For this week’s post, I thought I’d write a little something to mark this day. This day, June 17th 2018, celebrates four whole years of being sober. Although a little socially awkward to begin with, I am very privileged and fortunate to have had a very positive and successful journey into a life of sobriety. Although I used alcohol in a self-destructing and irresponsible way (I used it to make myself more confident and as a way to mask negative emotions/ bad mental health) I have luckily never been addicted. I certainly abused it, binged drunk till I passed out, threw up countless of times and put myself into dangerous situations, however, I thankfully, have never been dependent on it. And for that, I am very grateful. Although a couple of people have been slightly over questioned me with ‘what if’ scenario questions to try and tempt or ‘test’ me, on the whole, my decision has been accepted and respected by those around me.
A very quick summary of why I decided to stop drinking:
- Very much disliked drinking/bar culture (particularly sexual harassment in bars/clubs)
- Binge drinking to get drunk rather than drinking in moderation and actually enjoying the taste of alcohol- I realised that this wasn’t healthy behaviour
- My safety ( I passed out in a club toilet alone, walking home alone countless of times)
- Health reasons- eating fast food all the time after drinking and drinking until I was sick on most nights out
- Falling into the trap of club culture (thinking this was what is expected of me and this is how I should be having fun)
- Disliked how everything seemed to involve around alcohol (just meeting or catching up with a friend seemed to involve alcohol, going to a festival wasn’t about music but being drunk every day, any kind of celebration seemed to be involved around alcohol, being bored seemed to result in turning to drink)
- The glory of being the ‘drunkest’ and who had the ‘best’ story seemed less appealing and funny over time
The more of these things became apparent, the more I realised I didn’t like drinking and the culture around it. I just grew out of it, pretty darn quickly. In the first quarter of 2014, I found myself drinking less and less and some nights out, I didn’t drink at all. By June I was drinking so little and so come June 17th, I told myself I didn’t want to continue to drink and take part in the lifestyle I had been. Although I hadn’t sworn on a lifetime commitment, it was a very strong and definite ‘I am not going to drink for the foreseeable future.’ It then took me another four months to the date (October 17th on ‘Straight Edge Day’) to actually say to myself that this decision was for life.
Pros of not drinking:
- I have a much clearer mind
- I now have healthier ways to deal with negative emotions and thoughts
- Being alcohol/drug free and vegan means I am causing even less harm to myself and others
- I am aware of my surroundings and safety
- Personal clarity and more control of my thoughts, feelings and emotions
- Western society expects you to drink (we’re bombarded with drinking adverts, drink offers, drink menus consisting of 90% alcohol) and so (in this sense) and so it is liberating not following the crowd and making a healthy and positive decision for myself
- My lifestyle and personal growth has blossomed- I am a more passionate cyclist, I started blogging and started yoga- all things I might not have done if my life still involved around going out and getting drunk
- Being more mindful and being in the present
- I save sooooo much money from not buying alcohol, not paying to go into clubs, taxis and food after a night out (money now goes on travelling, nourishing food, tattoos and savings)
- No hangovers
Have you given up alcohol or drugs? Have you ever considered it? I would love for you to share your experiences, but please keep this a positive and safe space for all.