About 18 months ago, I was to put it politely, a bit unhinged. To put it less politely, I was a fucking mess. I was in my final year of university, trying to cope with undiagnosed clinical depression, involved in a horrible romantic ‘relationship’ which was making me question myself as a person; and to put the icing on the cake I was drinking heavily to try and deal with it all. Perhaps you might have guessed, but it didn’t help.
The process of crawling my way out of that hole began without me even realising it. Without getting too much into the nitty gritty, the circumstances I had put myself in had left me feeling isolated and lonely. I was so, so sad. Sitting in the pub at 2pm with my uni notes just wasn’t me, and I always knew that deep down. My brain was so clouded over that I didn’t see that the drinking was making me feel worse. One day, I decided to try and do something to help myself feel less sad. I booked a doctor’s appointment and went to get some help. The doctor prescribed me some mild antidepressants, and that was the starting to point of getting myself better.
It took about a month before the fog in my mind began to clear, but when it did, I could see that excessive drinking was causing me to act like somebody I hated. The problem was I didn’t know my limits. I’m not the type of person who can go out for a couple of drinks and head home with a slightly light head. I’m the type of person that has a couple of drinks, then thinks it’s a good idea to have a couple more, then says ‘fuck it, let’s do shots’ and then finds herself fumbling with the front door key at 6am wanting nothing more than a warm bed and a cuddle. Unfortunately, people rarely want to cuddle a train wreck. I realised that the way I was living was ridiculous, and making me hate myself. I made the executive decision to cut out alcohol from my life completely. That was about a year ago.
Since I ‘stopped’ drinking, I’ve had one night of heavy drinking on Christmas Eve with my family and one glass of champagne at a wedding. Generally speaking though, I now consider myself to be tee total (or straight edge, if I’m feeling punk – i.e., never). In my sobriety, I’ve found my incredible boyfriend, moved out of my parents’ house into my own place, got a job I love and got back onto the fitness wagon. This could be coincidence, but I like to think the lack of booze had a helping hand.
I’m still a work in progress. Problematically I am by nature, a bit lazy – a trait I loathe. I believe that if you live your life lazily, you won’t make the effort to do the things that stabilize you, create balance and inner peace. My 25 years on earth have taught me that I feel happiest when I’m eating healthily, exercising, doing my eyebrows twice a week, staying on top of my work load, keeping my house clean, when I’m doing something that benefits others and when I’m working towards certain goals. To maintain that lifestyle, I really can’t be lazy about it, which is where I sometimes slip up. Working full time, working out 4 times a week, cooking healthy meals, beauty maintenance, voluntary work etc – they all take time and energy. (God help me when I have kids, right Mums?) Luckily, time and energy are things I have much more of now that I am living my life without alcohol, hangovers and the constant misery of wondering whether or not I embarrassed myself last night.
I’m not saying that everybody needs to stop drinking. For some, drinking is nothing more than a fun activity that causes no more harm than an occasional sore head. If that’s you, rock on! But if you’re struggling with your happiness and alcohol is a big part of your life, just check in – is alcohol causing you to make the choices that are making you unhappy? Just something to think about. To paraphrase a wise lady I spoke about in a previous blog ‘Do what it takes to make you happy’.
(Within reason. If you think murdering a family of kittens or robbing a bank will make you happy – please don’t.)