13/08/2018 09:53 BST | Updated 13/08/2018 09:53 BST

Why I've Stopped Drinking For My Mental Health

I know I won’t wake with that feeling of despair and upset alcohol causes me

Witthaya Prasongsin via Getty Images

We have all been there; the morning after the night before. Slowly lifting your fuzzy head off of the pillow as you try and fathom out exactly how you got home. That feeling forms in the pit of your wishy washy stomach as you begin to realise there are parts of the night that you don’t remember. Worse still there are parts of the night you do remember and would rather forget.

Sadly for me these kind of mornings have been all too frequent and familiar. Black-outs, cuts and bruises and faint recollections of embarrassing behaviour. Behaviour that is the complete opposite of the person I am and strive to be every day. Drunk me.

My relationship with alcohol began as many others do; drinking with their friends at a park or at a friend with lenient parent’s house. I very quickly got the taste for it and loved the buzz and confidence boost it gave me. All of a sudden I no longer doubted myself and felt self-assured and, in my eyes, alcohol made me the fun, attractive and interesting person I wanted to be.

Fast forward to my 30s and that really wasn’t the case anymore. While I can go weeks even months without drinking, I found it had crept in on many of life’s every day situations whether it be stress or upset and of course, toasting happiness. I also relied on it for confidence in social situations. My downfall was never knowing when I had had enough. I wasn’t someone who knew my limit, once I had had a sip I was hooked on the buzz it gave me and I would drink and drink, sometimes until I passed out.

Aside from the fact I get atrocious hangovers now that leave me ill for days, I would get crushingly depressed the next day. Even if I had just had a few wines at home, I would wake the next morning feeling utter despair. My eyes would sting with tears and I couldn’t function. I would also wake several times in the night with heart palpitations as if I was on the brink of an anxiety attack or something terrible was going to happen.

I have gone long periods of time without drink before but always intended to go back to it whereas this time I know I don’t want to drink anymore. It is a poison, a depressant and I am better off without it. I will never be one of those people who can have a couple of drinks and be done with it, the need for that buzz and confidence boost it gives me is too ingrained.

The last time I had a drink I went on a date night with hubby where I had three large wines. We walked back and while he decided to have a soft drink when we got in, I opened another bottle of wine. I didn’t drink it all but probably had two more glasses before spilling the wine everywhere. I was annoyed and ashamed and cried as I drunkenly attempted to clean the stain out of the carpet.

The next morning the stain was gone but the feeling of despair and frustration and shame wasn’t. I decided that was it. I was working hard at every aspect of my health to ensure I improved my mental health each day; exercise, healthier eating, planning my days better and yet I was still binge drinking thinking it was okay when it did nothing but set me back and make me feel utterly horrid.

So that was that. I stopped. For good this time and I feel great. I don’t even care about going to social events and not drinking because I know that what I am doing is right for me and because of my mindset now, I know I am fun enough and good enough to enjoy these events sober and don’t need drink. It is lovely waking up hangover free and knowing I won’t waste the day or eat crap food and I don’t have to worry about if I have embarrassed myself.

More importantly I know I won’t wake with that feeling of despair and upset alcohol causes me.

Yep, sober life is pretty great.