The top 8 lies we tell ourselves while drinking hard

Lee Mengo | April 2021 | 8 minutes

Lee Mengo shares the lies he told himself while drinking, and how the real honesty started when he took back control.

The lies would start the moment I woke up.

1. How much I’d drunk

Having usually set a limit for myself (that I’d not kept to), I’d be in bed trying to work out exactly what the previous night’s amount was. The strange part was that I would often lie to myself. Say it was 10 cans of lager. I would try and convince myself it was eight (yeah babes, because eight is perfectly normal!) And then when I’d got to the magic (made up) number that I thought was better than the real number… I would congratulate myself. High five for one, hun. Only eight last night! What the actual fennel balls? Bloody madness.

2. That I wasn’t hungover

I would also spend the day pretending not to be as hungover as I was. I’d be perky, happy and acting as if I’d only sipped a few tonic waters the previous night. When actually I’d been up ‘til 3am with lager running down my chin(s) having a party for one in the kitchen.

3. That alcohol cured my colds

What a brilliant discovery I’d made! For years, they’ve been trying to cure the common cold and I thought I’d found the answer in a can of premium lager.

4. That I was good company while drunk

I still stand by this one, sort of, but I could also definitely be very annoying too. I suppose I was entertaining to other people who were also drinking; maybe not so much to those who weren’t. But the lie here was that I thought I needed it when I went out. Turns out I’m better company sober... I just leave earlier.

5. That alcohol made me speak the truth

No, it didn't, it made me speak utter horse shit. The amount of times I regretted saying something when I was slaughtered – and had to apologise the next day. Or worse, when I stuck by my muddled drunken mutterings as I was too ashamed to go back on them.

6. Alcohol relaxed me

It may have appeared to for a couple of hours, but it then caused a lot more stress, tension and anxiety over the next day(s).

7. Alcohol made me connect with my friends more

Does alcohol make you more articulate? It would make me slur. It would make me say the wrong words. It would make me forget what I’d just said so then say it another 10 times in as many minutes. While trying to connect with new and old friends, being able to articulate yourself is pretty essential.

If you see a pissed person whilst sober do you think, “Oh I simply must sit down with that fascinating individual and have a great chat”? No. You think, “Oh god, please don’t let that overbearing, sweaty mess come near me.”

8. That alcohol makes everything better.

This is the lie that kept me drinking for so long. The biggest lie. The lie we’ve been sold and told all our lives.

I genuinely believed that life was like a bath of donkey shit without it. I believed that without alcohol, life would be black and white with some bits of grey. If only I’d realised earlier that a life without alcohol is multicoloured.

I was the worst for thinking sober people were about as interesting as waiting for Brexit. But the lie that nothing will be as good if you experience it sober is one I’m determined to call out. It’s why I am now very vocal to mates about my new life and how I prefer it. I think it actually lands harder as they knew what a heavy drinker I was.

So, here’s to being honest and telling the truth. To ourselves and others.

  • Lee got sober just after his 40th and has never been happier (except for that time in a Kylie concert in '98 when he was convinced she winked at him). He runs a successful sober blog and can also be found on Instagram @thegaysober.