Almost 18 months ago I made the decision to cut back on my drinking. I didn’t want to give up completely, but I did want to cut back. Vodka and I had been best friends forever (BFF) for a long time, but it got to the point where I knew that something had to give. The relationship wasn’t working anymore, it had become toxic.
I haven’t really talked about this decision with too many people. I didn’t want the self enforced guilt of feeling like I was doing the wrong thing when having a drink. I’d been down that road before and it wasn’t a place I wanted to go again.
In the 12 or so months leading up to my decision, my drinking had steadily gotten worse. I went from having a few drinks on a Friday night to polishing off 5-6 drinks every single night, sometimes a lot more. My anxiety had kicked into overdrive, and I thought that I could squash the feelings with vodka.
Like many before me, I told myself that it wasn’t a big deal at the time. I was having fun, kicking arse and getting shit done…sort of. I completely wrote myself off on a regular basis and would spend days recovering. I played with fire and regularly got burnt.
Slowly I began to realise that the anxiety wasn’t going away with the drinking. In fact the more I drank, the longer the anxiety stuck around. I berated myself for days after a binge session for the things that I might have said or done. Even though I was surrounded by friends or family, still I berated myself.
Things changed and I became a snarky, depressed drunk. I wasn’t having fun anymore. I was nasty, blanketing my anxiety underneath anger. The drinking made me want to escape, I just wanted to leave.
The turning point for me, and I’d had opportunities before but none of them had the slap in the face this one did, was when I listened and I just walked away. Paul and Mr 6 were asleep in the house. I’d had a bad day and I wanted to drink on my own. I got two blocks away before I realised the impact of what I was doing and I turned around.
It was the next morning that I decided that enough was enough. I needed to stop using vodka as a crutch when I knew it was making things so much worse. I didn’t completely swear off alcohol, but I knew that I didn’t want to be in that position again. I realised that I was using alcohol to harm myself.
Today, 18 months later I still enjoy the company of vodka but we are no longer best friends. I know the toxic nature that it can create in me so I know that we can longer be more than acquaintances. We still party occasionally, but I can also stop at 1. I won’t let it have that kind of hold over me.
I have. I was a big bourbon drinker. Tall glasses with half bourbon half coke. My body made me stop though. It got to the point that it made me sick. But I was dependent. I don’t like feeling sick anymore. Now I have my Killawarra Strawberry Infused “champagne” of a Friday and Saturday night and that’s it. Except for cocktails on holidays. That’s a given …
Congratulations on such a huge effort. Thankfully you were able to come to that realisation without intervention or needing more physical help. Watching a loved one use a substance for escape isn’t easy, and sometimes intervention is needed. Thankfully you are able to drink in moderation now. While it can’t be easy, there are people who aren’t able to and I think it can br harder for them to stop as they know they cannot touch it again or they spiral back out of control. Stay strong. You are doing well. And thank you for sharing.
Good for you! That’s fantastic. I also think it’s good not to talk too much about it (prior) because it puts unnecessary pressure on you. That goes for everything from digital detox, diets, fitness – anything at all. But 18 months in, high five!
I can’t drink much these days because (a) I live in fear of bringing on a migraine and (b) my metabolism has changed so I really can’t drive if I have more than 1 drink, or even a full drink!! (yes, it does suck to get old)
Good on you for making the change. I’ve only just started drinking again after a 14 year break. The reason for the break… pancreatitis. I would basically end up in hospital on a drip at the smell of a drink. The break has certainly cured me but I’ve had some massive drinking sessions lately (perhaps making up for lost time or pushing the envelope) that make me think I’m better off without it.
I had a partner who drank very heavily. I really didn’t notice because I joined in, several bourbons every night, a few beers, etc. until I realised I was stacking weight on, felt awful most mornings etc and stopped. I wasn’t dependant in the traditional way- stopping was super easy. That was when I noticed that he had a real problem. A liver test showed his was in a really bad way. He was ordered to stop for 30 days, then have another test on day 30. He waited until midnight in day 30, while I was in bed, to take himself to the local and write himself off. The dr told him he’d had cirrhosis by 40 if he didn’t stop. He didn’t and so I ended it. Good on you for taking back control and making a better choice for you xx
Bravo to you for recognising the problem and doing something about it. I can’t really drink more than one or two drinks at a time, because I feel sick and dizzy. But I do find myself wanting to have a drink with dinner most nights. But even moderate drinking is a no no in terms of increasing the risk of breast cancer, so I need to revert back to having a drink only on weekends. And I also need to kick my cake addiction. I know I joke about it and it’s become this cute thing about me, but it actually does feel out of control at times. I wonder if there’s Cakeaholics Anonymous? Anyway, I’m so glad you have a better relationship with vodka. That’s awesome.
I can only say that I admire you for the fortitude you are showing in admitting what was causing you health problems and that now you are doing what you can to manage this. I have no idea what it would be like to drink to excess (my word, not yours) because it has never interested me. Mind you, I have eaten much to excess. I wish you well. I think you have enormous strengths. Denyse x
Good on you for taking action when you recognised you needed to. I don’t have a dependence but I need to watch it because I do have an addictive personality (I was a smoker for many years but no more) and I do enjoy a wine or two at night. I make a conscious effort to not make it a daily thing to avoid any kind of dependence.
I go on and off of alcohol very easily. I think last year was a heavier year for me (but that’s probably a lot less than many people’s normal). This year I have had so few drinks; I’ve really gone off of it. Maybe a dozen drinks so far this year?
Habits are so hard to break, but breaking one that has an addictive element is really impressive. Good on you for realizing and being able to!
Good for you 🙂
I’ve definitely had a problem with alcohol before. I drank to forget, I drank to be happy. Honestly I just drank to feel something. I rarely drink nowadays after I realised what I was doing. Maybe one a month. Pretty sure my liver thanks me for it.
Well done for that effort Tegan, because I know how hard that would have been. I’ve never had a real drinking problem but for a while there I was having a couple of glasses of wine a night. That doesn’t sound like much but I could feel the pull of it and I felt my dependence on something that wasn’t actually helping me at all. So now I drink every now and then – not every night like I was before. And I definitely feel better for it. Thanks for sharing x
I haven’t, but well done to you for breaking up with vodka x
Good on you girl, I’m trying the weekday free thing, I think you’re right, it’s an easy habit to fall into!