Spoiler alert: my feet got stood on a lot, people became unbearably annoying and I somehow lost my taste for alcohol along the way.

So, if we’re all being honest here and I know I am, today’s student culture and alcohol go hand in hand.

This was never something I had a problem with, or so I thought. It was only when I went a night without it, that I realised I most definitely had a problem with it.

I wish I could say I made my decision to go sober on moral grounds but being honest, as I promised I would be, I made my rash decision, despite the gasps from my peers, on the basis that I had a job interview the next morning at 9am.

But alas never one to miss out, I reckoned I could get the best of both worlds if I took the town with a bottle of Sprite in hand, and oh boy, how wrong was I.

Initial reactions and responses to my, well, unpopular decision, were, well, unpopular to say the least. However, between the array of ‘why’s and ‘that’s silly’ I powered through, something I can attribute to my own stubbornness, and not a desire to hit the dance floor sober.

The pre-drinks started off as usual, and I was having a proper laugh, chatting away to everyone and just you know, having a good time. Then just like that, it began. Like a sudden and unwelcome infection down there.

Their voices got louder, the screams became more high- pitched, the music increased and the talking stopped.

This is where it gets interesting, I thought. I felt like David Attenborough on the verge of observing some foreign, exotic and beautiful species … that should become extinct. And soon.

Sober Night

When you’re sober, the ‘cool’ people you meet at a house party suddenly seem far less interesting.

Still determined to have a good night, I trooped on, but it wasn’t long before the over exaggerated effort I had to make to get involved began to tire me. Looking around I couldn’t help but wonder, am I always this obnoxious when I’m drunk?

The roars for taxi began and I felt myself clinging to any Tom, Dick and Harry as I hoped to achieve a place for my poor sober soul in a taxi to town. I watched my friends stumble out of the house, skirts rising, bottles clinking, and for what seemed like the 100th time already, began to question our lifestyle of choice.

Just when I thought it couldn’t get any worse, my loneliness was again enhanced by the poor forty-year-old taxi man, who gave one word answers and stared ahead glumly as my friends screeched songs and silly questions in his ear. I started to go red not even for them, but for the fact that this was a regular ordeal on our nights out, myself included.

I’ve never seen people as careless with their money as those under the influence of alcohol and this became increasingly evident as we said farewell to our new best friend the taxi man now sobbing for humanity and hello to our replacement bestie, the woman at the ticket desk at the entrance to the nightclub. I watched my educated friends throw twenties at the desk and skip away to the dance floor with little interest in change or receipts. It was sickening.

At this point the night was only starting and I can safely say I was ready to hit the hay at this stage. I had previously never realised the amount of energy a night out sucked out of me, I wondered did I feel the same when I was drunk and I just don’t remember?

For the majority of the night, the dance floor, which is usually my spot of choice, became my worst enemy as I avoided it with a vengeance. Careless and oblivious girls stamped upon my bare feet in their sky highs as I began to realise where the bruises had come from on previous nights out. Ouch.

Sober Night Club

A drunken man, single-handedly lowering the collective dignity of humanity.

I also saw the girl’s bathrooms, another old favourite, for what they really were. A miserable spot full of vomiting teenagers and one very sad looking toilet attendant as she obliged in silence to the demands for selfies, lollipops and chewing gum. I threw her a fiver out of sympathy, her night looked like it was going just as bad as mine.

Finally, the lights went on and I could have kissed the DJ when he announced we were done for the night as I began the treasure hunt for my friends who were now here, there and everywhere.

Funnily enough I realised that a cheeseburger at 4 o’ clock in the morning isn’t actually that desirable when you’re sober and can say that despite the fact I was starving the last thing I wanted was a dirty kebab. With not much choice I made the best of a bad situation and opted for a homemade sandwich the minute I got through the door.

I managed to make it to my bed by 4.30 am with a lot to think about.

Also yes I did manage to make my interview the next morning, and no it wasn’t a disaster, but it wasn’t one of my best either. Hey alcohol or no alcohol, 3 hours’ sleep has got to hurt somehow.

The strangest part of my whole experience was listening to my friends digest the night out the next day, turns out they must have gone on a completely different night than mine. At least I can say I tried!

Aoife Marnell