I’m not going to being this post by promising you guys any more ‘New Year, New Me‘ bullshit. However, I do have a few goals that I want to achieve/ stick to for this year. So in my annual tradition, I’m sharing them here on the blog. I will say that last year’s post of my New Years Resolutions was very, very, very optimistic. ‘Train for a Marathon’? Did I really think I was going to have time to do that whilst starting an MA, a job, running a blog and YouTube? Ha!
It’s safe to say that this year I’m going to be a lot more realistic. In fact, I only have one Resolution that I absolutely want to stick to. I’m posting it here to try and work through in my own head why I want to do it. And also because I know my friends sometimes read my blog and I need their help sticking to it.
For 2018 I have goals such as; pass my MA, work harder on my blog, start working out again and not because I’m unhappy with my body but because I actually really love working out. These are all resolutions that pop up every year with differing amounts of enthusiasm and this year they’re taking a back seat to one Resolution that I really want to achieve.
For 2018, I really really want to stop drinking alcohol. In fact, I need to stop.
Last year I watched this video by Lucy Moon that popped up on my timeline on Twitter. It was the first time I’d ever seen a video from Lucy and it resonated with me in a way that other video’s have not. I’d highly recommend giving it a watch if this post interests you. To begin, I have a confession; I’m a horrid person when I’m drunk. Terrible. I’m not an alcoholic, but I can often be a bad person whilst drinking. It’s not that I need to drink, it’s that I can be such a bellend when I do. It’s not all the time, in fact its rare. But it’s enough.
My drinking had never been monitored before University so that when I moved away I had absolutely no gauge on how much drink I could handle, what was healthy and what was lethal.
Alcohol is everywhere. Absolutely everywhere. Whenever I go to someone’s house, or to a party, or go out for dinner with family or to an event, alcohol is there. When I moved away to University, alcohol was everywhere and in such huge, huge amounts. My drinking had never been monitored before University so that when I moved away I had absolutely no gauge on how much drink I could handle, what was healthy and what was lethal. I’m lucky in that I’ve never had a serious health problem as a result of drinking. I’ve never had to go to hospital and I know a lot of people who have sadly been in that state. But I definitely do have a problem with alcohol, even if it isn’t alcoholism.
University was the first time I was ever responsible for every part of my life. I was responsible for my friendships, my eating, my drinking, my health, my finances where previously I hadn’t really been responsible for anything. At University in the UK you’re expected to go wild for Fresher’s week. You’re expected to drink copious amounts, have lots of sex and just get up to no good. If someone doesn’t drink at University it’s an anomaly. I drank the same amounts as everyone else and attended the same events but my response and handling of alcohol on occasions was so different from my friends.
It’s hard to make people understand a situation they’ve never been in. A lot of the time I’ll describe this and people will say ‘we all get like that’ ‘everyone’s had bad night’s out’ and whilst that may be true, it isn’t the same.
During my first year of University I never had an incident where alcohol was concerned. I had a great First Year and made some fantastic life-long friends. In my second year I was an unkind idiot one night that resulted in me pissing off my housemates (and for good reason) and left me feeling so embarrassed about my actions. In a nutshell, sometimes I can’t control myself when I drink and I will snap. It’s not a result of any underlying problem or emotion. It’s not even logical. I’ll get to a certain stage in the evening where something won’t go to plan and I’ll snap and just be so, so unkind to people I care about. Or, it’ll leave me alone in a situation that is very unsafe such as wandering off in a city. My actions leave me feeling so ashamed and so guilty the next day when I realise what I’ve done and I have to pick up the pieces. Or when I realise I put myself in a situation that could have been dangerous. But during that time I simply just will not be myself at all. I’ll have no control over my actions or thoughts and it’s like some horrid monster has taken over me. The person I am during that time is so disconnected from who I am regularly that, in the aftermath, I feel stunned at myself. I accept full responsibility for how I act when I’m like that and don’t want to seem as though I am shifting blame but during I’m so out of control. For anyone who has had to deal with me like that, I am so so sorry. For anyone who is like that, you’ll understand.
It’s hard to make people understand a situation they’ve never been in. A lot of the time I’ll describe this and people will say ‘we all get like that’ ‘everyone’s had bad night’s out’ and whilst that may be true, it isn’t the same. I think this is why I’ve been put off giving up alcohol for so long because for so long I thought this was normal. It isn’t, it’s a problem. Problems with alcohol certainly aren’t reserved for men who brawl at pubs or people who start regularly drinking at 10am. They can and do happen to everyone but alcohol is so prevalent in our society that it’s seriously hard to discover that it’s an issue. When you do realise it, the shame you feel is so incredibly heavy because you know how much stigma is attached to the phrase ‘I have an alcohol problem’ and how many questions are followed by the statement ‘No, I don’t drink.’ More to the point that just because you don’t drink, doesn’t mean you aren’t fun. In fact, if you think that drinking is so closely connected to how much fun you are as a person then you have a massively messed up view of fun and in suggesting that people can’t be fun if they don’t drink you contribute to people’s alcohol problems.
When I moved to L.A alcohol wasn’t everywhere all the time. I was 20 so my access to alcohol was revoked which was quite strange. I couldn’t walk into a store and buy a bottle of wine to enjoy with my friend on a movie night. But, of course, there were parties and booze occasionally and I, of course, drank. I still haven’t been so idiotic as that night during my 2nd year of Uni but the fear of messing up so badly again that I would have to endure those feelings of guilt and possibly could ruin some of the relationships with the people I cared about still hits me the next day.
Yet, even though I knew I could sometimes be a crappy, unkind drunk I still never gave up drinking. I also knew I couldn’t ‘just have one drink’ or ‘go home at midnight’ because most of the time I would be having an amazing time and be so happy I’d never want to leave. But there was and is always the sinister undercurrent of ‘What if I snapped last night? Who would I have hurt just for one night of drinking? My boyfriend/ best friend/ my family?’ I’m happy that most of my friends won’t know I can be an unkind drunk (and I don’t just mean a dramatic drunk which all of us are sometimes guilty of, I mean an unkind drunk), because they’ve never seen that side of me. It’s gotten to the point where I feel like I need to be more responsible and understand that whilst it hasn’t happened with everyone, it could. Very easily and it just isn’t worth risking my friendships for a drink.
So for 2018, I’m going sober. I’m hoping it could even save me money but I’m also hoping it’ll save me from being an unkind person which honestly matters the most to me. To my friends who know me well and who see me often and who invite me to parties, I’d love your help in this because having a drink is so easy and so tempting that it’s a real slippery slope. I hope you can understand my decision, even if you haven’t seen it for yourself first hand.
I hope everyone has the best 2018, please let me know your New Years Resolutions down below! I’d love to know if you have the same one as me.
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