Today has been a challenging day. I spent a large portion of it laying naked on my bathroom floor, desperately trying to cool my sweaty skin by pressing against the cold tiles. My hands shook uncontrollably, my legs didn’t work as they should, I was starving but also couldn’t face even a mouthful of food. Today was a bad day, but not an unusual day.
It was of course the result of a heavy booze-filled Friday night. A friend’s birthday at the pub turned into an after party at mine and before we knew it the sun was coming up at 6am.
Friday is always a boozy night. A drink in the pub with colleagues is an obligatory end of week tradition. The problem is there’s no work on Saturday, so rather than go for one or two and head home, a third, fourth, fifth drink is bought, someone pipes up about going out with their mates, everyone considers going along, more drinks are bought, phone calls are made, second pub, drinks, tube somewhere, pub, more drinks, new pub, house party… Cue death on Saturday.
It’s fun. Talking rubbish over lots of glasses of wine while chain smoking feels like a brilliantly liberating and enjoyable thing to do at the time. It’s only when the day after hits that you realise you can barely remember what you talked about and suddenly it all seems a lot less worthwhile.
I’ve got to be honest though, i’ve had enough. My hangovers now leave me feeling like a heroin addict drying out, and I have an almost weekly heart attack checking my bank balance. Hangovers also give me the worst anxiety; as I lay in bed with my head over my bucket, my mind wanders to the possibility that i’ll give myself liver or lung cancer and die an early death all because i’m a “good time girl”.
You see, for as long as I can remember i’ve been a “good time girl”. When I was a teen i’d get wrecked with my friends at parties, at 18 i’d go to clubs and get completely shitfaced, always ending up sobbing in a toilet somewhere at the end of the night because alcohol used to make me so emotional. At university, partying went to a whole other level; i’m talking about regularly being up all night getting out of my head. Thankfully, the working world has meant heavy mid-week drinking is no longer a thing, but now at least one day at the weekend is a total write-off thanks to being virtually comatose from the night before.
I’m over it, I want to feel healthy, to not waste time feeling crap for one day of the week. I don’t want to throw money away paying £6 per glass of wine. I’m sick of drinking empty calories and waking up to an ugly, puffy face. I’m over it, i’m done, I just don’t want to do it anymore, but sadly it feels so unavoidable.
All of my friends, bar one, love to drink. London is a very drinks oriented place, if you’re going to see mates you’re probably going for drinks. My work friends all love the Friday tradition, quite honestly most of them are even boozier than me. It’s even virtually impossible to go out for dinner with friends without someone suggesting drinks afterwards, which of course the whole group rallies around, diligently following the leader to the extortionate bar next door. I’m a sociable person, a weekend spent cooped up indoors is not a weekend for me, but I wish we would socialise in ways that weren’t quite so self destructive.
London, and England generally, has a drinking problem. The British attitude to booze isn’t funny; we shouldn’t laugh at each other for getting blackout drunk and doing regretful things, yet we do. We are a nation of “take it too far-ers”. When i’m in my post-night out anxiety hole, I often type “hangover” into twitter and browse through other people’s pain, just to lessen my own and remind myself that drinking bottles of wine the night before is a normal thing to do, when really, it isn’t. Just because we all do it, doesn’t make it alright. But it’s a habit so hard to break it’s almost not worth trying. Nobody wants to be the sober fun-sponge heading home at 10pm on a Saturday night.
Really, all I can do is try to not take it too far. I wouldn’t want to go sober, because occasionally it’s good to have a drink, get tipsy and have a good natter in the pub, but it’s never good to binge drink for the best part of 12 hours. I just have such bad habits, I hate not having a drink in my hand, and when out with a group my boyfriend and I will often do rounds. He is 6ft and some 35kg heavier than I, it’s no wonder I can’t string a sentence together by the end of the evening.
From this point forth, I aim to not take it too far. To remember it’s ok not to have a drink in my hand.. I’d like to say this is the start of a new chapter for me, but we all know breaking a habit of a lifetime is never easy. Well, if it’s in writing, i’ve got to do it, right?