The Dawning of the Age of Sobriety
In the beginning there was (a lot) of wine. I could easily put away 1 or 2 bottles a night, every night, waking up in the morning ready for the day ahead and ready to do it all over again. I drank every single day without fail for years, probably starting when I went to university and continuing right through my 20's. Then I turned 30. I was still putting away my 1 or 2 bottles a night, but something strange happened; hangovers became a very real issue. OK, yes, of course I had experienced some stinking hangovers over the years, but it felt like there was something different about these post-29 year old hangovers.
What Had Changed?
Junk food. I could no longer just stuff food in my face to kill a hangover off in its tracks (although my ballooning weight proved that this was still tactic number 1). No amount of crap seemed to work anymore to get rid of that fuzzy haze of brain mist that these exciting new hangovers brought with them and my weight gain was becoming a joke, along with by bloated body and puffy face.
Anxiety. Where did that one come from!? I had always been a pretty laid back person and all of a sudden I was experiencing what is commonly termed as 'hangxiety', which refers to anxiety that follows a period of heavy or continued alcohol use. I was suddenly waking up at 2am in a panic about things that perhaps a sober person would not give a second thought to. Which leads to...
Lack of sleep. I should really say lack of good quality sleep as I never had much trouble passing out cold drunk! This was becoming a problem that started to effect my whole life. I couldn't focus at work or get things done that I wanted to do. I just spent the days counting down the hours until I could drink more wine and send myself back off into a drunken slumber.
Emotional instability. This is definitely a result of the culmination of all of the things that make these 30-something hangovers so unbearable! Feeling constantly tired, lack of self esteem over my weight, stress and anxiety over work (real or imagined) was causing me to emotionally break down on a regular basis. It was disturbingly apparent that I was struggling psychologically and would end up in tears almost daily. I believe I was depressed, but the sort of depression that had one simple cure. Quitting drinking.
Suffering relationships. My husband and I started arguing and this vice, habit, addiction, whatever you want to call it was NOT going to cost me my marriage.
Changes for the Better
Obviously something had to change! I started to think that maybe I had a problem with alcohol (mainly the fact that once I started I couldn't stop) about 6 months ago and managed to start having days off drinking until I was stringing some days of sobriety together. To my surprise, as soon as I didn't drink for a couple of days, most of the problems that I've listed above seemed to disappear very quickly.
So, now I have committed to doing a year sober. 365 days if I can to see what bigger changes I can make in my life. It is VERY early days; at the time of writing this I am just 12 days sober and under no illusion that this is going to be straight forwards. After all, I read somewhere that recovery isn't linear. 'Just For Today' will be my mantra, and this blog will be my accountability.