Last year I wrote a post about how badly alcohol can damage the liver. This post is a bit of a follow up of that. So if you would like to catch up on the old post, please click on the button below. Then don’t forget to come back and read this. 🙂
Are you up to date now? Good, then let’s continue. It has been seven years now since all that happened and my life has changed completely. The thing is, like many people I used to drink because I thought it helped and made me feel better. But what you just don’t realise until you stop drinking is that things aren’t actually as bad as alcohol makes them seem. They say that alcohol is a depressant and I used to think it was a load of rubbish. Of course it isn’t. But it is, it really, really is. The world seems a lot better through sober eyes. It has been seven years now since I last had a drink and I honestly never thought that I could go that long. Seven days used to feel like torture, never mind seven years. The thing is, when I realised that was what I had to do, when I had made my mind up, that was it. There was no going back. Plus physically and mentally I couldn’t let myself go back. This may have been my one chance of freedom and I had to take it. I was a blank canvas. Alcohol had consumed my life for so long, so when I stopped drinking I didn’t know who I was anymore. It was a scary thought, but it was also a very encouraging thought. I could be whoever I wanted to be, and make whatever I wanted of my life. As long as I didn’t ruin it or waste it again I was free to explore and create a new me and try to find the old me. The old me that I was before any of that happened. I wasn’t even sure if she still existed, but she did. She had just been overpowered by the dark side of me. The dark side of me that alcohol brings out and encourages. The dark side of me that I never want to see again.
The hardest part I would say is finding a new routine and a new way of doing things. This takes a lot of time and patience, and to start with it feels horrible. But that feeling will pass and you will learn to live and function in a new way. I didn’t want a drink, I knew that much. But I didn’t know what I did want. I didn’t want any of these alcohol free lagers or anything like that because I didn’t ever want to taste anything remotely like it again. That craving for the taste of it had gone and I was used to it not being there. I was worried that even some of these drinks would set me back. The smell of wine makes me feel sick even today. So even if I did want a drink, my body knows better and I don’t think I could handle it. I quite like that though. It’s like a back up plan. My own body won’t let me get to close to it because it knows I don’t really want it. One thing I did miss was the buzz that alcohol gave me. Now I get that buzz from coffee. I used to absolutely hate coffee, but since I have stopped drinking I have got quite into it. In some ways I have used it as a replacement, but not to the extreme that I drank alcohol, no where near. But if I’m feeling stressed or anxious about something I have a coffee. It helps me to feel more relaxed and takes the edge off whatever is happening. Not to the extent that alcohol did, it doesn’t block out feelings, but it helps slightly in the moment to make the situation easier to deal with. It does for me anyway. A good cappuccino makes everything better.
Even though I don’t have alcohol I still like to have a fancy looking drink. Mocktails are the best thing ever! This is a mock cocktail, with no alcohol in it, for anybody who doesn’t know. There are also alcohol free spirits available these days which I do quite like. I don’t think they actually taste like alcohol, so there’s no chance of me being tempted to have the real stuff. But they do have a lot of flavour and a kick to them, so I get the feeling that I sometimes miss from other drinks. So if you are looking at a mocktail menu and you see some expensive looking ones, don’t panic. You probably aren’t paying nearly ten pounds for a bit of juice. These alcohol free spirits are a similar price to alcoholic spirits. My favourite it Seedlip Garden 108. I like it with lemonade and a slice of lime.
Even though it has been seven years, I still have regular hospital appointments for my liver. I also have regular scans and blood tests. My liver function is normal now luckily, but it is still scarred from the past and always will be. But my consultant does seem convinced that as long as I stay off the alcohol then things should carry on going well.
Making the choice to stay completely alcohol free is one of the best decisions I have ever made. I have a life now, a life that I love. I see my friends fairly regularly, I volunteer for a charity, I have a boyfriend, I am closer to my family and I am grateful for every single day. For me, there is no fifty = fifty. I can’t have a drink when I want one and not when I don’t. That’s not because I wouldn’t drink sensibly now, it is mainly because of my physical health, my mental health, but also because I won’t let myself stand at the top of that slippery slope again. It is so easy to start going down without even realising. So it’s my choice to stay far away from the edge. I have to much to lose, and i won’t risk it.
It is the biggest change that i have ever had to make, but it’s definitely the best.
I had no professional support after coming out of hospital, but that’s not to say you should go it alone. If you need support to safely stop dronking then don’t be ashamed to ask your GP. Getting help is the first step towards a better future.
Xx ❤ xx