I’m Just Not Drinking Today

Today is the first day I’ve sat down to do some work all week. I had such a busy and strong week last week. It felt great. However, at the start of this week, I went on a bender. Two days of heavy day and night drinking. Once it ended, I was an anxious mess, I felt rough. I dropped into a depressive episode. I didn’t get out of bed for days. I couldn’t sleep at night, couldn’t wake up in the day. It was horrible. I started to feel a bit better, then had a night drinking again. Not so heavy, but still drinking. The next day I was so unwell.

I had eaten some cucumber that tasted odd, so I blamed that, and not the alcohol I’d been guzzling. I think I’m done with drinking. I don’t enjoy it anymore. I love the romance of it, the idea of its calming effects. In reality, I don’t like being drunk, I don’t know when to stop, and I physically cannot bring myself to do anything for at least a day after – oh and if someone mentions cocaine you can bet that’s going to be on the cards.

I’m not announcing that I’m going sober. I am realising that I prefer not drinking. I prefer not having a hangover. I want to be a tea drinker. I don’t want to lose days anymore. I don’t need any extra anxiety or depression. My mind-appointed base amount is enough already, thankyouverymuch.

I’m going to cut down. To start with. I ultimately do want to be sober, but I know as soon as I say ‘no drinking’ it makes it the forbidden and I’ll want it more. Therefore, I’m just choosing to not drink today. Then try this mantra each day; except when there’s an event, or an occasion I don’t mind losing a few days over. It’s got to be worth it though. If there is such a thing.

‘Why not just have a couple of drinks?’ I think to myself. Well, I have tried this many times. Just two glasses of wine, always ends up in finishing the bottle and whatever else is in the house.

It’s not that I’m bad at drinking. I’m very good at drinking and that is the issue. I’ve ‘quit’ drinking so many times before, I think I’ve tried about 4 times in the last few months and always buckled a couple days in. So, this time I’m not quitting. I’m just ‘not drinking today.’

I’ve been living in Portugal the last few months, and with the current pandemic I’ve been going out so much less. However, the two times I have gone out – one I was harassed and the second I got so blind drunk I didn’t know where I was. Thankfully I made it home safe both times. I’m not ready to wait for the day I’m not so lucky.

I’ve lost count how many hangovers I spent with friends recounting my actions from the night before. Them regaling tales of me that I have absolutely zero memory of. We all laugh, and that confirms to me that its fine. When deep down, it doesn’t feel fine.

I don’t want to sleep with random guys anymore. Invite strangers from Tinder around to my flat. I don’t want to Uber across London to meet up with someone I don’t know. I don’t want to text people insanely risky texts to just regret it all the next day. I don’t want to forget where I am or who I’m with anymore. I don’t want to take cocaine in order to ‘sober me up’ and make sure I ‘remember the night.’ When all I end up doing is overshare and talk over my friends.  

‘Sunday Meg’ isn’t an accolade I want anymore. Waking people up with glasses of red wine or Bloody Mary’s, after a heavy night, to continue the party. Thinking it’s fun and free. When in reality I’m just exercising dangerous self-destructive escapism. Only to delay the inevitable and have my anxiety and problems come crashing down ten times harder once the party finally stops.

There are also the real health implications. I’ve been a heavy drinker since I was 14. I would spend the weekends absolutely blacked out in my local park, and I’ve not had much time off since. Top that off with around 13 years of drug abuse, and two hospitalised suicide attempts from overdose. My poor liver must be crying.

I want my drunken stories to fall back into legends. Stories I share on here and with people, laughing at the preposterous nature of it all, but leave it behind. Leave it in my teens and 20s. I want to move forwards with writing, my career, my relationships and my health. Hell, I want to have babies in a few years. My current drinking levels are not conducive to family life.

I know the path to sobriety isn’t linear. However, I’ve got to try and I’m going to take it day by day. I’m not swearing off alcohol. I know what that mindset does.

I’m just not drinking today.

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