As you can gather from my posts on here, I used to be very fond of a drink or two. Who isn’t. We all like a drink. Alcohol is the last socially perfectly acceptable drug available to us ( I remember a time when the same could be said for cigarettes alas these days are well and truly gone).
As you might have noticed I said used to. I am quietly proud of the fact that in May 2018, I gave up on drinking for about four months. Of the alcoholic kind at least of course I still drink. You know to avoid dehydration and a slow and painful death.
I’m not entirely sure how this decision came about back then. I think the date with the guy I threw up on played a part in it but I was still drinking after that for a little while although heavily moderated. it just lost its appeal. Not in a dramatic way from one glass to the other but over the space of a few weeks it slowly faded away. I started drinking a glass of Prosecco (if you know me you know Prosecco is my go to for all ails, my nectar and eau de vie) and didn’t finish it.
Then the same happened again. And again. Very strange.
So, one day I thought if I didn’t really enjoy it, I should just make the conscious decision to give it up for a while. Maybe the desire for bubbles and the enjoyment they used to bring would eventually come back. I have to admit I was taken aback when some people to whom I casually mentioned I was staying off the booze for a bit just started laughing and told me it wouldn’t be long before I would have a glass in my hand again. Was that really the image they associated with me? So much so that they thought it ridiculous I wouldn’t be able to have a drink? The more I thought about it, the more uncomfortable did it make me feel.
For a while, I was looking at booze with utter indifference. Don’t get me wrong, I was still ordering an alcohol-free Bellini or a non-alcoholic cider. And the taste was still good. Debatable if it’s exactly the same but it still tasted pleasant to me. Oh but this is so hypocritical I hear you say. Well, you can do one thank you very much because I don’t think so. There is fat free or sugar free, you wouldn’t call people eating or drinking that hypocrites.
There was one thing in particular I noticed that had come with loosing the booze. Clarity of mind. I seemed to enjoy a night out a lot more. I didn’t need a drink to have a good time. I was still just as funny and stupid and entertaining. And I remembered them a lot better. Not that I would have lost hours of my life before because I was so paralytic, but there tended to be a little mist surrounding those occasions. Not anymore. And I like it like that. Oh and another side effect – non alcoholic stuff tended to be cheaper. So I spend less on a night out. Which obviously meant more money for shoes. Win win.
I started drinking again, slowly, around the time Cowboy Steve and I started seeing each other again and I do admit, I enjoyed it again. Everything seemed okay for a bit, until I noticed that my old enemy depression rearing its head again, in the most debilitating and vicious way. I felt horrendous and as the weeks went by, I just got worse. When you feel a wave of deep, permanent sadness manifesting itself in physical pain and the only way for this to stop seems to be the unspeakable, you know you are not doing well.
I holed myself up in a bubble. I cut ties with friends and acquaintances and went through every day on autopilot. And I stopped drinking alcohol again. I don’t know why I thought it would make a difference, it was just a hunch, but it did. After about a month, I was finally getting better. I still have bad days and more so nights, going from not sleeping at all to deep sleep interrupted by sudden night terrors, but overall things are looking up.
I’m absolutely convinced by now that alcohol has a massively detrimental effect on my illness and I have given it up for good now. There are still some bottles in my house – I don’t mind others drinking around me as long as they don’t tease me about not following suit, but I cleared out the majority of my shelves and cupboards and gave it away. I know my choices on the cocktail menu are now a little limited, but quite frankly, that’s a small price to pay for my mental well-being.