I wish I could say I have a deep, theoretical reason why I stopped drinking so much. Honestly, I have nothing against drinking. I actually enjoy it. It wasn’t because I was an alcoholic, or because I was failing out of school, or because I had done something unforgivable while drinking. For me the reasoning is simple – I got tired of feeling like crap. You know how 40 somethings joke about how they wish they could recover from a night of drinking like they did in their 20s? From the very first time I got drunk at 17, it would take me a full day to recover from the night before. Vomiting, nausea, sweating, the whole 9 yards. As I got older and graduated college, things got even worse. I’ve been battling uterine and stomach issues for the past year or so, and drinking made me feel sicker than ever before. More than once, I have come close to vomiting on public transportation.
So what does this mean for my social life? While I do enjoy an occasional glass of wine and the nice buzz that comes along with it, I’m pretty much done with shots and extreme drunkenness. I don’t feel the need to drink at every meal or every event I go to. I’ve had friends push me to drink. I know they’re not doing this to be malicious, and I know that this insistence is in part brought on my their memories of my former self, but it can be annoying to have someone repeatedly ask me to take a shot when I don’t want to.
Recently, I went out to a club for Halloween. It was my first time being at a club since my birthday earlier in the year. I was nervous about how the night would unfold – would I have fun if I wasn’t drunk? Would I enjoy being around other drunk people if I was sober? Would I still be bold enough to dance and flirt and do all the things that twenty-somethings do? The answer was yes. I had an amazing time, danced all night, and enjoyed being in the company of other people.
As I said earlier, I haven’t stopped drinking 100%, but I’m honestly fine going months without a drink, and I’ve just stopped getting drunk. Do I miss it? Absolutely. I have drunk stories that are legendary (just ask if you want to know more), and I miss the liberation and silliness that comes with having a few too many drinks and not a f*** to give. What I don’t miss is the loss of control, the general feeling of ickiness the next morning, and the realization that I’ll be in bed for an entire day because I wanted to drink my weight in vodka. No I don’t miss that at all. I believe that this new, clearer-headed version of myself can and will still have fun, crazy stories, but without the veneer of alcohol over my memories. Cheers to that.