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Do I Miss Drinking?

People often ask me if I miss drinking.

Sometimes I think that maybe I do.

When I have thoughts like these, I find it helpful to write down the things I think I miss about drinking, to figure out if I actually miss them.

When it comes to alcohol, there are three things I find myself feeling nostalgic about…

1. Being able to change my mood at the drop of a hat

There have been times I’ve been out socialising and felt triggered, depressed, or entirely left out.

Before I quit, I was the life and the soul of any party – anytime, anywhere. If I was feeling tired or down that day, I’d simply pick myself up, dust myself off, and have enough drinks to turn my mood around.

When you’re sober, you can’t do that. To a certain extent, you can cheer yourself up and do things to put yourself in a better mood, but sometimes you’re just not feeling it.

With our busy schedules, we often have to pencil each other in when it comes to socialising. This is great, from a planning perspective, but can be tough as a sober person. When you organise something a week in advance, you can’t know how you’re going to feel on that day, so in a sense you’re rolling the dice.

When I’m feeling bummed out at social events – not acting like my happiest, best self – I find myself feeling nostalgic about the old days.

However, I remind myself that it’s not always like this.

There are plenty of times when I am in a good mood, and I have a wonderful time socialising, and don’t think about drinking at all.

And sometimes trying to cheer myself up – whether that’s by having a snack, a cold shower, or putting on some happy music – does actually work, and I can turn the night around on my own without having to depend on booze.

I also remind myself it’s okay to not always feel great. It’s okay to need a night to yourself, soaking in the tub and reading your favourite book. Nobody is extroverted all of the time.

In any case, alcohol might have put me in a ‘good mood’ at first, but if I played the tape forward, it would always end in tears. So if I miss alcohol for putting me in a good mood, I should remember the truth: it usually did the opposite.

2. Being able to drown stuff out

The other thing I sometimes miss is being able to block out the bad stuff and dull down the outside world when feeling overwhelmed.

For me, alcohol did this in many, many ways.

If I was feeling something uncomfortable, I’d drink to make it go away. If I had a certain repetitive thought, I’d have a glass of wine, to make it go away. If I was overwhelmed in a loud crowd, I’d drink, to dull down my senses and make it go away.

Alcohol meant I was able to ignore the internal and external stimuli that made things overwhelming for me.

I am (and was back then) a very sensitive person, and struggle with being overstimulated from the inside and outside.

Alcohol was my best buddy because of that. Whatever I was faced with, I’d just get blitzed and make it disappear.

Whilst I sometimes find myself missing this, I remind myself that I have learned how to handle these things all on my own in the process of going sober.

I’ve learned how to manage my sensitivities and how to ground myself in overwhelming situations.

Of course, I’m not perfect, and this isn’t always possible.

So, I’ve also had to learn my boundaries, and find other ways to deal with overstimulation.

Maybe it would have been easier to deal with things using alcohol on the face of it, but I’m grateful to have learned other ways to cope.

It’s also meant that I’ve been forced to experience life in full, sober colour. Which, whilst hard, has been rewarding, rich, and full.

So, no, I don’t miss alcohol dulling things down for me.

3. Being blissfully ignorant about alcohol's role in my life and the world

Sometimes, more than the drinking itself, I miss being blissfully ignorant about drinking culture.

I miss not noticing that the world is obsessed with alcohol.

Once you see how alcohol-orientated everything and everyone is, you can’t unsee it.

Is ignorant bliss better than knowledgeable gloom?

Even in severe cases, I tend to think that the latter is better.

Even if it’s hard, brutal, and gloomy sometimes, I think I’d rather know than not know. I think it’s a good thing to face reality head on.

The knowing means knowing that excessive drinking isn’t good for me, that drinking culture isn’t pretty, and that it’s possible many people would be better off without alcohol.

Whilst this predicament might seem gloomy at first, over time you realise this newfound knowledge extends to more than just seeing alcohol for what it really is.

It extends to seeing life for what it really is – the bad and the good.

You can’t have one without the other, and there is something very beautiful about that.

When I'm not drowning out the bad stuff by drinking, I'm not drowning out the good stuff either.

So, do I really miss drinking?

When I really think about it, I’m not nostalgic about drinking itself.

I’m nostalgic about being able to change my mood at the click of a button… nostalgic about being able to dull down the noise of the world… nostalgic about being ignorant when it comes to alcohol.

But, in reality, I’m better off without all of those things.

It might be hard, but existing without those things has enabled me to grow into a fuller, happier person.

There are some things that were maybe, on the surface, ‘easier’ when I was drinking.

But just because something is ‘easy’ doesn’t mean that it’s good or that it makes your life better.

In fact, much of the time, the opposite is true.

If you’re feeling like you miss drinking, have an honest conversation with yourself.

What are you missing?

Is what your missing a good thing?

Did alcohol ever really help you with it?

Leave your answers in the comments below!

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