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Notes from an abstainer
December 11, 2023
By Viv Fantin
Notes from an abstainer

I realised last weekend that it’s been 15 years since I’ve had an alcoholic beverage. Literally not one glass, and to be honest, I’m no longer tempted either. To avoid any ambiguity, I gave up drinking for health reasons, to help manage an autoimmune condition that alcohol wasn’t getting along with. The decision wasn't because of one big moment or a serious problem with alcohol. I haven’t been counting the months and years because the path to sobriety has been relatively straightforward for me. So, I’m not here to virtue signal as I know people for whom this path is not straightforward, and every day, every hour, every minute is immensely challenging. Some are people I have worked with in a professional capacity as coach and counsellor, and some are my friends. Few ordinary abstainers or casual drinkers can truly understand how much practice, commitment and support sobriety really takes. I wish to raise my zero-alcohol drink to you. I see you, and I acknowledge your strength and courage.

I would like to say this to anyone in our world who might be trying to cut back or stop altogether. Your mind might try and hook you into legacy thinking and beliefs like “this is what we’re supposed to do in the music industry”, “If I don’t drink, I won’t be accepted”, or other stories. This is what our minds do. But there is still fun, creativity and success to be had in music without booze. There are growing numbers of abstainers in our world. There are temperance bars, dry bars and mocktails, memories to be made (and remembered), and great conversations to be had. You can sing at the top of your lungs at a gig. You can still fling yourself around and dance! You can still BELONG. I used to think drinking me was fun me, but I’ve realised I prefer this version of myself, even if my not drinking sometimes makes others uncomfortable (still - go figure). My closest people understand why I sometimes leave the party early. Here’s to another 15 years of sparkling mineral water. Clear eyes. Full hearts. Can’t lose.

Viv XO


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