“I’m not naturally outgoing and I’ve always found social events and groups to be quite daunting. When I was at university, I started having a few drinks before going out in the evening, which I believed took the edge off my social anxiety, and helped me to be more chatty and fun in company.
I thought that alcohol made me a better version of myself — a social butterfly, or the life and soul of the party.
There was a trade-off though.
I nearly always felt unwell the next day and quite often had a nagging sense of regret over some of the choices I made when I was drunk.
I remember one time I came home very late at night and woke up my elderly neighbour by singing and shouting in the close with my friends. I thought it was harmless at the time — just having a laugh — but a few days later my neighbour told me that she’d been really frightened by all the commotion. I was horrified.
Then a few years ago, I saw a video from a wedding party I’d been at, and it really made me re-evaluate the effects of my drinking. I’d been tipsy at this wedding, but not ‘falling down’ drunk and I thought I’d been on top form.
But the video showed an obnoxious lout, making crass, insensitive remarks and loudly mocking people. I knew it was me, but it was like looking at a stranger. I also saw the faces of my relatives, including the bride, looking embarrassed and disappointed at my behaviour.
That’s when I decided to change.
I didn’t drink alcohol at all for nearly two years after that, and I felt so much better for it. I still felt a bit anxious in social groups, but I reassured myself with the knowledge that I was fully in control of how I presented myself and what I did. That became more important to me than seeming naturally confident.
I’ve had a few occasions in the last year or so where I’ve had an alcohol drink — but I’ve always limited myself to one. I don’t ever want to be that version of myself that I saw on the wedding video.
That’s not the real me.”
Did You Know?
Dumbarton Area Council on Alcohol provides 1–1 counselling support, groups and activities to help reach your drinking goal — you set the goal and choose what works for you.
Call 01389 731456 or 0141 9520881 or pop into our offices at Westbridgend Lodge, Westbridgend, Dumbarton G82 4AD or 82 Dumbarton Road, Clydebank G81 1UG.
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