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When I joined the social media sober world (sobersphere) there were loads of phrases and words being thrown about that I didn’t understand. So here’s a little list of those words, with an explanation, so you don’t have to be as clueless as I was!

AF– This means ‘Alcohol free’. It took me a while to get used to this. In the UK, AF means ‘as fuck’. I was really confused when people were constantly posting about being ‘as fuck’. It just didn’t make sense!

JOMO– The ‘Joy Of Missing Out’. This isn’t a sobriety term but is often used in the sobersphere to describe the joy of not having to go out and drink alcohol.

Grey Area Drinking– Jolene Parks describes grey area drinking perfectly as ‘the space between the extremes of rock-bottom drinking and every-now-and-again drinking. It’s a difficult space to be in. Gayle Macdonald @sober_bliss has a great blog post on grey area drinking, to read more visit her site www.sober_bliss.com

Hangxiety– Waking up the morning after a heavy night drinking and worrying about what you said or did. I got hangxiety ALL the time. It’s the worst!

Quit Lit– Quit Literature books can help you on your journey to becoming alcohol free. They can be scientific, self-help, or memoirs. They support those who want to readdress their relationship with alcohol.

The Wine Witch– This phrase was coined by Clare Pooley, author of ‘The Sober Diaries’. It’s the name she gave to her internal addiction monologue. The voice in your head that says: Go on, just one more; You will have so much more fun if you drink; You’re stressed, have a glass of wine. By  giving that voice a name and personality, you are separating it from your thoughts so you can understand it and beat it. The scientific name for this is Addictive Voice Recognition Technique (AVRT).  

White Knuckling– When someone is using willpower alone to get through a period of sobriety. They are not supporting themselves in any other way e.g. reading quit lit or following the 12 steps. It’s like they’re clinging on to a roller coaster until its over.

Pink Cloud– The ‘pink cloud’ in sobriety is the equivalent to the ‘honeymoon period’ in a relationship. It is a natural high you can experience during the early weeks of sobriety as the endless fog you find yourself wading through in addiction is lifted. You finally see and feel clearly, which can lead to feelings of elation and euphoria. The duration is different for everyone and dependent on the person and their journey. 

PAWS– Post-Acute Withdrawal Symptoms usually last up to 2 years with each episode normally lasting a few days. In early recovery these symptoms can change from minute to minute but as time goes on, the symptoms can disappear for months at a time. Symptoms include, but are not limited to:

  • Mood Swings
  • Anxiety
  • Irritability
  • Tiredness
  • Variable Energy
  • Low Enthusiasm
  • Variable Concentration
  • Disturbed Sleep

You can find more information on PAWS by looking online at recovery websites.

I hope these have been helpful! Comment below if you have any more.