The first time I decided to get drunk was at the ripe old age of 13. I was at my best friends party, her parents had gone on holidays. I hated the taste but everyone was doing it and I had to admit I was curious to see what being drunk felt like. I didn’t drink enough that night to get drunk, I was too scared in the end but the curiosity didn’t go away – it wasn’t long before I gave into what I now know as peer pressure.
I never liked the feeling of being out of control, but that certainly didn’t stop me. Before long my friends and I were getting cheap bottles of bourbon every weekend to drink straight and ending up in situations my adult self is now horrified by… I thought I was so grown up. I started smoking cigarettes at 12 and had my first joint at 13. I liked marijuana much more than alcohol, I never got paranoid like some people do. We smoked it most weekends from the ages of 14 – 17. My parents weren’t that liberal and brought me up very well, but they had never done it themselves so they had no idea what the signs were. After getting so drunk when I was 16 that I vomited blood while my eyes rolled back in my head, I stayed away from alcohol and preferred the green stuff.
At 20 I started a relationship with a friend’s older brother. I didn’t know it at the time, but he was not only taking ecstasy and speed – he was dealing it too. I was dead against it at first, but he eventually wore me down and again I let peer pressure get the better of me. I honestly felt like the only person my age who WASN’T doing drugs. For the next 2 years, I was out every weekend doing all kinds of drugs until I moved to London. The friends I made there weren’t into drugs but drinking was massive. So I was back on the turps every weekend for the next 4 years with the occasional party drug thrown into the mix. During this time I very much into health and fitness during the week and a total hedonist on the weekend. I had one foot on the brake and one on the accelerator. I was always sick, tired and moody but I was also skinny so in my head I was winning!
It wasn’t until I started to put more emphasis on health and fitness that I slowly realised drinking made me depressed and got me into many dangerous situations. One night I arrived home so blind drunk (and an iPhone down) that the taxi driver had to get my Mum to help him walk me to my front door. I looked up at my own mother and said “who are you?!” I stopped binge drinking not long after that… I’m about to turn 37 and I can’t even have one drink now without getting a terrible headache. The more I kept away from it the more sensitive I became – let’s be honest, alcohol is a poisonous toxin!
Most of my friends don’t drink and we still have a lot of fun. We are all secure enough in ourselves not to rely on alcohol to boost our self-esteem or lower our inhibitions (is that even a good thing?). If you need alcohol to enjoy yourself then you may have an addiction or a serious lack of self-love. Are you scared you won’t have fun without alcohol or that you aren’t fun without alcohol? Have you ever been the only sober one at a party? Drunk people are like overgrown toddlers except without any of the cuteness.
Easing up on the drinking isn’t easy in a society that heavily encourages it – I get alcohol as a Christmas present from my employer (even though they know I don’t drink). I’m not saying give it up for good, but if you find yourself using alcohol to escape from reality then rather than self-medicating, face up to it and work on making a better life for yourself. It doesn’t take long to see things from a clearer perspective, plus you’ll look and feel better – winning!