It’s easier said than done, trust me, I know. Every year there’s the ye old campaign of dry January, which in essence is great, but not always helpful when bars are enticing you with 2-1 cocktails 7 days a week. However, being part of the dry Jan clan seems to now be a trend and this may be the perfect springboard for you giving up alcohol for the foreseeable, not just January. There are many people, for many reasons, who have an unhealthy relationship with alcohol. If you are considering giving it up, January is a good place to start, because unlike December, you will have a plethora of people around you to support you. I am absolutely not a medic, but I do see the benefits of stopping drinking. After all, that feeling when we wake up after a heavy night is absolutely horrendous, and a feeling I am confident nobody wishes they had.
I had a chat with my friend Charlotte, who I have known for many years. Charlotte openly talks about her unhealthy relationship with alcohol and how giving it up has changed her life completely. My chat with Charlotte was so brave and raw but incredibly inspiring and she really was true to herself. She is determined to make people see that recovery is okay, and how much your anxiety can be reduced.
What was your biggest worry about giving up alcohol?
C: “I had so many fears of giving up alcohol. I felt like my whole life would be over and I thought I would have no friends. The thoughts that used to run through my mind were: ‘who would want to socialise with me if I was sober’, ‘sober is boring’ and ‘I’d rather die than never drink again’. These thoughts stopped me from giving up sooner.”
What was the turning point?
C: “The turning point for me was waking up depressed after another boozy bank holiday and just feeling like I can’t mentally or physically carry on living like this. My hangovers got progressively worse and took me longer and longer to recover.”
How do you feel now?
C: Over the years, drinking played havoc with my mental health and I was riddled with anxiety and taking fluoxetine to try and stabilize it. Since giving up alcohol my anxiety is pretty much non-existent, and I am no loner taking medication for it. I am now over 19 months sober without a drink and I feel mentally and physically better than I have in years. I have peace of mind and my friendships and relationships are stronger than ever, but most importantly, the relationship with myself.
Do you feel like you miss out socially?
C: Sometimes when I first arrive at a party or music gig or whatever the social occasion may be and I see people drinking, I do think ‘hmmm maybe I should just have a drink and join in’, but that thought quickly passes. When I’m driving home, waking up feeling fresh and being productive, I think to myself ‘there really is no better feeling’. I try to remind myself of the way I felt after drinking and that’s usually more than enough to make me not want to go back to it.
If you would like to follow Charlotte, you can find her on Instagram @nowimlivingthedrylife
By Hollie Warwick