I’d grafted for 14 hours to get to my destination for the day. I’d had a nightmare week, like you wouldn’t believe and I was seriously considering my options.
Calling All Drinkers: is Alcohol Impacting Your Life Negatively?
I was focussed and determined to achieving my short term goal of reaching Chandigarh. The goal was to then celebrate in one of India’s most liberal cities, where drinking alcohol was readily accepted and considered societal norm.
I arrived late, but thankfully the hotel had a rather nice restaurant and bar. “Go on old boy you deserve it” I said to myself, so without hesitation, I called; “namaska bhai; Kingfisher kitna rupee?” In my strange Hindlish accent. Two beers later, I was happily merry and heading back to my room after enjoying the first beers I’d had in weeks.
The morning after the night before.
I woke the next morning feeling like absolute shite. Jaded and slightly dazed, I recalled how many beers I’d had…two! My head was heavy, my stomach rumbling and I felt anxious and negative. Most regular drinkers would have put this down to being 'one of those nights'. But I’m slightly different to the normal person, in so much as I review and analyse my mindset on a daily basis. Having struggled with depression in the past, I’m super vigilant to how my body, especially my mind, reacts to certain situations and environments.
My mindset was shot
Disappointed in myself for using alcohol as a reward for my efforts, I thought back to when I was first at the airport a month ago, just before I left for India. I went from beng super focussed, happy and positive to anxious, edgey and negative all within the space of 2 hours from my preflight ritual in the airport bar.
I recalled experiencing the same feeling soon after having a few beers in Delhi. Then, how I was as good as gold in Leh and Srinagar. And then, up pops my 'old friends' negativity and anxiety, when I had a few farewell beers when leaving Jammu to start my adventure.
The penny dropped once again.
Alcohol really doesn’t agree with me. In the sense that I hate the way I feel after a few beers. In fact, the window of enjoyment is becoming even smaller. The cerebral high of alcohol nowadays doesn’t even last the duration of drinking.
I’ve said it once and I’ll say it again, if you’re suffering with depression, PTSD or anxiety and you seriously want to overcome your struggles with mental health then you have to knock the booze on the head - period!
Look, I’ve read posts like this one countless times before, making every excuse possible why I drink and I’m an imaginative bloke who loves a beer. But I’ll say it again, just to reinforce it; booze makes me negative and I’m kinda getting bored of it.
You will NOT solve any of life’s problems by drinking!
A few beers with the lads has been a guilty pleasure of mine for years, as it has for blokes across the country. But, it’s also something that has contributed to my downfall in the past and I’m extremely aware of it.
I’m no Phil Mitchell and can quite happily enjoy a few beers or glasses of wine without smashing the joint up, but, l’m aware I can become more argumentative and antagonistic if I’ve had a beer, if I’m stressed or had a bad day at the office. Alcohol often magnifies who you are and what you're feeling.
But I’m extremely aware of my mental state - confidence is replaced with self doubt. Assertiveness is replaced with hesitancy and positivity with negativity.
I’m the last one to give advice on drinking, but maybe that’s why I might be best placed to actually give you a few home truths about the negative effects of boozing. Am I saying never to drink again? Absolutely not. I’m simply saying that, if life isn’t going quite how you might want it, give the old devil's poison a swerve for a while.
You owe it to yourself and those around you. I also challenge you to go 30 days without a drink.
You’ll likely come out with every excuse possible why you can’t. Birthday party coming up, it’s the summer so you want to enjoy the beer garden, it’s winter and there’s nothing like a beer in a cosy pub, just been promoted, got the sack or it’s someone’s leaving drinks, someone’s died, a baby was born or it’s been a stressful day at work, or it’s simply a day ending in ‘Y’.
Let me spell it out for YOU!
If you can’t go 30 days without a drink you HAVE a problem with alcohol.
I’m not saying you’re an alcoholic, I’m simply saying you rely on alcohol to escape or seemingly improve your experience. Maybe the question isn’t “am I drinking too much”, maybe it’s actually just, WHY?
I’ve never met anyone who has felt worse for giving up alcohol. If you think I’m coming across all preachy, like some reformed boozer, just remember one thing….
I still drink mother fucker!
Although, I’m definitely questioning why.
Your life, your journey amigo. Do whatever you like. It won’t affect my life. I’m just someone who shares his thoughts.
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