“I’m not drinking”
Generally, the reaction I’ve experienced to these words has been pretty shocking. It starts with “why?” or “are you on meds?”, usually followed by a shit pregnancy joke and one of the following scenarios:
- Just have one. You can have one. Why don’t you just have a few? You could leave your car. We’ll just get a taxi. Oh go on, just one.
- Oh my goooood, I feel so baaaaad! I can’t drink if you’re not drinking too. *reluctantly sips large Sauvignon in between sentences*
Both are awful. So I’d like to break things down here…
The idea that what we see as ‘normal’ is filling yourself full of something that dehydrates you, encourages bad decision making and inhibits self-control, while also giving you an absolutely banging head the next day, just hit me like a ten-tonne lorry (more on that later) as ridiculous.
It was only by taking a look back that I really started to appreciate how the pattern had formed in my own life.
From around age 15, most people enter into the countdown to adulthood and with it, legal drinking. At this age, the world is against you, your friends are everything, and peer pressure fills the air in equal amounts to Impulse body spray. Jagerbombs & vodka very nearly killed me on more than one occasion. You’re expected to drink. And this inevitably sets a tone for the adulting we have to come…
Most of my adult social interactions have been based around alcohol. Bars, clubs, dinners…even the theatre. Everything starts with a drink or two.
And then you start to associate drinking with relaxing and unwinding and having fun.
And then you find yourself with a glass of wine (or three) every evening after a ‘hard day’ at work.
And then you don’t feel like you can have fun without having a drink.
And then you start to feel tired and fatigued all the time and your eating habits get hella crazy and you can’t quite put your finger on why you’re feeling so shite…
These aren’t necessarily all things that everyone goes through, and there can be any number of reasons for not feeling yourself, but alcohol is never going to help. Like ever.
It’s difficult to put into words how much cutting out alcohol for a few months has changed my life so far. I feel like I’ve got more hours in the day, I’m more motivated, I’ve lost weight, I feel more confident, my skin has improved massively…I basically feel like the best version of myself. Literally living my best life.
I would encourage anyone to try cutting down or cutting out alcohol, even for a few months. But most importantly, we need to shake this goddamn stigma attached to ‘not drinking’.
Pressuring someone who is making a choice not to drink, whatever their reason may be, is bollocks.
To anyone reading this, the next time you find yourself on either side of this situation, please stop and think. Don’t be part of the problem, and don’t let anyone bring your fine self down for making healthy choices. You do you boo.
This isn’t a speech on how alcohol is the root of all evil, it’s just to say that nothing is a thing until we make it a thing.
And, for anyone who’s interested in going sober for good, or just wanting to have a short dry-spell, I’m going to be sharing my experiences around the world, including cocktails and mocktails alike.
Let me know your thoughts and keep an eye on the blog for my next adventures.