For my whole adult life I have been a pretty heavy drinker. For most of my adolescent life I was too. It is something that is completely normalised in my family, my circle of friends, my big life influences, and even the communities I have chosen to live in. Having adopted Australia as my homeland hasn’t helped matters. Neither has working in a high stress job. My drinking runs the gamut. I drink to socialise with friends. I drink to unwind after a long day. I drink when I’m happy, when I’m sad, when I’m stressed, depressed or just bored. Inevitably I drink to get over drinking too much the day before.
Spending time with my family over Christmas, certain members of which are very heavy drinkers themselves, solidified my need to reevaluate my relationship with alcohol. To be honest, I had already spent a lot of last year contemplating it. I have a long list of worries when it comes to my drinking.
Short Term worries include:
- Being left unproductive for at least a day, if not two after a session;
- Eating horribly while out drinking; after drinking; and for the entire following day;
- Having increased anxiety and depression following nights of drinking;
- Feeling embarrassed after a night out and getting too boisterous in front of people;
- Picking fights with my partner while drunk;
- Spending way too much money on alcohol.
Long Term worries include:
- My cognition being altered;
- My long term mental health being effected by my drinking;
- My weight continuously climbing due to empty calories from alcohol combined with poor nutritional choices when drunk and hungover;
- Increasing my risk of cancer and other health problems.
Sounds like a bunch of pretty good reasons to quit drinking right?
The problem is, I don’t feel ready to give it up for good. There is something so wonderful about really good food and wine. When I think about giving up drinking it’s those moments, of fantastic food and friends and wine-heated cheeks that make me second guess the decision. And maybe it’s ok to keep these moments if I can eliminate other kinds of drinking. The bingeing. The de-stress wine alone on the couch. The endless rounds at the pub. Any sort of day drinking at all which does nothing but give me the most giant of headaches and regret and terrible sleep. I’m edging closer to embracing the idea of a measured sort of sobriety. The actuality of it still eludes me though. I need strategies and a plan to stick to. I need to determine if it really is all or nothing, or if I can introduce a measured moderation.