Quitting the drink
I’m 21, the legal age to start drinking in America. Whilst I’m in my prime years for going clubbing and sampling cheap wines from all over the world, I’ve decided to stop drinking. Cold turkey. Not even at Christmas.
I started drinking very young at 14 (compared to friends I was a late bloomer) but it was nothing more than a few swigs at the park of whatever a friend could sneak out their parents’ cupboards. I was a fan of alcohol and I really enjoyed the process of drinking throughout my teens. It wasn’t until I was 20 that I really started to put two and two together.
As you may have read from my previous posts, I suffer from M.E/C.F.S (you can read about my diagnosis etc here) and I often get flare ups triggered by excessive activity or often a reaction to an intolerance. I noticed throughout my late teens that I would feel awful for a good few days after drinking but I always put it down to bad hangovers and never really considered that it could be the alcohol itself that my body was reacting to. I had a look on some forums about people with M.E/C.F.S and noticed that a lot of people cannot drink alcohol due to a developed intolerance to it. My mum and dad had mentioned this to me before but I did brush it aside as I wasn’t letting that stop my drunken nights out with friends. I always knew I reacted badly with alcohol but it wasn’t until I had one single Baileys mocha drink one night around 4/5 months back that I realised that I just couldn’t drink at all. I woke up feeling like I had one of the worst flare ups I’ve had and I had only sat and watched T.V with a Baileys the night before. I realised then that I really had to abandon the drink so I could give my body one less stress to deal with.
So far it’s been tough, there are times where I’d just love to crack open a bottle of wine whilst watching rubbish telly but I know that wine is just not worth putting my body through the stress of a flare up.
Being on holiday in Spain was when I realised that it was possible to be able to have great fun and not consume any alcohol, I was at a music festival (you can read about it here) and whilst alcohol was relatively cheap I wasn’t overwhelmingly tempted because I was having a great time with a cup of water or a can of Red Bull (although I totally wish I could’ve drowned in Sangrias).
Stopping drinking for no matter what reason can be tough especially if like me you love the taste and experience of alcohol. I found that letting people know that I’m not a drinker anymore helped keep peer pressure to a minimum (yes I am 21 and yes I will give into peer pressure at times).
There really isn’t anything wrong with going sober, I’ve still had a few nights out whilst not drinking and they’ve been a great laugh, I’ve found flare ups to be so much less intense and I have more money at the end of the night which is always a bonus.
A great tip I picked up whilst ditching the drink was to treat my soft drink like it was an alcoholic drink, for instance, if I was at a gig I’d hold my soft drink and take occasional drinks from it as it was an alcoholic drink. Doing this made me feel less left out and if I was worried about anyone questioning my soft drink choice, I’d put it into a glass so it could easily pass as an alcoholic beverage.
If alcohol consumption is something you regularly partake in and you find it doesn’t affect you then that’s brilliant but if it’s not been treating you too kindly, for whatever reason, it may be worth giving it a miss for a bit to see how you get on. Sober October is coming up tomorrow, so that’s a great excuse to ditch the booze for a bit if you feel you will benefit from that.
If you love a drink, have one for me.