Someone asked me over the weekend why I don’t drink anymore. It feels like a different lifetime when I was a hard-partying social butterfly.
Now I can honestly say that I don’t drink anymore because every area of my life has improved without it. I’m happier, healthier and have earned my own trust back.
Finally, I quite like me.
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It’s been three years since I drank any alcohol. I never imagined I’d be able to say that. I don’t drink it, eat it in food, cook with it or even eat it in chocolates. There is no alcohol in my home and there never will be.
Drinking stopped being fun for me a long time before I called last orders at the bar.
I started drinking when I was 17 and it was fun for many years. But it turned into an unhealthy coping mechanism and in the end I lost control of it.
It was destroying me. No, actually, I was knowingly destroying me and alcohol was the substance I used to enable that. Unfortunately, I didn’t have that clarity at the time. That is why I saw no future.
When I crossed that line it was incredibly hard to stop. I had known that my drinking had become a problem for a very long time but I drowned that out in denial.
Honestly, I didn’t know where to begin with changing my life. This is why I will always talk about how awful life became for me; I know others are still stuck living that nightmare and that makes me feel physically sick. The amount of empathy and compassion I have for those still struggling is immense.
Those dark times changed me as a person and I’ll never forget that.
I would wake up with tears rolling down my cheeks in the night.
I would lay on the cold tiles of my bathroom to try to calm down panic attacks.
Part of me wanted to tackle it but it had gone so far that I’d forgotten how to live without it. Getting home from work, opening the fridge and pouring a large glass of wine was as much part of my everyday as brushing my teeth.
I’d forgotten how to unwind without it. I had no tools to deal with stress without alcohol and I had no idea who I was as a person behind a hard-working, hard-drinking, hard-partying persona.
The problem was that stressful days drifted into unhappy years so I numbed my unhappiness rather than begin to unravel any of that. I lost sight of my own truth.
Even thinking about it now makes me sad for who I was then and how nearly I didn’t make it.
I was years into an incredibly demanding career that wasn’t making me happy. Unfortunately, I didn’t realise that at the time either.
It’s taken me years of sobriety and a daily focus of working on myself to begin to find some answers.
I had never addressed childhood trauma. I did not understand the contributing factors that triggered major depression and anxiety.
There are so many years of awful, heartbreaking trauma for me to unpack.
And that is why I don’t drink anymore: I’m done with making my life harder.
I want to enjoy putting myself to bed early, waking up early and feeling glad to be alive. I’ve found a new way of living and I’m so relieved those dark times are in the past.