Life felt poisonous. I bear in mind feeling an intense lack of ardour, goal or route and consuming grew to become my distraction. What adopted was a well-recognized cycle of self-inflicted unintended effects: terrible hangovers, low temper and intense remorse.
With extra of us at house this 12 months and coping with stress induced by the pandemic, it’s hardly shocking that many individuals are resorting to consuming alcohol to unwind. The truth is, research shows that Australians have reported consuming extra this 12 months.
A latest survey from the Alcohol and Drug Basis additionally discovered one in 5 Australians has regretted how a lot they drank in lockdown. An identical proportion has considered decreasing their consumption however is but to take steps to take action.
Should you occur to fall into that camp, maybe my story will function inspiration.
After too many mornings marred with inevitable dread as my thoughts replayed scenes from the night time earlier than, it grew to become clear that my relationships had been struggling. I had stopped prioritising my accomplice in favour of a harmful social life. One thing needed to change.
So in 2013, I set myself a 12-month problem. Three months in, that “aha” second hit me.
There I used to be, sitting in my gray work cubicle, coping with some duties that appeared past me at that time in my profession. However then it dawned on me – I felt way more able to tackling them as a result of my mind was booze-free, sparkly and clear. I felt a way of readability I hadn’t skilled earlier than and I needed to cling to it with each arms.
I haven’t had a drink since.
However that’s to not say I haven’t regarded again. Going alcohol-free, for me at the least, is a type of blurry gray areas. I felt each delight and concern. I do know consuming isn’t for me as a result of it dulls me – it brings me disgrace and shadow. However I want it was completely different so I didn’t really feel like such an outsider at each social event.
I used to be additionally fairly naive in that first 12 months about what I used to be actually giving up. Not solely was I letting go of a life-style and friendships, I used to be additionally letting go of my id – all of which had been constructed on blurry days and nights knocking again too many drinks.
Saying goodbye to that was laborious. And I felt judged. I bear in mind a mate of mine saying: “Oh, you’re going to turn out to be a type of meme-sharing positivity dickheads”.
However I didn’t blame her for considering that approach. As a result of it’s true – Australians persistently join socially with booze. We watched our mother and father do it, then we began doing it in our teenage years. For almost all of us, we don’t know every other approach.
Nonetheless, an increasing number of individuals are selecting to not drink based on the National Drug Strategy Household Survey 2019. And as non-alcoholic bars spring up throughout the nation, ‘technology sober’ – Technology Z – is starting to embrace the sober curious tradition.
So what’s life like since changing into the soda water guzzler on the desk? My circle of associates has expanded into new worlds and pursuits that had been beforehand off limits and my accomplice and I share a a lot deeper bond. I’ve additionally constructed a enterprise from the bottom up that fuels me greater than a bottle of prosecco ever might. And whereas I received’t deny that a few drinks work wonders on each the comfort and networking entrance – as of late I can’t think about not being drink-free for each my enterprise and social life.
As for the way different individuals really feel once they discover out I don’t drink – I’ve seen we regularly turn out to be uncomfortable. Possibly individuals really feel judged or defensive of their selections. I’m studying to navigate this by being open, sincere, and exhibiting that I’m usually pro-alcohol for different individuals, simply not for myself. I don’t have an issue with you consuming, I simply didn’t like the best way it made me really feel or act.
And maybe as extra individuals embrace initiatives like Dry July and this month’s Ocsober, non-drinking can transfer from a spot the place it’s thought-about out of the extraordinary, to as a substitute encourage others to contemplate studying who they’re with out a drink of their hand.