A complicated topic this one, I think. I very rarely drink nowadays and to be honest I don’t really miss it but with the Christmas season coming up and the inevitable works Christmas party on the horizon I am feeling the pressure a bit more.
I’ve mentioned to my work colleagues that ‘I won’t be drinking at the Christmas party‘ during a conversion about ‘what we should drink on the train on the way there!‘ and I was met with, ‘once you have one you’ll want to drink‘ and ‘but your so much fun when you’re drunk‘ etc etc. Now don’t get me wrong I work with a good bunch of people and I know they respect my decision but it has highlighted to me that you are definitely going against the grain if you don’t drink.
So why is it such a taboo and why is our culture so focused on drinking as a social MUST to have fun?
Are we just all too nervous to relax in social situations otherwise or is it just the love of drinking away the realities of the world for a few hours (was that a bit deep?).
I’ve definitely used alcohol as a way to escape the realities of my life in the past. I drank massively to excess during my 20’s, partly due to my OCD but also partly because in our culture today it really is just the done thing.
Nowadays I don’t mind not fitting in, I know who I am and I am happy with that, I don’t need to conform but through my 20’s I was not confident. In fact I kind of hated myself a lot of the time (thank you OCD) and so I drank like everybody else.
There’s definitely a bit of dedication involved in not conforming but still partaking in life. It’s not healthy to cut yourself off from social situations completely to avoid drinking, especially if you suffer from mental health issues, being on your own is going to do you no favours (Obviously if you have a serious problem this could be different for you and you should get some help).
It is difficult as you can come across as being awkward or difficult a lot of the time. I hardly drink and I don’t eat dairy so I’m never having a bit of the birthday cake or sip of the celebratory champagne and occasionally I do feel like I’m being anti social but you just have to own it and enjoy the fact that you’ll be the one with the clear head in the morning.
I’m not sure whether I’ll ever completely give up alcohol but I think I’d like to. In the past I would have terrible memory loss after a night out drinking and that mixed in with false memory and magical thinking OCD was a very, very scary mix, especially if you don’t have a good mate to fill in the blanks for you. These are definitely days I’d happily leave in the past.
I know this sort of memory loss can be terrifying for people with OCD but there’s no way around it other then just not drinking. If you’re using alcohol to block out bad thoughts then I can tell you now that it’s only a short term fix and it will not work, but you probably already knew that didn’t you?
Recovery is a slow process but it’s worth it and things will start to get better I promise.
Stay Strong xxx