I Know My Drinking Limits Now

How I decided to drink again

Photo by Matthieu Joannon on Unsplash

I gave up drinking almost two years ago. Well, excessive drinking. I wasn’t an alcoholic but like most twenty-year-olds, I drank to have fun. I got drunk almost every month. It was a part of my life. Too much a part of my life.

So I stopped drinking for a year. I did on the odd occasion have a glass of champagne or too but only the odd occasion.

I was an avid non-drinker. I avoided all alcohol and drank soft drinks when out with friends. The only exceptions I made were weddings or birthdays. Otherwise, I refused to ever indulge.

I am glad I did. Because it changed my relationship with alcohol from one of mild dependence to one of moderation.

I wasn’t an alcoholic I just wasn’t happy with the direction my relationship with alcohol was heading

I didn’t need to go to rehab. I wasn’t drinking as soon as I woke up. And I didn’t drink every day but I still drank a lot. Every weekend. And I still got the odd hangover. Which I hated.

So I decided to go one month solid without drinking and one month turned into many more months. And I am so happy I did. Because it drastically changed how I felt about alcohol.

I learned many things

I learned that I don’t need alcohol to have fun. There are so many fun things to do that don’t involve alcohol. I learned that I could address my feelings and feel things without needing alcohol to take away my anxiety or stress.

I learned I was more than capable of living a sober life. A better life. Full of joy and happiness. I learned alcohol doesn’t bring me much happiness at all. It made me more anxious and not less.

I learned a clear head is better than a hungover one. I learned to deal with life on my own terms without relying on alcohol to make it more ‘fun’.

And most importantly I learned my limits.

I started drinking again

Last year during Lockdowon, my partner and I opened a bottle of wine we had been saving for a special occasion. Not that Covid was anything to celebrate. But we needed some cheering up. We had a glass and it was nice. I didn’t drink in Lockdown again, the South African government banned all alcohol sales so we couldn’t buy it anyway, and I also didn’t feel the urge to drink.

I have lost the strong desire to drink. The cravings I used to have.

Then we moved to the wine-making region of South Africa. Where there are breathtaking wine farms and the best wine in the world, one of our sauvignon-blancs was rated world number one. So it was hard to not have some wine. We spent many a beautiful weekend surrounded by the most stunning scenery, sipping on a delicious glass of wine.

It was magical. And it made Covid a lot easier to bear. Thankfully cases were very low in South Africa at that point, so life was almost ‘normal’.

So I started to drink more. And once or twice I drank too much, although never enough for a horrendous hangover. But just enough to feel not so great. And it was a sharp reminder of how alcohol can leave you feeling slightly off the following day and why I stopped drinking in the first place.

I pushed my limits and quickly decided I wasn’t going to push them again.

Now I know my limits

I drink wine now. I drink some cider too but I never get drunk. I don’t need to. I don’t drink as a means of dealing with life nor do I drink as an activity.

I drink because it tastes good and feels good to have the odd glass of wine. I can have one glass of wine and feel satisfied. I can have one cider and stop there. I know some people can’t.

But I now have a healthy relationship with alcohol. I don’t overindulge. I drink a glass of wine or two when I feel like it. Which isn’t very often. I don’t drink every day. And I could easily not drink for a month or two.

I don’t need alcohol. But sometimes I do want some. And that’s ok.

Everything in moderation.

Alcohol can be a demon but I don’t want to live a life where it has any control over me. I want to be able to enjoy it.

Life is meant to be enjoyed. And a glass of bubbles or wine on the odd summer evening is a great way to enjoy life.

I am a Lawyer, Writer, Reader and Traveller. From Johannesburg, South Africa. I am writing to find my voice. Fortune favours the brave.

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