In 2014 I took the step to no longer drink alcohol. We all have our reasons for doing things but it seems that not being a drinker (even socially) can be somewhat frowned upon. But as time has gone on I have found that more and more people are stepping away from the bottle.
WHY I DON’T DRINK
Before I stopped drinking my beverages of choice was cider, vodka with lemonade and basically anything that was on offer. Pretty awful right?
I had my first alcoholic drink when I was 13 (terrible!) Needless to say it was a WKD and I felt oh so grown up.
It seemed like drinking was something that was “cool” and that when you drink. You’re excused from all of the terrible actions that may take place as soon as the drink touches your lips including throwing up in a plant pot, sobbing over a cushion or shouting angrily at a 3-year-old. How wrong I was.
I grew up in a household where my Dad drank, I had an older step-brother who drank at weekends and a lot of my friends drank too. And I wanted to be part of something, I didn’t want to be the bore. Who did at that age? So I got involved. A can of Strongbow here and there, a few shots and then wham, I was sick. Gross.
As time went on I noticed some things about my behaviour. I became like my Dad.
Now, I don’t think my Dad would mind me sharing this but he became an alcoholic. A lot of bad stuff happened all in a short period of time which made him want to cut away from reality. The weekend glass of wine became a nightly bottle and I spotted qualities in him that I really didn’t like. Over the course of about 8 years, I distanced myself from him because he wasn’t himself. He was loud, irritable, rude, uninterested and, well, he stopped being my Dad.
Whenever I drank I saw the same qualities in myself. I didn’t like it. In fact, I hated myself for it but I didn’t stop. I was incredibly argumentative, emotional and embarrassing. I didn’t know my limits and I wasn’t able to control it. So I eventually I took the stand to stop. And now I can proudly say, so has my Dad. I’m so proud of him and his girlfriend for knocking it on the head. It’s an incredibly hard thing to do when you’re an addict but they did it and are happy.
THE TURNING POINT
New Year’s Eve, in Lanzarote I had been drinking every evening for 3 weeks (hey, I was on holiday!). Before NYE dinner I had already had a few vodka and lemonades, feeling a little light headed and tipsy, talking trash as I usually did when I drank.
We arrived at the restaurant and I was already getting louder and louder, sillier and sillier. Paul, rightfully embarrassed (although also drunk) looked at me in a way that I took such offence causing me to start crying uncontrollably, completely ruining the celebrations. It was then I realised I needed to stop. I had seen this all before, more than once and it wasn’t a situation I enjoyed being a part of.
SINCE I’VE STOPPED DRINKING
As soon as I stopped drinking (after having my fair share of alcoholic beverages in the past) noticed many changes in my social habits and my general life. Not only do I feel much more awake and happier, I find social events much more enjoyable.
My anxiety has significantly decreased when going to parties and I know that what I am saying isn’t (entirely) ridiculous, loud or rude like it would’ve been after cider. In addition to that, I have lost a HUGE amount of weight because I have much more energy to work out, I don’t drink sugary, gassy alcoholic drinks or eat junk food when sozzled. This has worked wonderfully with my desire to get healthy.
I don’t feel out of place when I go to family events where people are drinking or when I go out with friends. I just don’t make a big deal out of it. When people ask about my drinking habits, I tell them I’m not a big drinker. The usual response is “you can have one” which can be frustrating. I’m not trying to be better than others around me by not being a drinker. I simply like having control of my emotions. I don’t have the same tolerance for others and I am now completely aware of it. Some people should not drink, I am one of those people.
Of course, I have no issue with people who do like the odd alcoholic beverage. I think there are a lot of people who need to pace themselves and find their limit. I’ve witnessed so many issues with drinking first hand and from the outset and it’s not fun. I just wanted to share with you how I make the most of my experiences without alcohol and how much it has benefitted me by giving up.
Do you drink? Would you consider having a break?