No one likes a story with no end so I thought I would post an update.
So what has happened in the last 5 years? Well, I passed my medical degree and I have worked as a few years as a doctor. I have gone through a painful breakup as well as many other normal things.
In regards to alcohol, am I still abstinent? Well the short answer is no.
The longer answer is, whilst I still do drink alcohol, my relationship with it is much better than it was before. Let me explain why. I used to binge drink and sometimes do this alone. Living with my aforementioned partner for 4 years (who did not drink very much at all) helped “force” me to drink in a more “normal” way for a few years. Now we have broken up and I am living alone, have I gone back to my destructive ways? No. There are a few reasons for this:
- Age – I think a lot of people don’t drink as much when they are past 30. Work, weekend plans and worsening hangovers temper a lot of people
- Experience – Even people who never want to stop drinking soon realise that it is harming their achievements in life as they watch the years slip away. People who carry on drinking abusively often tend to be obvious alcoholics once into their 30’s. Even those who cover it up realise deep down that they are unhappy about their relationship with alcohol
- Fitness – I have become a keen gym goer in the last few years (mainly weight lifting and some cardio) including periods where I have controlled my caloric intake in order to drop fat. Booze is full of calories and affects how fit you feel, which help me stay away.
- Maturity – I am now 32 years old. I no longer think that I am a funnier or more interesting person whilst drinking. I care a lot less about what other people think of me. This helps when going out as I don’t feel nervous and reach for a glass.
- The next day…. – As I have got older I no longer “just live for the moment” in the sense that I am aware that, no matter how great of a time I am having, it is a social event and I will wake up tomorrow. I also know now that it’s much better to leave at the peak of a party and have great memories, rather than stay and watch the night slowly become less and less fun.
- Health – A few years ago I got heart palpitations after alcohol. Enough said.
So how much do I drink now? Well I have periods where I do not drink for a week or two then I will go out and have 2-3 drinks with friends. I avoid “day drinking” and go for coffee instead. Big events (stag, new years etc) I will have 4ish drinks spaced over 6 hours. I roughly consume 10 units a week on average. It is much easier to have soft drinks spaced throughout the night than it used to be.
I now view alcohol like my fitness. There is no “start tomorrow”. Life is happening now and every decision I make will be part of that life. I also know that if my mental attitude changed, that I am still vulnerable to the ill effects of drinking too much, just as I did when I was younger.
Best of luck to everyone out there. If booze ever starts to take up too much mental energy I plan to stop completely rather than fight to stay “moderate”.