Cutting Back on Alcohol

A few weeks or so ago, I’d written about changing some things in my life. Today is Day 20 of no drinking/cutting back on alcohol. It was something I intended to do, but the losing my shit incident was a catalyst.

I started out being on antibiotics, which was a great way to begin my not-drinking voyage. I have to admit the first few days were tough, because I’d been working outside in the heat, and beer sounded great, but I knew the medication would have made me sick anyway.

Once I got through the first week, it wasn’t so bad. I started keeping myself busy working out or taking walks in the evenings. I went grocery shopping and ran errands during the times I would normally have gone to happy hour. It probably helped that I didn’t exactly have the money to be going out.

Week two was a success, however, I thought I would feel better. I haven’t felt that much better except that I didn’t have hangovers. I was tired, but in a different way; I felt exhausted. My appetite began to change, and I was cooking again, and I had more motivation mentally and could think clearer. Still, I had no energy for the most part (could very well have been due to the antibiotics). The weather brought on some allergy issues, and it felt as if fibromyalgia was full-blown for a few days. My body was super achy from head to toe, and I remembered that when I drank beer, the aches would disappear. I did notice anxiety went down a little while I wasn’t drinking, maybe because I was just exhausted. My mood was only slightly lifted, but I was still feeling depressed. Perhaps it was lack of human contact or something else, but I was craving not being depressed, which is part of the reason I quit/cut back on drinking.

On Day 15, the weather was pretty bad. I had one beer in the fridge (one that I normally wouldn’t drink, because it would have been gone by now) that I drank and didn’t really care for it. The following day (16), I met up with some friends that are getting married soon to discuss some things about their wedding that I’m shooting. It was nice getting out of the house for once and home by 10:30. I had three beers in two and a half hours, felt high as a kite, and felt like shit the entire next day. Two of the beers were relatively normal in alcohol content, but the first may have been almost like drinking two. I remembered how much I hated waking up feeling completely unrested, having to get up to pee at wee hours, thirsty and unable to get back to sleep, and basically being unable to fully function intellectually with unclear thinking skills the following day. I also noticed my allergies were worse. Three beers was almost nothing for me before; it only took two weeks for that effect.

When the weekend rolled around, I went to an event out of town, and then a new friend/acquaintance offered to meet up for sushi. At first, I was hesitant being unfamiliar with him, but I was hungry, and the timing was perfect. I started out drinking water, had a tiny bit of sake and opted for a beer that I normally really like. However, I wasn’t liking the beer much at all and switched it to something sweet. It was nice to be out having conversation and a meal with someone, and I left feeling generally content, yet tired.

The following day, I noticed my mood was off. I felt sad, even though it was a nice day. (I suppose I could have also been sad about my other male friend.) Again, my energy was low and I had little motivation, but I didn’t feel like I had a hangover or anything. I was burping up the beer the next day, which made me not want to drink it even more, especially after nearly 12 hours passed since I’d drank it… just gross. I felt annoyed all day and canceled plans to go to an art event, because I didn’t want to be around people. I don’t know if this is a result from drinking or just being tired or annoyed.

Doing two experiments of having a few drinks after not drinking showed me that it really doesn’t bring me any happiness, especially the following day. Socially, it can be fun, but I am pretty sure I can find other fun things to do.

People were asking how long I was going to stop drinking. I never had an answer, because I tried to make realistic expectations and just go with the flow with how I felt. I have no cravings to continue doing it, and after feeling as bad as I have been, I don’t looking forward to it again. Eventually, I want to get back into eating a stricter diet, but for now I’m doing one thing at a time; I’m still enjoying chocolate chip cookies for now.

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