If you know me well, you’ll be well aware of the fact that I am very much pro-drinking. My parents introduced me to alcohol (safely, of course) at quite a young age, allowing me to try wine, have a drink with my meal, and letting me go to parties without the worry of me potentially calling them up from hospital after having my stomach pumped. As a result, I have always known my limits with alcohol, and have never been sick from it.
I have never had a bad experience with any particular type of alcohol, although as I have got older I have learned what I like best, what gets me drunk quickest, and what is not a good idea for me to mix.
The past year and a half has taught me a lot about what I shouldn’t mix. As a teenager and young adult, I never experienced a black out or any serious effect to my memory, simply heightened emotions. However, the last year of university and the first nearly two years in the ‘adult’ world, I have had quite a few drunken experiences that have left me struggling to remember how I made it home, and, more recently, what I might have said to people in my inebriated state.
And I really, really hate that. Even if it was a great night and no mistakes were made, how am I supposed to enjoy the memories of it if I don’t have any?
So I decided to do Dry January, not as a fundraiser, not necessarily for my health, but just to give myself a well needed break from the stuff. And, to my horror, it was surprisingly easy.
As in, I didn’t feel the need to drink. I didn’t want to drink. And the only time I was tempted in the slightest was when we went to the cutest pub in the world and everyone was trying different craft beers with interesting flavors. I don’t even like beer. I just wanted to see if they tasted different to me. But I didn’t crack.
The thing was, that I had been having such heavy drinking nights throughout December because of Christmas, that I was beginning to feel sick of it anyway. I felt acidic and full of cold and just generally tired and dehydrated. Starting the year off alcohol free was one of my better shouts for my health, because it meant that I caught up on sleep, ate slightly better, and was able to do exercise without feeling like I was dying.
It also meant that I had a pleasant January that I could actually remember clearly and know when I had embarrassed myself. Which, because I was sober, wasn’t that often.
I made it through January with ease, and feeling positively about the sober life.
The only draw back was that I celebrated the beginning of February by drinking 5 drinks and ended up, yep you guessed it, black out drunk. I woke to my room completely trashed, mysterious bruises, and a split lip, just from getting home. I assume I fell over.
But this is still a good thing, and a learning curve. Now I know that my tolerance has gone down, it means I need to consciously drink less when I am drinking. This is cheaper. This is control. It also means I’m going to buy things I actually like the taste of rather than stuff that’s going to get me drunk, because I don’t really particularly want to be drunk. From now on (with the exception of maybe my birthday and New Years Eve), I am going to be drinking because I want to drink something nice and be sociable with my friends, rather than just to become confident in social situations, or to fit in.
This might have come across as preachy and I apologize, because I am the last person to judge anyone for drinking or being drunk. I actively encourage it in my friends and loved ones, because reaching that sweet spot of drunkenness is the best time ever. But for myself, I have only reached it maybe twice in the last two years, and I hate to feel out of control. I think drunk me is a terrible, embarrassing and annoying person, even if others agree.
This does not mean I’m going to stop drinking completely. I’ve just made the decision to not drink during the week, and to limit myself to drinks I actually like.
Hopefully, this will be easily maintained!