I’ve been drinking my entire adult life. Even after my partying 20s, I’d have at least a glass of something a night, every day of the week, without fail. Often more than one glass.
I told myself it was French, it was good for my heart, I wasn’t drinking to the point of a hangover, I didn’t have a problem. (I could honestly say that it wasn’t hard to give up…because I’d never tried to give it up.) But two things changed back at the beginning of November: My bottle of Zoloft told me DO NOT DRINK WHILE TAKING THIS MEDICATION and I thought, “Maybe I should stop ignoring that?”–and I realized that I wasn’t even enjoying my nightly drink. I was just drinking it because it was there, because I always had.
So I tried not drinking for a few days. Then for a week. Then for a month. Now I generally don’t drink, and never on the weeknights. I thought I was waking up stiff and creaky, with bags under my eyes and blackness in my heart, because I was old. Nope, it was the booze.
I sleep better, I look better (honestly, sometimes vanity keeps me from my allowed weekend drink, because I know it will make my face puffy and gray), and I feel so much happier in the mornings.
Recently, this essay has been making the rounds and it’s been my experience pretty much exactly. File this under “Things That Are Obvious But Make You Feel Like A Wizard,” like getting enough sleep and getting help for your mental issues–but not ingesting a poison every night really makes you feel great!
From “The Unifying Theory of Alcohol,” by Dan Kiernan:
I have no idea what it means to be the adult version of me without taking a drug that makes you depressed. […] I have walked a path of morning grouchiness my entire adult life without really being aware that it was something I was choosing to do.
I have also never been a adult without suffering some kind of mental health issue…Could there possibly be a link between my use of booze and perpetual anxiety?
[…] Giving up booze turned out to be incredibly easy once I thought of it not as denying myself something but as deciding not to regularly ingest a depressant. Above all it was a relief. When you home in on the absence of that grouchy feeling, not drinking makes you feel like a superhero. You wake up every morning and feel good. And if you remember how you used to feel waking up hungover that feeling of waking up with a spring in your step becomes incredibly addictive. Like happiness even.