Several months ago I made the decision to try and stop drinking as part of a diet regime. What started off as a punishment to me later made me realise so much about myself, my friends and my social life in general.
Having no concerns for my health I consumed a large amount of alcohol per week, much like the rest of the British population who fill up the bars and pubs each week. There was nothing out of the ordinary about my habits, my consumption or life style. In fact I got invited to many parties because I am an excellent party goer. I converse, make jokes, buy my own drinks, and participate in drink rounds, never thrown up and eventually f**k off home without crying on anybody’s shoulder. In fact my drinking was even encouraged because of the outrageously fun things I was willing to do when intoxicated. Having decided to stick to my detox and cut off the alcohol I found myself becoming isolated from a lot of my friends and social groups. My friends all supported my not drinking but did not want to participate, eventually I had to give in once a week to the drinking or else my social life as I knew it would cease to be. What I realised once I began regularly working out was that the days after I drank any amount of alcohol I was not able to perform even 50% of my usual abilities and found that my moods changed far too much. This is disturbing to me. If you ask anyone they will tell you all the harmful effects of alcohol but in practice who actually ‘realises’ the harms? Not a lot of people actually. I have a friend who complains about financial problems and when I pointed out that he drank on the plus side of 50 drinks per week and that probably was the cause of it, he told me point blank ‘it’s ok, I will walk instead of taking the bus and cut down on weekly groceries... I cannot cut down on the beers’ Amazing? Unbelievable? Hardly! This is the exact attitude of a large population of young working adults in UK.
The British attitude to alcohol displays itself with growing trends like the fact that holiday booking agencies that exclusively sell all inclusive holiday packages with unlimited alcohol is on the rise and continues to become more popular. Supermarkets sell such large quantities of alcohol that they can afford to sell it at wholesale prices to the public. Last year 800,000 were admitted to hospitals with alcohol related problems. These alcohol related admissions puts such a strain on NHS services and doctors which means that patients who require serious treatments for real illnesses are delayed as hospitals are under too much pressure.
UK is in serious trouble with alcohol consumption and regardless of how much taxes are applied to it people will not be deterred it seems. Therefore it is down to the individuals to go ahead and make conscious decisions about their alcohol consumption and possibly spread the word among their own friends. I urge you to go ahead and try 30 days without any alcohol, you will probably hate it at first (and me for suggesting it) but then you will also realise that you feel better for it.
I have mixed feelings about alcohol, mainly that I love it, but now I have a higher sense of consciousness about it. Admittedly without alcohol and drugs 90% of music, arts or films would not be around...I understand it is the fuel of the artists...to get in touch with their inner emotions.
How many relationships survive with the aid of alcohol? A shocking amount actually, and once realities kick in people realise they are sober and living with a plank of a person who is neither intelligent nor interesting they each run in opposite directions. It is harder to form connections with people when having a tea together and I suppose the love making isn’t as much fun either.
With this new found sober state I have begun to realise how many pointless conversations we have each week whilst drunk, how much time we waste with people who aren’t in fact interesting or even likeable in the harsh reality of sobriety. The emotions we feel so easily when drunk can actually be felt naturally, such euphoria can be achieved...it’s just a lot harder. Being sober all the time makes you realise how stupid we can be...Drinking constantly can be a lot of fun for a while but times come when you realise that you are neither immortal nor invincible.
So will I ever quit completely? I doubt it. I probably will wake up most mornings wanting tequila for breakfast, but from now on I won’t reach for a drink at every social event, I will make more of an occasion of it. I hate that mums always right! I must definitely be getting old...
Next I will want to have babies.