you’ve been wondering what the hell happened to Dipsomaniac Ben but since finishing my year of living sober I’ve been living life large. My silly season drinking didn’t get out of hand or anything but I have been enjoying drinking alcohol again. Very much! In fact my wife reckons I might be in a ‘Honeymoon’ period of enjoying booze during the holidays, especially since it’s summer down under at the mo’. And yes, beer sure tastes good when it’s hot outside!
But something else besides my re-acquaintance with alcohol has happened to me post-YOLS. I’ve been overcome by total focus on my new project, something I’ve named my ‘Year of Comedy’!
If Year of Living Sober taught me anything—apart from simply the comforting knowledge I could go a whole year without a single alcoholic drink—it was that good things come when you focus. Making a simple decision (to abstain from booze for a year) and sticking to it helped me become a better blogger (and perhaps writer in general) and it helped me appreciate something about myself I maybe hadn’t valued enough before: when I set my mind on something I get it done.
Now my mind is set on doing something I have always dreamt of but never had the nerve to try. No, not a triple-loop roller-coaster (done that) but something else with twists, tight turns, dips, dives and climbs towards the giddy heights: stand-up comedy.
Though I have acted on-and-off since I was a teenager, and though I have performed on many stages around the world as a singer-songwriter I have never done the one thing that scares me (or used to) most. To stand on a stage and make people laugh. It sounds simple but since most people are less afraid of death than public speaking, maybe I’m not alone in having felt trepidation at the thought of going mono-a-mono with a comedy club crowd.
But now I am ready. And maybe my year of living sober helped get me there.
Since celebrating my YOLS completion with a beer (or two) and putting together The Little Booze Joke Book (featuring the best Little Booze Jokes from this blog) then doing a radio interview with a Canadian Radio Station (DNTO on CBC radio) I’ve been flat out writing material for my comedy debut. I’ve been standing in my study delivering gag after gag to my nonplussed pussy (not a Benny Hill joke about my wife but rather a reference to our cat) and I’ve booked myself in for an open-mic slot at a Melbourne comedy club.
The future looks bright. Fun, exciting, challenging and bright. I am literally counting down the days to my first stand-up gig ever.
But that is my future, what of my past? Has my drinking habit returned the same as it was before my YOLS or am I drinking less now than before or more?
Truth is it’s not an easy answer.
Since returning to drinking I have had nights when I’ve drunk more than the two stubbies of beer and a bottle of wine I was drinking regularly pre-YOLS and nights when I have drunk less. A few times I’ve left bottles of wine unfinished (though they don’t last more than two days!) and a few times I’ve gone to bed worried there has been no change in my fondness for getting a bit more sloshed than might be good for me.
But here’s the big thing that’s changed: I’m okay with all of it. I feel good that I accomplished my goal of going a year without a drink and though I might have returned pretty much to my pre-YOLS drinking patterns that’s as it is. I am what I am.
As I have said many times in the last year “I am a dipsomaniac”.
But I’m also a lot more. I’m a husband and father; I’m a writer, a musician, an actor and soon to be stand-up comedian. For a year I was a non-drinking dipsomaniac and now I am a drinking one again.
Would part of me have liked to come back here and blogged about how I have lost my taste for liquor and have no need to get a bit tipsy anymore? Sure. But that part is just a bit of a show off, I reckon. That part chooses to forget that my main goal for Year of Living Sober was to see if I could do it. And I did. It’s done.
Despite having many ideas for more posts about the life/booze balance, I have decided to put all my focus on my comedy. This YOLS blog has been my most successful since I started blogging a few years ago and I am going to take what I learned and apply it to my Year of Comedy blog at www.bgmitchell.com.
Do drop by. I’d love to share that journey with you too!
PS. For a limited time I’m making The Little Booze Joke Book available from Amazon for FREE. You can download your copy from January 1st 2013 until the 5th (inclusive). Hope you get a laugh or two and maybe find some jokes you missed reading on the blog.