So I’ve finally done something that, to be honest, I should have done a long time ago. I’ve gone teetotal.
Trigger warnings: mentions of alcohol
I’ve known that I should probably not drink alcohol for a while now. My horrible psychiatrist told me, my very lovely therapist told me, and my adequate doctor told me. But I still did (not a lot, but enough to make a difference to my mental health) because I felt really weird about not drinking, especially in social settings. But it got to the point where I wasn’t really doing much social drinking anyway and the next couple days after drinking I was feeling horrendously depressed.
It just wasn’t worth it, and I decided to stop drinking in January when loads of people were doing dry January anyway. I felt like that timing worked really well for me. Not only were the big yearly celebrations like New Years over, and I wouldn’t be pressured by anyone to drink, but personally I didn’t have much coming up either. My boyfriend Jay was about to start seriously studying for his final-year exams, so we wouldn’t be socialising much with our friends either.
This is also relevant because Jay stopped drinking at the same time in support of me! I really appreciated that, because sometimes it feels a little bit alienating when you’re the only one who isn’t about to get completely wasted. He also wanted to stop drinking for physical health reasons, too.
And you know what? We’ve both discovered that hasn’t actually been all that bad. I currently work in marketing for a food and drink company, and I’ve discovered a lot of really nice no and low-alcohol drinks. When I’m in the mood for a drink on a Friday night or whatever, I go for a no-alcohol beer (some of them actually taste like normal beer). At a restaurant I also tried a no-alcohol spirit called Seedlip, and mixed with a tonic it really did taste like a cocktail.
With these alternatives, I have to admit that I haven’t really been missing alcohol as much as I thought I would. All of my friends have been really supportive about it, and no one has pressured me at all. I am DEFINITELY not missing the depression for days afterwards. (I’m actually the most well I’ve been in ages, and I think that the not drinking might have a little bit to do with that!)
My plans for the future? I’m not saying that I’m never going to drink, because sometimes I’m in the mood for a nice pint of Guinness, or a lovely cocktail. I just don’t have any plans in the foreseeable future to do so. I think things might change a little when spring/summer properly roll around, because people do tend to drink more when socialising at BBQs or at pubs. So, we’ll see how that goes.