Open Letter to Anyone Thinking of Giving up Booze this January

I’m 37 years old and have struggled with depression, anxiety and the odd panic attack throughout the last twenty years of my life. My nerves frequently got the better of me, and my obvious lack of confidence in work and social situations held me back and prevented me from fulfilling my potential for many years. If you had asked me to describe my personality a couple of years ago, I would have responded with a jumbled, insecure answer; unsure of who I really was, full of pretence as to the person I wanted to be, knowing that inside I didn’t particularly like myself but not fully realising how to change. All of that stopped when I quit drinking alcohol in April 2011.

The dawn of a new you?

The dawn of a new you?

If you have a sneaky suspicion that alcohol is controlling you a little more than you feel comfortable with then read on – this may be the first step you have subconsciously wanted to take for a long time.

If you binge drink and subsequently get drunk a lot you will, whoever you are, occasionally make an idiot of yourself. You will say stupid things, have unnecessary arguments, fall over, lose your phone or handbag, text someone who you really shouldn’t, make sexual advances towards a person who is, how shall I put this..? Not quite at your usual standard. You may even put your safety at risk, walking home late at night alone, slightly wobbly, looking like an easy target for an attacker, or drink so much that you are sick after you have fallen asleep. Every time that you wake up the morning after a session where one or several of the above have occurred, your self esteem will take a bit of a battering. Multiply those beatings by each weekend/night/day that you binge drink and you will appreciate that your self respect and esteem are being severely and negatively affected by alcohol.

Alcohol depresses the central nervous system. Physiologically, that anxiety and nervy disposition that you, as a regular binge drinker, have probably noticed is increasing with age, is down to booze. When I drank, I had frequent panic attacks, the last one being so severe that I thought I was dying. I had to walk out of the packed cinema in which I was trying to watch The King’s Speech, because I was fighting to breathe. It was hours later until I regained my normal composure, and days until I fully recovered from the fright and trauma that I suffered as a result of thinking that I was on my way to meeting my maker. The reason behind this anxiety attack was that I had drunk too much beer the night before.

For years I pinballed between unsuitable relationships; one boyfriend would have the physical attributes I was looking for, but not the mental compatibility. I would dump the first one and jump straight in to another union with someone who had the brains and emotional energy I was after, but who, after time, I had no physical connection with whatsoever. I couldn’t be alone. My depression and low self esteem meant that I constantly needed the reassurance of being in a relationship just to feel wanted and loved. I was incapable of loving myself. Alcohol kept me from being in a happy and balanced relationship with a person who loves me as much as I love them.

Drinking put me in a perpetual state of either a) being drunk or b) being hungover. Neither of these conditions is conducive to a productive, fulfilling life. My career, financial wellbeing and physical fitness were all below par (by a long way) when I drank. I am not a lazy person but I never achieved much during the years in which I got drunk. Since giving up drinking, my achievements just keep on growing each week – in turn this boosts my self esteem and belief in what I am capable of. And so I keep on achieving and aiming higher.

Without drink in my life, my self esteem has been restored; my anxiety and narcissistic tendencies have vanished, and guess what? I like myself! And the natural conclusion to that, of course, is that other people like me more too. I have finally found a man who I think is perfect (for me, at least), and we have a wonderful family life which I value above anything else. I am running regularly and have a 10k race (my second in three months) coming up at the end of February. My relationship with my eldest daughter (at that tricky teenage stage) is great, and we are very close. I have bags of energy, and squeeze masses in to each and every day. I never stay in bed, idling away those precious hours that I could be spending on accomplishing something worthwhile. My skin and general appearance have improved, my eyes are bright and I don’t have to fight to keep a beer belly at bay. I am happy. The happiest I have ever been in my life, and this is down to one simple factor – I gave up booze.

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8 thoughts on “Open Letter to Anyone Thinking of Giving up Booze this January

  1. Jen says:

    Thanks so much for this. Sounds very similar to my story! Who knew life could be so much better without alcohol.. Happy New Year!

    • Hi Jen, thanks for that. Happy New Year to you too – I know what you mean, if someone had ever tried to tell me how much happier I would be minus the booze I would have laughed. I am grateful almost every day that I threw caution to the wind and went for sobriety. Thanks again and all the best, Lucy x

  2. Congratulations on your decision, your sobriety and the new you. What a battering your self-esteem has taken. Well done on your progress so far, and I am sure there is lots more wonderful in the future for you now you are on this journey.

    • Thank you for this. Yes my self-esteem was pretty rubbish a couple of years ago, although it’s coming together a bit now! It’s amazing what a difference no booze will make to your mental health – wish I had done it years ago 🙂
      Thanks, Lucy x

  3. Thank you. I’m only 5 weeks in, but I am astounded at what a difference it’s made. Who knew? It genuinely never occurred to me that my anxiety was so intrinsically linked to booze. I was in the kitchen tonight, trying to identify a new feeling and it hit me. I think I might have self esteem! Not elation because a man’s been nice to me or because I feel skinny, but just because I know i’ve had yet another great non-bullshit day with lovely friends, I’ve enjoyed being with my kids and I think I’m probably alright. I googled alcohol and self esteem and I landed here. x

    • Hi, I had a few of these moments too when I first gave up alcohol! It’s as though someone has shown you a wonderful side to life that nobody ever told you about before. Glad you found Soberistas, and I hope you continue to feel fantastic now that you have kicked the booze.
      All the best, Lucy x

  4. Traveller says:

    I never had an addiction. But I promised myself to NEVER again wake up with hangovers or place myself in unwanted situations because of alcohol. 100% profit.

  5. Nina says:

    Seven weeks AF, and I am really starting to appreciate the benefits of giving up alcohol. I feel so much better, both physically and mentally. It feels like a new lease of life!

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