Last summer I gave up binge drinking.
This was a huge shock to those around me.
I’m not one to blow my own trumpet or toot my own horn BUT I was one heck of a party girl.
I’d go out on a Friday and be back home on a Sunday night. I had the stamina of..well, something with loads of stamina, and the force at which I hit the weekend was something else!
I read about a girl who had 50 reasons to give up alcohol, so I thought if I had 50 I would do the same.
Surprisingly, I got 50.
Don’t worry, I’m not going to list them all here (I’m sure you have lives to live), but I will outline some of the biggies and what happened once I swerved the juice.
My memories of a night out were non-existent. I would wake up and realise I’d been sending messages, ordering food and having conversations I couldn’t for the life of me recall. I wanted my memories back!
My Relationship with Food
I’m still recovering from an eating disorder and I’ve been trying to rebuild my relationship with food and my body. I would use drinking to mask hunger, I’d replace pizza with Prosecco and I’d obsess about the calories in alcohol, then on a hangover, I’d crave everything and it would be torture.
Alcohol makes my tummy blow up like a balloon and I’d hate myself the next day. My clothes would feel tight, I’d dread getting naked or putting on anything other than a baggy jumper and joggers.
The combination of a tiny salary, living in an expensive city and getting contactless-happy when the gin hit the bloodstream WAS NOT GOOD.
Not to get the fanfare out again, but I didn’t quit drinking because I was a ‘bad’ drunk.
Yes, I got louder, I was manically happy and I ran around a lot, but I was never one to be a mess on the floor, throw up on the DJ, or pick a fight with the bouncer. However, knowing this didn’t stop me feeling ashamed and embarrassed about my behaviour the morning after the night before.
I’d lie awake thinking about how loud I’d been, how obnoxious I was, how self-centred everyone must think I am and how the world would be better off if I wasn’t in it.
I was Never ‘into’ Alcohol
I didn’t start drinking until I was 19, I was so scared of being out of control and embarassing myself. When I did start drinking I always imagined I’d be teetotal when I got ‘older’. I’ve never been one to reach for the glass of wine mid-week or have a beer with my lunch – too much of a calorie-counter for that!
I Wanted to Stop Relying on Alcohol to get me Through Social Situations
I’m naturally very shy, with a truckload of social anxiety and I’m horrendously sensitive. Paradoxically though, I’m an extrovert: I love being around loads of people and getting out and about. I would use alcohol to bring out my wild side, use it to talk to those I was intimidated by and go to social events I was scared of.
So What Happened When I Stopped Drinking?
I predicted I would lose ‘friends’, I predicted I would get left out and I predicted I’d be pressured to drink. Sadly, I was right about all of those things.
What I didn’t realise though?
How uncomfortable I’d make people feel.
Suddenly I was surrounded by comments like: “I wish I could do that”, “I’ve not drunk much this week”, “I’m cutting down too actually”, “you must be having an awful time around all us drunk people”, “I feel sorry for you being sober”.
In the nicest possible way – I don’t care!
I’m not doing this to be in competition with anyone, to be better than anyone or to start a movement. If you want to drink, drink. If you don’t, don’t. I’m not judging or looking. Oh, and if I don’t wanna be somewhere I’ll leave, don’t you worry ’bout it kid.
What I Hate About Giving up Binge Drinking
Sometimes I’m so nervous at a party I feel like I’m going to throw up. I avoid some situations because I don’t have the confidence (yet) or the magic liquid to get me through it. I spend some weekends at home alone because, well, what else it there to fill the void of those two long days?
What I Love About Giving up Binge Drinking
I have more money to spend on clothes (everyone has their vice right?!), I don’t get hangovers, I feel happier, I’ve learnt who my real friends are and my relationship with alcohol is no longer Britney Spears toxic.
I’ve got so much more time and energy to put into my own projects and hobbies. Yeah, it may be painful sometimes, but I guess it’s all part of growing up and becoming the ‘me’ I want to be.
Where I’m At Right Now
People have said I’ve changed, which is true, I’m not the party girl everyone once knew, but (most of the time) I’m happier.
Will I go back to binge drinking? Maybe. Who knows?
I’m not setting myself any targets, I’m not calling myself teetotal (I’m definitely not). If I feel like having a drink I will (and do).
I’m just going to see what what the future brings – so cheers to that I guess!