“You’re Teetotal Now?!”

At the end of March 2019, I made the decision to give up drinking, for good.

Having been what I would classify as a “social drinker” for nine years, at the start of this year I realised that I was slowly but surely starting to become dependent on alcohol. The thought of dancing or talking to people I’d never met before without some Dutch courage was beyond unfathomable. Alcohol had essentially become my drug of choice to numb any pain I was feeling, to free myself of all inhibitions, and to escape my problems for the night.

My reasoning was always that it’s just so easily accessible, (we have a bar on the ground floor of our office building for Pete’s sake!) and most people I know drink, so as soon as I turned 18, I started to blindly follow the status quo, without bothering to question if it was really what I wanted to do or why exactly I felt I needed to be drinking at all #sheeplife.

But as of the last few months, I’ve started looking inwards more, practicing introspection and questioning a lot of my actions. And I realised that the problem was deeper than I thought: the alcohol had a hold over me, and as you’ll know if you’ve read my previous blogs, I don’t like the feeling of being controlled by anything!

I also realised that I’ve never actually liked the taste of alcohol. I’ve never been a wine-with-my-meals kind of girl, I was always a drink-to-get-drunk type of person. But I definitely didn’t enjoy throwing up and having a hangover afterwards!

Drinking with work colleagues always felt like a must, but again I’ve realised it’s because I felt the need to drink in order to make them more interesting. I quickly clocked that whether I’m drinking or not makes no difference, as long as they are, it’s all good! And honestly, whether I’m holding a virgin mojito or a vodka lemonade, who will really be able to tell the difference once they’re five drinks deep?

And so weighing up the pros and cons made it an easy decision for me: I was going to go tee-total.

I’m not gonna lie though, sometimes I feel like I’m being put under the microscope in social situations with work colleagues or family get-togethers where everyone knows me to be a drinker.

Rather than just respecting my decision and moving on, they always feel the need to ask, “Why are you not drinking though? How long will this last?” followed by “Oh I could never do that!”, well good job I’m not asking you to jump on my bandwagon then Brenda! They stare at me with a confused expression of disdain, their eyes screaming, “But you’re so much more fun when you drink!” or “We need to all be drunk together, so none of us remembers what happened tomorrow! We don’t need a sober person judging us!”.

And honestly, at the start, I did entertain the idea that maybe I did need a drink in order to be better company, well for all of five seconds, then I realised who I am! I was reducing myself to a boring character that needed a drug to become bearable to be around and that’s not me!

Now that I’ve started re-connecting with myself and getting back to the person I want to be, I know that I don’t require alcohol to bring my personality to life, all I need is good company who are on the same wavelength.

Some of my best friends have never touched alcohol and that’s never been a source of weirdness/awkwardness, because on nights out we’d all be feeding off eachother’s energy anyway, so it made no difference and I always respected their decision not to. When you’re with those who matter, who accept you for the real you, you don’t crave alcohol to enhance yourself, or them, because you’re all just content as you are!

This doesn’t mean that I now judge anyone who does drink, other people’s life choices just don’t affect me like that, it’s a personal choice that I’ve made for me, myself and I. Some people respect this lifestyle change of mine, others don’t get it, either way I’m good because I know it’s the right decision for me and I know that I have plenty of resolve to see it through. Plus I’m saving so much extra money! Forget hot girl summer, roll on sober summer 2019! 😛

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