- The way I drink has affected my: waist and weight. Sense of self control. Sense of self. Self confidence and positive self regard. Self love. Relationships. Friendships. Sleep. Daily moods. Daily strength and energy. Gym performance.
- My drinking has made me feel guilty, ashamed, scared and out of control, especially when I do it alone and I get so drunk that, even by myself, I have just a barely fuzzy memory of what I did the night before. I feel shitty knowing I drink way more than the daily or weekly recommended amounts. Like, every night, at least 3 beers or 3 glasses of wine each time. I often wonder if people are able to tell how drunk am I, or if I’m good enough at hiding it. Do I say stupid things? Probably. Do I make an emotional display of myself? Yeah, it’s likely. Why don’t I listen to myself when I tell myself *mid-pour* that I should stop? Why do I always feel so anxious when, after starting to drink, I feel like there won’t be enough to last me, or that I won’t be able to *secretly* drink enough to help knock myself out at night?
- I nearly had a disaster because of my drinking when I drove, the multiple times I drove when I probably shouldn’t have. A dumb fucking mistake made by a dumb, young woman who should have known better. I am fortunate that neither I, nor anyone else, was harmed by my negligence and stubbornness and stupidity. I think back to some of the nights I drove and I legitimately feel scared. I have been too lucky, and luck doesn’t last forever.
- It was just about a disaster, too, the many times I nearly sent an angry email to any of my multiple exes in a drunken rage, especially the ex-husband. I know, in hindsight, that those emails would have been barely legible, overly emotional, and not a good representation of the person I want to be going forward with my life. I’m glad that even in my most drunken states, I was able to stop myself. I avoided many embarrassing and dramatic encounters.
- I’m tired of waking up feeling like my head has been shrink-wrapped in cellophane, fatigued and weak, ashamed of my drinking behaviors and disappointed in my ability to control it. I’m tired of waking up feeling like I’ve been caught in a cycle that I can’t step out of. I’m tired of waking up and trying to slyly feel my belly fat as I lay on my side, to see how much damage I may or may not have done to my waistline after a few days of heavy drinking.
Dear me: I want to remember the feeling of how bad it is to be hungover. I’m going to write a bit here that I can reread when I (inevitably) think that drinking would be a good idea. I never want to feel like this again:
Wake up. Can barely open eyes. Dehydrated and sore – feels like someone sucked all the moisture out of your body with a giant cotton swab and replaced it with insulation. Head isn’t pounding yet, but you know as soon as you make the first move to sit up, it’s going to feel as heavy as rocks and your temples around going to pound so hard it feels like they might pop. Stomach feels like it’s been carved out of acid – real acid, not regular old stomach acid. It burns. Raw. Muscles ache and your back aches and you feel hot all over. And you know that it’s 7:45 and you have to get up and get in the shower so you’re not late for work at 9.
Start wondering if you said anything overly revealing or embarrassing last night to your boyfriend, who probably didn’t have a good idea of how drunk you really were. Were you the drunkest one at the party? Yeah, probably. It seemed like everyone else had maybe two or three drinks, while you kept reaching and reaching for another. And those beers just made your belly feel so heavy and full – you looked in the mirror a few times and saw how red your face was, and how bloated you looked, but you just kept drinking anyway, because why stop now? And you told yourself that you were only going to have one or two beers, that you’d stop. But you didn’t, just like every other time before.
Now it’s time to roll out of bed and into the shower. You feel like if you have to try to keep yourself awake all day, you might actually have a heart attack. And then the anxiety hits – nothing in particular is making you anxious, but you cycle between feelings of dread and despair. This goes on for the majority of the day.
You get into work and slump silently into your desk. Thank god the office is quiet and dark. Thank god no one can tell by looking at you just how hungover you are. You have just enough time to get on with your work before your cube mate gets in and the meetings start. Just calm your brain. Don’t nod off. Mindlessly scroll through Facebook for half an hour before you realize it’s time to actually do something. Work for ten minutes, then get up to walk around.
You secretly google sober blogs on your phone in the bathroom at work. You drink 5 cups of coffee until you’re shaking from the caffeine, instead of the hangover, and it only seems to help around 3pm, when you start to feel a little okayish again. Around 4, you’re not doing too bad – a bit tired, but that’s okay. By 5, you start thinking that a beer sounds pretty nice.
Should I? I should I not? I don’t know, I said I wouldn’t. But, I dunno, just one beer down at that awesome new brewery won’t hurt.
Yes, you decide. One beer. Just one. Then you’ll go home and get some stuff done – maybe paint your nails and water the garden and do some homework.
Besides, it won’t be just like last night, or the last several times you’ve gone out drinking on your own after work, will it? No, not this time – this time, it’s different. You just know it.