Thursday, 28 January 2016

Dry January

As I'm sure everyone is aware by this stage of the month, its Dry January! This is the month that we're all challenged to give up alcohol by Alcohol Concern. For some this is more of a challenge than others; Students and young people in general are notorious for binge drinking, but this stereotype may not ring so true for much longer. More and more students appear to be abstaining from the booze, and I happen to be one of them.
Yes, it might not seem like much of a shock that someone in their final year has decided they want to retire from heavy nights out. But this isn't a new thing, I've always been a bit of a "grandma" preferring cosy nights in to nights out. I haven't really enjoyed drinking for a few years now, and the occasional times I've forced myself out in the past I've always regretted it. So I've decided to make 2016 a dry year, because one month just wouldn't be much of a challenge. (I've made it this far without trying!)
Although I'm generally not fussed by the idea of getting drunk, I am not nor have ever been teetotal. I can go several months at a time without touching a drop of the devil's water but I am a lover of whisky and dark rum, so when the opportunity arises I can seldom help myself. The issue is that eventually a situation will come along where I end up drinking more than I should, or can handle. Issue is because I never drink and am already a lightweight, I never know my limits. Obviously I end up turning into a bit of an embarrassment and feel absolutely awful the next day. Okay, there's been a few occasions where I've managed not to make an idiot out of myself but still regret drinking in the best case scenarios, where I'm always left with some form of hangover (My general health issues mean no hangover or not feeling absolutely awful the next day is simply not possible). When I was young... Yes, cliché.. Back when I first started drinking I never got hangovers, only suffered with the lack of sleep, and could astound people with my standard party trick of downing sickening amounts of straight vodka like water. (Plus remain standing for the most part.) But things have changed, I guess I must have grown up some where a long the way. Although I had some great nights and a lot of fun, I kinda found it got kinda dull... Maybe that's just me? Plus that lifestyle just isn't healthy!

I know that I can go out sober, stay sober and have a great night with no consequences. Yet somehow I usually end up ruining it by changing my mind mid night. I would say that I curb to peer pressure but that just wouldn't really be true. While I have several friends who also don't drink very often, or at all, there is still a portion who really enjoy that stereotypical student lifestyle which means they fail to understand why I might not. This means that even though they might not question me on my decisions directly, any time I do attend an evening out with them I seem to pressure myself into joining in on the drunken antics (Which of course involves getting VERY drunk). I get scared of being the alien, 'grandma', or simply left out, plus how many times can I deny somebody the wish of being drunk Laura, who apparently is a legend. Yes, drunk Laura can be a massive pain in the butt for me, but to others she seems to be absolutely hilarious and incredibly lovable. (I don't understand how that's any different from my normal self, but I won't think about it too much) So to stop myself from falling into this pattern I'm setting myself this challenge, a great chance to practice my awful lack of will power.

There have been several factors which led to  me making this decision:

1). I don't always like my drunk self.
Yes others might, but I no longer like the idea of holes in my memory or acting out of turn. No matter how friends might try to reassure me with 'Don't worry it was just funny' or 'But you were drunk'. It doesn't really put my mind at rest, I want to be in control of my actions and emotions.

2). I really really don't like hangovers. Like who does?

3). I lack the ability to say no, so need to set rules for myself. Plus this is my first real proper New Years Resolution, and everybody should have at least one, right?

4). I'm attempting to lead a healthy lifestyle, which doesn't really work if I go out and get completely smashed, binge on Dominos, cheesy chips and spend 3 days nursing migraines. Alcohol is effectively poison so I just don't really want to put it in my body any more.

5.) I simply don't need to drink, so why should I?

I hope this post doesn't come across in the wrong way. If you love drinking and are happy with that choice then go you! But if you tried Dry January, even if only for the week days, let me know about your experiences.

You can find out more about Dry January here, and all the work that Alcohol Concern do over here.

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