Archives

Drinking and Why I Went Back to the Booze (or What I Learned in Nine Months Sober)

I admit it, I caved, and I drank alcohol again. Not vast amounts, enough to be tipsy, but not wreaked. In total I drank two pints of cider over several hours in four half pints. I was at the local pub and too distracted by the karaoke and chatting to drink any faster. I also find I drink less if I have halves as I do not drink so much at once and do not want to keep going up to the bar too often.

I decided after nine months of sobriety that I could drink again without it being a problem. I have never actually been a problem drinker. One of the main reasons I drank that night was due to anger and a ‘who the heck even cares any more’ attitude. Finding myself newly single and having had a birthday that week I thought, here I am at thirty-two single again, being good has got me nowhere so stuff it. I partly gave up drinking to help my ex when he was really struggling with drink problems and seeing what alcohol could do to him scared me. However seeing as he left me I was feeling pretty annoyed at the whole no alcohol thing. ( Although he was not the only reason I quit drinking.)

Actually when I was with him I found giving up alcohol pretty easy. I was happy and did not need it for a good time. He managed at least eight months sober and together we were getting our lives sorted. However on my own alcohol became tempting again. I know being left by someone and being angry and upset is a stupid reason to drink, but frankly at the time I did not care and I know I can handle drink better than some people anyway.  I think this song by Train sums up why I drank that night rather well

However I am very glad I did spend nine months totally alcohol free. I was starting to drink more than I should have and looking back did need to take a break from it. I also got to see how it looks when you are sober around drunk people. No one very drunk looks good to a sober person, no matter what you think the alcohol does to you, it is not helping you become more attractive or better at things trust me on this. Drinking heavily on a very regular basis can make you a tedious person to spend time with. Far from enhancing your personality it makes you overly emotional and dumb. Drunk people tend to say stupid things and end up in situations that I can see could easily have been avoided if they had drunk less that night. I found some occasions actually more enjoyable sober. My cousin’s wedding for example, was easier being fully sober with all my wits about me to deal with so many people at once. I found I saved money sober as well as I had better judgement on what I was spending at the bar. Coming home from a night out with change from a £20 is quite nice.

I have decided that alcohol is fine in moderation and not too often. I will drink again, but not every time I go out, just occasionally when I feel I am able to handle it. I also plan to not drink too much at once. You do not have to drink heavily to get a nice buzz from alcohol and the hangover is not so bad in the morning this way. If you need at least six pints to have a good time maybe you have a problem or at least could do with a break from alcohol for a while. In fact everyone could do with a break from alcohol now and then, maybe not nine months like me, but a month or two so you can see things from a sober prospective.

Some people like my ex can not do moderation and in those cases should remain totally alcohol free. For them one drink will never be just one drink. I however am lucky and can do moderate drinking, so why not? I never did get much pleasure from being very heavily drunk. I also plan to keep my flat an alcohol free zone. Living alone, solo drinking is the worst kind of drinking, it tends to be depressed drinking. Alcohol is best when with other people enjoyed sensibly in moderation.

 

Advertisements

Alcohol is not for everyone

index

I have given up drinking alcohol. Since mid December last year I decided that alcohol and me do not suite each other. Some of my friends have questioned this abstinence and do not really understand why I have done this. So I have written down my reasons for no longer drinking and hope it helps others to understand that alcohol is not for everyone.

Before I start I would just like to say this is not an anti-alcohol rant, I have nothing against people having a drink and do not mind if people have a drink in front of me.

  • Health

Alcohol is a poison, ‘Your body can only process one unit of alcohol an hour. Drink a lot in a short space of time and the amount of alcohol in the blood can stop the body from working properly’, (www.drinkaware.co.uk). Not only can alcohol effect your liver, it can affect your stomach and digestive system, your kidneys and in fact most of your body systems.

Alcohol also has a big effect on mental health. Alcohol is a depressant, at first it may help to relax you and make you less anxious, but after a while it can make things worse. I certainly felt a low mode sometimes if I had a heavy night of drinking. Drinking can become a vicious circle, drinking to reduce your depression and anxiety, but actually making it worse long-term.

I already have both physical and mental health problems, so I decided it was not worth the risks to make them worse. I can get quite depressed and anxious without the help of alcohol and last time I was very drunk I felt even more low than normal the next day.

  • To stay in control of my emotions better

As an autistic person I sometimes struggle to control my emotions. When I am not feeling at my best I can get very upset or angry easily. When I was drinking I noticed that it often just amplified the mood I was already in rather than relaxed me. So if I was feeling depressed or anxious it just made that feeling worse. ‘Regular drinking lowers the levels of serotonin in your brain – a chemical that helps to regulate your mood’ (www.drinkawear.co.uk) so it was bound to make me feel worse since I am naturally a rather anxious person. Also I have noticed that some people become more angry when they are drinking and more sensitive to things they would normally dismiss as not important, which is not a good way to keep healthy relationships with friends and family.

  • Weight

According to an article in Elle magazine ‘When Alcohol is in your system, it’s harder for your body to burn fat that’s already there’ (www.elle.com). It slows down the rate at which fat is broken-down. Not only that, but drink itself full of calories and sugar. For example cider (what I used to drink most) has 216 calories on average in just one pint. A 175ml glass of wine has 159 calories. A pint of beer has 182 calories on average. In other words alcohol is not a diet drink and can help you gain weight. ‘People eat about 30 percent more food when they consume alcohol’ (www.elle.com) which is something I can relate to. After a night out drinking I always feel hungry, and often end up getting some kind of greasy burger to take home. The large queues at the late opening fast food joints show that this is true for many people. I already enjoy my food a lot and do not need any help to eat more.

  • To Save Money

If you have any taste buds and drink not just to get out of your mind, but actually enjoy the drink itself, you will not be able to drink the cheapest alcohol on the market, such as that shockingly cheap cider you see in stupidly large bottles in most convenience stores. I tried that stuff once and I decided that I might as well just be drinking paint stripper it was so disgusting.

  • Have a good time without anyway

I still go out and have fun with friends without alcohol. I go to a pub quiz most weeks and enjoy it despite sticking to coffee and fruit juice. In fact I think I might be better at the quiz with a clearer mind and no alcohol to make me unfocused. On a night out with friends I sometimes feel a natural buzz from the atmosphere around me and don’t need drink to feel like I am having a good time.

  • Hangovers suck

To state the obvious hangovers suck. When I was younger I used to hardly get hungover, just a dry mouth and a bit of a headache, but the older I got the worse the hangovers got. Being autistic I cope very badly with feeling unwell, I am overly sensitive to even a small amount of pain and I panic when I feel sick. Hungover me was not pleasant for other people to be around. I decided to try and avoid having to feel that way as much as possible. To those who start coming up with hangover cures the NHS website tells us ‘there are no cures for a hangover’ (www.nhs.uk/livewell).

  • To stay safe

After a night out I have to get home again, often alone, I would like to do this with all my faculties intact so I can look after myself better. I would rather not have to go home alone late at night, but sometimes it cannot be avoided, at least when sober I am less likely to end up in difficulty. Alcohol dulls the senses and slows down reaction times, which when walking home can be a dangerous thing.

  • Less chance of making an idiot of myself when sober

When you are the only sober person on a night out, you can see how much alcohol is affecting people. They do things they would normally not, sometimes embarrassing, stupid things. People tend to flirt more when drunk and this can lead to some awkward situations, and sometimes not very safe situations. People often become less careful about what they say out loud and this can lead to saying some hurtful or embarrassing things. Also when drunk people are more clumsy. I know that I used to trip up over my own feet more and found stairs and curbs of pavements tricker. It can be embarrassing and very annoying to spill your drink all over yourself.

  • Supporting my boyfriend who is trying hard to stay off drink

‘Substance abuse in general (that is the abuse of alcohol or the use of street drugs) is a significant problem for people living with schizophrenia, with over half of all people with schizophrenia having co-morbid drug or alcohol abuse issues’ (www.livingwwithscitzophreniauk.org). My boyfriend has schizophrenia and has had alcohol issues for most of his adult life, but is now trying very hard to beat his alcohol dependency. He simply cannot have just one or two drinks; once he starts he ends up having more and more until he is unable to function properly. He so badly wants to live his life without alcohol and has managed to not have a drink for well over three months now. I admire him for this as it is very hard to give up any addiction, let alone when you have a mind that races all day long and will not shut up. So for obvious reasons we cannot go to the pub together and I would rather not have a drink in front of him. I hope by not drinking I am showing him it is possible to live life happily without alcohol.

I am not saying I will never drink again, I might well do, but right now I just do not want to.