My friends had organised a night out to celebrate my birthday. I wanted to have a few beers in the new restaurant we were going to. So when we went to a cocktail place first I had a really nice non-alcoholic cocktail. My friends know I’m a lightweight when it comes to alcohol and can’t mix drinks so this was n’t a problem. They know I get bad hangover headaches even when I don’t drink too much.
My hangover headache lasts a week
We got to the restaurant which we were visiting for the first time. Great atmosphere, just one problem. They only had a wine license. No beer. This was really embarrassing for my friend who had thoughtfully organised the night out in my honour. All my close friends know I can’t drink wine because I get a massive hangover headache the next day. Red wine is particularly bad. A nuisance in many ways, but I believe my hangover problem has stopped me from having serious problems with alcohol. When your hangover problem lasts a week (yes, that’s my record) and makes you feel severely depressed with constant nausea & vomiting you tend to drink less.
But when I saw my friend’s upset face, that she had n’t checked the restaurant served beer I decided to have a glass of wine. Knowing I was only having a single glass, I said go for the red wine. My friends prefer red wine. So good humour restored, we had a really lovely enjoyable night.
I gave myself a hangover headache
The following day, after just a glass of red wine, I had a hangover headache which needed painkillers. I cursed myself for deciding to take the glass of red wine just so I would not upset my friend. I had n’t even enjoyed it. If I’m being honest, knowing my friend, once she saw me enjoying myself, her upset would not have lasted long and the slagging would have started. But like many women do, I went into people pleasing mode.
Why are n’t you drinking?
The following Friday, another big night out for a friends 50th birthday. (Yeah I’m at that stage now) I told another friend I could pick them up as I was driving. I was faced with a barrage of questions
“why are n’t you drinking”.
Because of the previous week’s lesson with the hangover headache, I did n’t go into people pleasing mode. That plus the fact I had a lot to do on the Saturday meant this time I stood my ground.
But it really struck me. How much alcohol is part of our lives. I don’t think any of my friends have an alcohol misuse problem. None of us are heavy drinkers. Yet, even in this group, I find myself constantly justifying not drinking.
Why are n’t you using grass?
“Alcohol is the only drug in the world where, when you stop taking it, you are seen as having a problem. The only drug in the work that you have to justify not taking”. (From Jason Veale) Nobody ever asks you why you are n’t using grass or ecstasy when you go out. Yet the harm of alcohol abuse far outweigh the harm of these other illegal drugs.
Should I just give up drinking?
Would it be easier if I just tell everybody I’m giving up drinking altogether? But I do enjoy an occasional beer, particularly with a meal so why should I?
I think I’ll try out a few of those non-alcohol beers, Lucy recommends and then decide.
Social life can make it hard to reduce drinking
So if you’re thinking of reducing your drinking, it’s really important to consider your social life.
Does your social life involve getting together over a few drinks and nothing else? For many of us Irish, that’s the entirety of our social life. So you may need to plan different social activities which don’t involve drinking.
We’ll have a course on this shortly so sign up here, if you’d like to know when it comes available.