It’s been 106 days since the last drop of alcohol swirled through my lips, across my taste buds and into my system. 105 days since I was left in a pit of despair with a horrible hangover and a world of self loathing for once again letting the demon liquid invade me. For years, alcohol had played a role in my everyday life. Even in my early days of everyday drinking I knew I was heading into dangerous territory. It was never something I was proud of, but I managed to convince myself that drinking was normal and that everyone did it.
Alcohol is fed to us through movies and TV shows as a cure all. As something that miraculously makes you feel the way you “wish” you felt. Whatever you’re searching for, be it taking the edge off a hectic day, tapping into your more creative side, or maybe a little extra charisma – to help you feel more interesting or attractive to others, be it physically or mentally. Alcohol is offered as a solution and people are buying in, I was buying in! The reality is rarely presented. We’re not shown the horribly embarrassing scenario’s that would, no doubt ensue, if people in films or on TV were to ingest the quantity of alcohol they’re perceived to be consuming. No, instead (apart from a few exceptions – usually laugh out loud comedies) we are presented with smart, successful, entertaining scenarios where people are often the life of the party and are almost always in control. This perception needs to be broken and we need to understand that alcohol is not a magical elixir that will transform us.
I’ve heard people say, alcohol allows me to be the real me. No, it doesn’t! If you drink alcohol, glass after glass, you are not in control. You are tipsy, or drunk, it is the alcohol talking, not the ‘real’ you. Sure, a glass or two may allow you to feel less inhibited. It does not ever make you more ‘yourself’. It allows you to masquerade as someone else for a bit. The more you let it do this, the more convinced you become that you need it to be this version you think you are, of yourself. You can get to this place without alcohol. At first it can take a little longer, but being your authentic self, without the mask of alcohol is so much more interesting and attractive, and you’re at no risk over teetering on the edge of becoming a horrible version of yourself. A version that if you have ever questioned how much you drink, you have no doubt witnessed yourself become. The last 105 days have taught me that finding your authentic self is so much more rewarding than searching for it in a bottle.