Alcohol

I don’t drink

With the line of work I’m now – helping other people to control how much they drink – what most people want to ask, but don’t know how to is “are you a recovering alcoholic yourself then?”

I’m not. But I did reach a point in my life where I was worried I could be headed down that road and decided early on I was going to take a different route.

So, after one of “those nights”, which I’m sure we’ve all had, I said I was never going to drink again and I pretty much didn’t. Since then, I’ve probably only had a handful of glasses of champagne or a cocktail here and there to commemorate big events, but I mostly don’t even bother with that now.

IT WASN’T HARD TO GIVE UP DRINKING.

Not so much because I craved it, I was lucky that way, but because of the pressure from other people.

I used to have to have a lot of conversations with folks around me who were drinking making suggestions of drinks that they thought I would like. Liking alcohol was never the problem, I liked it just fine, but I didn’t want to drink it. And it has taken me a long time to be able to articulate why. I think people are more understanding now, but if you do find yourself in the situation where someone asks for a soft drink, don’t try and talk them out of it! Just say yes! (and it’ll probably be a cheaper round for you, so win!)

I also used to get friends telling me to have a drink, because I’m hilarious after a drink. (More than 10 years on and they sometimes still do!) That’s both true and a little bit hurtful. I don’t need to have a drink to be hilarious, catch me in the right mood and I’m a right laugh. I make myself laugh plenty anyway!

But alcohol did weaken the filter between my brain and my mouth somewhat, for someone who’s anxious about what people will think, it was a relief to just say what was in my mind without second guessing myself or worrying that people would think I was an idiot or just wouldn’t get what I was saying. It took a lot of work on myself to get to a point where I could behave like that without a drink. And I still often miss out on saying something because I over think it until the moment passes.

IT WASN’T JUST OTHER PEOPLE WHO PUT THE PRESSURE ON THOUGH. I WAS PRETTY GOOD AT DOING THAT MYSELF.

I thought that drinking wine with dinner was just what adults did. I felt like drinking orange squash with tea was like being a 12-year-old. I was in my early 20’s then, so I was keen to show I was a real adult. (Now I don’t care about that, probably quite the opposite in fact!)  It took a lot of self-honesty to admit that it didn’t make me feel good to be drinking like that and to stop. It took even more self-honesty and quite a long time to realise that being an adult has nothing to do with what you drink.

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