Saturday, 22 July 2017

Alcohol & Me: Why I Rarely Drink

Blog 8: Why I Rarely Drink

Please bear in mind that I live in the UK so the legal drinking age is 18. For more information please go to Drink Aware.

Like a lot of teenagers, I used to drink. I’m not talking getting black-out-drunk (anxiety prevents me from doing so and I’m also the mumsy-take-care-of-everyone type); but at least 50% of the time I had with my friends was spent drinking either at their homes or at parties. Back then, I enjoyed drinking; it was a way to blow off steam and gave me a huge boost in confidence that I was severely lacking. I want to make it clear that I was in no way an alcoholic; it was just drinking on Friday or Saturday nights and during what would be school breaks – not every night and certainly not during the day. I have learnt over the years that with my anxiety and depression comes a tendency to binge/obsess over things so my need to constantly drink alcohol when I was drinking with friends could be explained through that. It’s why I can’t just watch one episode (or series) of a programme and need to have to complete series of books before I can start reading the first one.

These days (the last 3 years), I drink far less frequently. I very rarely go out due to my anxiety and when I do, I try to refrain from alcohol as it really depresses me (it is a depressant, after all) and I tend to feel more paranoid even if I only have one drink. If I do have a drink, I need to be in a really good mood and so on-the-go that I don’t have time to think about anything right up until I fall asleep otherwise I’ll be awake all night worrying.

Worrying is also a big part of why I rarely drink, or even go out with, people who tend to go out of control. Whilst I am the type to make sure everyone is OK, it is stressful. I’m so aware that people can get alcohol poisoning, and that, if they haven’t blacked out, they are likely to be vomiting. When you’re the designated caretaker (whether it’s self-volunteered or not) it’s rather scary to have friends who are alcoholics and/or are binge drinkers but who also deal with severe mental health issues. I don’t know how to take care of them and so I would hope that by saying that I’m not going to drink (around my friends who aren’t as dependant on alcohol as other friends) would serve as some sort of example. I also don’t tend to hang around them if they have been drinking as a lot of the time they will try to convince me to drink with them which isn’t something I want. I like making my own decisions – I have to for my own physical and mental health – and it makes me dislike being around those who try to persuade me  as it appears that they don’t respect my decisions. Luckily now I only have one friend that I see regularly (who has been dealing with mental health issues and problems with alcohol) that now respects my decision not to drink and knows that if I am over at her house it is to make sure she and her family are OK. I care too much about her to be an enabler.

That is why I stay away from alcohol as much as possible. Sure, in the fridge I have at least two bottles of vodka that people have given me as holiday gifts but they have been in there for at least two years now with no chance of me opening them any time soon. It’s not hard for me to not drink; I don’t have an interest in it anymore and, as I said before, I need to be in a really good mood before I’ll even consider ordering alcohol of any kind. Also, what with being on medication for said anxiety and depression, mixing alcohol with medication isn’t advised. I did try to have an alcoholic drink at a party once whilst on them and it just made me so tired that I had to leave earlier than I had planned.  I certainly don’t recommend it either. I have seen what it does to close friends and I don’t want to end up going down the route. I know where my compulsions lie now and that helps keep me on track.



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