Day 104: Paris, Paris, Paris!

Ah, the City of Lights, my old home. I landed yesterday and spent most of the day sleeping after a 15 hour flight (I took 3 different planes!).

After years of living abroad and going back and forth across the globe I don’t know where my home is anymore. I have grown used to saying that “my home is wherever I go”, but sometimes I miss the feeling of “belonging”, of having roots, of feeling grounded. 

Last time I was here I was drinking every day. This week things already feel different, for starters because Paris is paralyzed by strikes and protests against the government’s plan to reform the French retirement system. It feels almost like we are living in a time of war: teachers are on strike, the trains and metros aren’t running, people have to be resourceful and ride bikes, scooters, skateboards, unicycles, their own two legs, etc. to get around. The whole city looks like it has been frozen in time and everyone is moving about on foot. I like it! 

Being here definitely represents a new scary challenge for me, 3 months into sober-living. I used to really enjoy getting a beer (more like 10) with people, catching up, connecting over drinks, etc. Now, the prospect of spending two weeks alcohol-free in my homeland –with friends and family who for the most part all drink and have never spent much time with me sober– feels a little bit scary. Very, very unfamiliar. Tonight is step one in this two-week long challenge to “export” my new lifestyle to the European continent. It’s my little brother’s 25th birthday, which we are celebrating at a restaurant, with my three siblings (who live here) and parents (who flew in from the South of France just for the occasion). In the past I would have been drinking all evening (even before the gathering proper)

a) because I love(d) drinking. And let’s face it… I was often the one pressuring my siblings to get drinks before whatever else we were doing.

b) because it was the “only” thing to do to fit in with the drinking ethos of the family

c) to survive the unhealthy undertones and difficult emotions that inevitably arise with each and every one of our family gatherings (99% of the time because of my mother’s drunken behavior).

Tonight I must therefore

a) resist temptation – my parents will no doubt arrive smelling of alcohol (my mom carries the smell around her 24/7, and knowing them, they will have stopped somewhere to drink as soon as they get off the plane). Then, they will kick things off my ordering champagne for everyone as soon as we get to the restaurant.

b) announce to them that I won’t be drinking — not tonight, not next week when I stay with them for X-mas, not for a long time. Possibly not ever. And

c) get through the evening sober, while they all get more and more drunk, and potentially more and more difficult to handle / be around. 


I feel like I’m finally jumping into the deep end of the pool. Like things are getting real, “at last”. Like I’ve merely been practicing for these last 3 months, nice and safe in the sheltered little cocoon of my everyday life in the U.S.A. Far, faraway from these people and their mad habits, which they pass off as normal to themselves, but which anyone with a decent sense of observation can see for what they are: un-fucking-healthy-as-fuck.

And at age 31, I am only just beginning to question and break away from this messed-up sense of what is “normal” and what isn’t. It literally feels like a paradigm-shift, or an un-brainwashing.

Maybe I am exaggerating because I am nervous.

But I know why I am so nervous.

I feel like tonight is the night that … TWO BECOME OOOONE, no just kidding!

I feel like tonight is the night that I fully, 100% own my shit and affirm my identity in the face of my family. This might sound silly but it feels almost like a test, to see whether I have finally grown up and become an adult who is capable of making her own decisions and choices, and whether she is capable of sticking to them or not.


Wish me luck …

Photo by Oliver Sjöström on

Hang in there 🙂 



Published by nomorebeer

Learning how sobriety helps you ENJOY life.

21 thoughts on “Day 104: Paris, Paris, Paris!

  1. You can do it Anne! Maybe take little alone outdoor breaks to regroup. Paris with sober glasses will be amazing… the sites, the people, no hangovers, and best of all you’ll actually remember it. Could also be a good time to truly connect with each family member❤️

    Liked by 4 people

  2. Anne, I wish you all the very best luck. I know you can do it. That does seem like a lot of pressure.

    Oh beautiful Paris, I have never been but I hope to some day. Just imagine all of the things you could do the next day HANGOVER FREE! 🙂 Possibly re-experience Paris from a new perspective. (As Dwight already mentioned) Have a great time Anne. Air hugs!

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Thank you Amy !!! Yes, waking up without a hangover is so wonderful and has not happened no me very often in Paris… gulp… So yes, I’m planning on enjoying the mornings, if the jet lag will allow me 🙂 xxx air hugs to you !! ❤ xoxo Anne


  3. Anne! We’ve been to Paris twice! First time I was a normal drinker. Second time, my alcoholic drinking was in full gear!

    You can do this! Enjoy real conversations. Take breaks. Get away for a bit. Focus on food and colors and sounds! Take photos!

    We are with you!

    Liked by 3 people

  4. Anne, first didn’t realise you were like proper French. Have to say your English is amazing. But boy do I feel for you. The land of wine, to not be drinking amongst family that like a drink etc.Well look at it this way, survive this you’ll survive anything. I just came back from a restaurant meal out with three drinkers, it has got easier. I’m rooting for you. It can feel like you’re the only sober one but think of all of us standing right behind you. Being in a minority doesn’t mean you’re wrong. You are the trailblazer! Good luck. Jim x

    Liked by 3 people

    1. awww Jim your words mean so much ❤ Thank you !!! To be exact I am 50% French and 50% English. My father is French and my Mother is from the West Midlands and each parent speaks their own language to us kids and to each other. We were really fortunate being raised bilingual, so all the credit goes to them, not us!! Well done for your own restaurant meal. And you're right it really does get easier. The more time passes the less I feel like I would have even wanted a drink. I guess this family dinner felt so scary because it was a first time experience. (spoiler: I survived!!!). Thanks again for your support, it really feels like a big wave of encouraging energy, and so much better than that fake-ass liquid courage so many of us used to rely on. xoxoxo Anne

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Ah interesting I’m half German but being an awkward kid I refused to speak German at home so my German is not nearly so good as it could have been. Well done for surviving the meal! I have a feeling next year for both of us is going to be more about flourishing than merely surviving! Well done Anne . Jim x

        Liked by 1 person

  5. Good Luck Anne!
    It sounds like a huge challenge but remember, you’ll experience things you wouldn’t if you were drinking alcohol. It’ll be tough but I know you can do it and I know the positives will 100% outweigh the negatives when you do.
    Enjoy Paris, beautiful city xxxx

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you Claire !! Yes, this is the biggest mind shift that has happened for me, especially in the last month: being sober is an OPPORTUNITY to experience things differently/new things, whereas drinking would just repeating the same old boring groundhog day cycle of misery and dissatisfaction. ****MIND BLOWN**** 🙂 xxx Anne

      Liked by 2 people

  6. I am so excited to hear you are in Paris. For how long?!?! I loved what Jim said: “Well look at it this way, survive this you’ll survive anything.” Haha this is true. Also love what you said in the comments about sobriety being an opportunity. Yes! That is indeed the required mind shift for success. So excited for you, Anne!! 🎉🎉🎉🌷🌷🌷😘😘😘🤗

    Liked by 2 people

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