The beginning of my alcohol-free student life
It’s only been a week but SpunOut.ie volunteer Michaela feels all the better for avoiding alcohol
Written by Michaela Deane
Voices - Experiences
Young people share their personal experiences.
My reaction to drinking
This is going to seem like a really strange post for an 18-year-old college student to be writing, especially because right now I should be in bed nursing a hangover, not writing a blog post with a clear head. But the title is pretty straightforward: I’m going to stop drinking alcohol. Don’t get me wrong; I’m not exactly a big drinker to start with. Being in college I drink once a week, maybe twice at the maximum, and when I’m at home I don’t drink at all. I don’t have a great reaction to alcohol. Quite frankly I got sick of it.
Drinking has never really been something that I “enjoyed” doing, which made me feel a little odd because I should probably enjoy going out and getting drunk like most other people my age. But I don’t, it just doesn’t agree with me and I don’t like the effect that it has on me. After a night of drinking I’m always tired, feel sick and just want to lounge around and eat junk food. Pretty normal, right? It is, but when you mix it with anxiety it’s just an even more lousy experience. The morning after a night out I usually wake up in a panic. Whether I’ve had one drink the night before or loads, I’m always in a state from the moment I wake up and the first thing I do is frantically search my bag. I have to make sure that I have my purse, my phone, my keys. And of course I always do, but God forbid if I ever lost any of my things I’d probably have a panic attack for a day straight.
Once that’s over and done with, I start to retrace my steps from the night before and over-analyse them. This is where the real frustration begins. I’m always convinced that I’ve made an idiot out of myself, or that I’ve done something stupid. I start to think, “Oh God, what’s everyone going to think of me?” and sometimes this is so bad that I avoid everyone I went out with for a few days until I’m sure they’ll have forgotten about these embarrassing things that I’ve done. Keep it in mind that these embarrassing things are probably as simple as me tripping over in my six-inch heels, something that happens to everyone. But for me it feels like the end of the world, and I completely blow it out of proportion. Even if nothing that’s potentially reputation crushing has happened on the night, I’ll convince myself that it has and I’ve just forgotten about it.
Sometimes I think this is even worse, because it then becomes a struggle to walk downstairs to the shop or go to a lecture for fear of seeing somebody who saw me the night before. What’s even worse is when this happens after a Tuesday night, because I then have to spend the rest of the week in this state. So I decided to make a change. Yes I enjoy my nights out with the girls, but the amount of anxiety that it brings the day after just isn’t worth it. This week I decided that the alcohol needed to go, my happiness and well being on a daily basis is much more important to me than having fun for a night. I don’t know why I didn’t decide to do this sooner, because I’m perfectly capable of having fun without alcohol. I’ve just finally accepted that this is making my anxiety worse, and I want to stop it. So this week, I started my drink-free college life, and guess what? I loved it.
Drink-free college life
Usually by Friday I’m dying to go home and feel exhausted and crappy from the night before, but this morning I feel happy and refreshed. I went to all my lectures with a clear head, and even that improved my anxiety by showing myself that I was learning new things and actually taking them in. I spent my money for going out on an appointment with a psychic medium, and the amount of positivity and happiness that I got out of it was worth every penny.
But just because I wasn’t drinking doesn’t mean that I couldn’t go out and have fun. On Thursday I went to a house party with one of the girls, and left before they headed off to the nightclub because I had an early start the next day and was wrecked. I had a good time, and I didn’t need alcohol to do that. By not wasting my money on alcohol, I was a happier person this week. I may be a little quieter and maybe a little more boring without alcohol in my system, but who cares? I feel one hundred times better, and that’s all that matters.
A positive move
Some people are probably wondering, why the hell is she blogging about this? Well, because I think it’s a positive move. It’s something that I’m sure a lot of anxiety sufferers hate dealing with, and I want to show them that it’s a much better scenario when you keep away from alcohol. I want to show people that you can enjoy college life without drinking, and that it’s not a necessity. And I think posting this online and keeping it updated will motivate me to keep doing the student life alcohol-free. It’s kind of a social experiment if anything; I want to see how much my anxiety improves without alcohol interfering. Even after just a week, I feel a lot better. It’s made me want to keep going and see how much of alcohol really does contribute to my anxiety.