To be told as a 24 year old you can never drink alcohol again is a pretty big shock to the system, but in November 2015, that’s exactly what I was told by my psychiatrist.
As most people my age, I did enjoy going out with the girls on the weekends; getting dressed up and having a few glasses of wine and a dance about. It’s only when I look back now that I realise how dangerous alcohol really was for me…and how good it is for me to have it out of my life for good.
I still remember when my doctor told me I couldn’t drink anymore, ‘That’s it Laura. Never again.’ he said, ‘No more alcohol. Not even a toast on your graduation, and especially not your wedding day; because ultimately, it could kill you.’ And you know what, as grave as it sounds, that was the top and bottom of it, it could.
I didn’t have a drinking problem, far from it. Yes I liked to go out with the girls, and at one point in my life I probably went out a little too often. But I had curbed that habit. The ‘right now’, I went out maybe once a month, I had changed so much in my life, going out every so often was the little bit of ‘normal’ I still had that my bipolar hadn’t gotten a hold of and made me change yet.
But alcohol changed me. It sent me on such a high, making me so hyper, running about like a daft’un to a point people thought I was on more than just alcohol. Which might have been fine, to me. But it wasn’t fair on my friends who had to keep an eye on me to check where I was running about to. They’re nights out aren’t for babysitting Laura…
And then came the days after the night before’s, and that’s when it got dangerous for me…because what goes up, must come down. And didn’t I half come down. I didn’t get hangovers as such, but alcohol used to send me into a depressive state the next few days after a night out that it could very often spiral out of control. Many a times I often ended up, unfortunately, in a dangerous situation, simply because of a depressive that (I now see) could have triggered originally by the on set of alcohol.
This of course didn’t happen every time I drank, and not even necessarily after a particular heavy drinking session. There was no pattern to it. Which is why I never picked it up sooner. My parents and wider family did try to ask me to stop drinking many a time, but I always just laughed it off. It wasn’t until the reality check from my psychiatrist of the danger of what the alcohol was doing to me and my bipolar; making me more impulsive and triggering me, often in dangerous ways, that I realised that I had to listen, if I wanted to live.
I left that doctors room and I cried my eyes out.
Never again is an awfully long time.
But I knew I had to do it. It was as simple as that. I didn’t think it was going to be easy, but I’m a pretty determined person when I put my mind to it, so I knew I’d give it a pretty good go.
13 months later and not a single drop of alcohol has touched my lips since. It’s been surprisingly easier than I expected. I still go on nights out, I’ve been on a family holiday and brought my best friend along and we stayed out and danced all night. It’s just been another lifestyle change I’ve had to get used to with my bipolar disorder; like taking medication every day, for example.
I’ve honestly never felt better since eliminating alcohol. I don’t lose days and days after a night out. My anxiety is barely there. I don’t embarrass myself on nights out anymore. I save myself a lot of money from not drinking!
Yes, a lot of people pull their faces when I tell them I don’t drink, but I can cope with that for how much better I feel in myself!
If anyone is thinking of trying go to sober for a little while, I highly recommend it, its been amazing for me. My next blog post I’m going to write about how I’ve managed to do it for the last 13 months, and hopefully that will be able to give you all some pointers, should you want them!
Thank you for reading, I know it’s been a bit of a heavy one, but I just wanted to share with you the story behind why I don’t drink anymore!