How I knew I was a 'problem' drinker...
Often times, we don't acknowledge problems or certain things because we don't want to face them or we don't want to believe there is any truth to them at all. It can be hard and scary to confront something that would just be easier to forget. This is what is considered 'normal' in society. But why? Too often, people decide to take the easier route and not confront the problem head on. I know this from experience. Thats what I always did when it came to drinking at least...I swept a lot of things under the rug instead of dealing with them, which ended up taking a huge toll on me in more ways then one.
I used to have a very good relationship with alcohol. I would only drink on special occasions or out with friends, but I still had a good balance of drinking vs not drinking. When I would drink I didn't need to drink a lot because there really was no need for me to do that back then. I was someone who could have the same amount of fun without drinking and I valued that a lot about myself. That was a few years ago. And wow, things changed after that and took a big turn for the worse...
Flash forward a few years later and I am no longer that same person. I would think to myself, "is my drinking starting to be a problem?" Deep down, the answer was always yes, and that was terrifying. It couldn't be, could it? I started drinking more, sometimes even by myself. I would drink more than I should when I was out and often forget a lot of things about the night. My drinking habits became more and more routine and I was starting to really dislike who I was becoming. I didn't drink all the time, but when I did decide to drink, I was not who I used to be. I was sad, emotional, angry. I cried a lot. I always needed 'one more drink' and even that didn't seem like enough. No one would have known it was something I struggled with but myself. I was a mastermind at hiding the issue. This started to weigh on me so much that I became so unhappy with my choices and the path I was leading.
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Now looking back, I've come to terms with that part of my life. I can understand that my drinking habits changed. More specifically, I identified when that change occurred. What used to be fun ended up being a recipe for disaster. I knew something had to change and so one day, I made the decision to give up drinking for good in order to take back that part of my life. Don't get me wrong, it was tough. But, I had gotten to a point where I said 'fuck it, I can't do this anymore.'
Its been well over a year since my last drink and I don't think I'll ever look back. Im happier, healthier, more clear, and more determined than ever to keep proving to myself and others that alcohol doesn't always need a place in your life. It won't make you fun. It won't make you the life of the party or someone who you want to be. It will still be you, and you're more than enough without drinking. These are words I wish I could have told myself back then, but I couldn't see clearly. I didn't know my worth without drinking.
Do I still wish I could have a few drinks and be like some of my friends who don't feel effects from them? Of course I do. But, I always remind myself of how far I've come and how much better I feel without the alcohol. So I opt for water or a mocktail instead.
At some point in your life, if you are someone who enjoys drinking, you'll need to consider your drinking habits and whether or not they can be a part of a sustainable lifestyle you want for yourself. I encourage you to ask yourself: How often do I drink? What am I drinking? Where am I drinking, With who am I drinking? Knowing the true answers to these questions may hurt at first, but could lead you on a whole new path.
There are so many circumstances in our lives that will altar our drinking habits. Just like everything else, our drinking habits may fluctuate throughout our lives depending on the current state of your life at the time. Getting ahead of the alcohol and knowing when to reconsider your habits is such an amazing tool to have. It is something I wish I did long before I realised my drinking habits were taking me places I didn't want to go to.