Life felt poisonous. I bear in mind feeling an intense lack of ardour, function or course and ingesting grew to become my distraction. What adopted was a well-recognized cycle of self-inflicted unwanted effects: terrible hangovers, low temper and intense remorse.
With extra of us at residence this 12 months and coping with stress induced by the pandemic, it’s hardly stunning that many individuals are resorting to ingesting alcohol to unwind. Actually, research shows that Australians have reported ingesting extra this 12 months.
A current 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.
In case 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 evening earlier than, it grew to become clear that my relationships have been struggling. I had stopped prioritising my accomplice in favour of a damaging 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 much 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 wished to cling to it with each arms.
I haven’t had a drink since.
However that’s to not say I haven’t appeared again. Going alcohol-free, for me no less than, is a kind of blurry gray areas. I felt each delight and concern. I do know ingesting 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 identification – all of which had been constructed on blurry days and nights knocking again too many drinks.
Saying goodbye to that was arduous. And I felt judged. I bear in mind a mate of mine saying: “Oh, you’re going to grow to be a kind of meme-sharing positivity dickheads”.
However I didn’t blame her for considering that approach. As a result of it’s true – Australians constantly join socially with booze. We watched our dad and mom do it, then we began doing it in our teenage years. For almost all of us, we don’t know some other approach.
Nonetheless, increasingly individuals are selecting to not drink in keeping with 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 pals has expanded into new worlds and pursuits that have 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 may. And whereas I gained’t deny that a few drinks work wonders on each the relief and networking entrance – today I can’t think about not being drink-free for each my enterprise and social life.
As for the way different folks really feel once they discover out I don’t drink – I’ve seen we regularly grow to be uncomfortable. Possibly folks really feel judged or defensive of their selections. I’m studying to navigate this by being open, trustworthy, and exhibiting that I’m usually pro-alcohol for different folks, simply not for myself. I don’t have an issue with you ingesting, I simply didn’t like the best way it made me really feel or act.
And maybe as extra folks 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 bizarre, to as an alternative encourage others to contemplate studying who they’re with out a drink of their hand.