Accepting you may be addicted to alcohol is the first step to getting help. Read Lindsey Brogan’s story of how she turned her life around.
I came accross one of Lindseys instagram posts and it intrigued me, like many posts do, but a comment reply she left someone sparked my curiosity. Lindsey has kindly offered to write a very open insight into the effects excesive alcohol had on her and how she turned her life around.
I’m pleased and honoured to be writing a guest post for Damion and his interesting blog, The Northern Dad. If you are doing dry January or done Sober October, you may be sober curious and want to quit drinking for longer or long term. Hopefully, this post will help you evaluate your relationship with alcohol and in making any decisions towards your drinking lifestyle.
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Drinking with no limitations
Drinking has been something I’ve always done, from being a teenager to when I quit drinking six months ago. Binge drinking on a Friday/Saturday night around town was a weekly occurrence back in the day when I was young and carefree. When I was able to go out until the early hours, go home to bed for a couple of hours and be back out for work at 8 am the next morning.
I’d usually be home from midnight-1am so it was manageable. I lived a walk away from the town centre and I hadn’t got my driving licence, or a car back then so didn’t need to worry about being over the limit the next morning. I used to go out with two friends and one of them never drank, she would usually drive my other friend home and drop me off on the way. It used to amaze me how she could go on a full night out, have a laugh and a dance like the rest of us and leave after eating a kebab. All without having a drink. I’ve encountered various people through my career who just don’t drink. I always admired their ability to take it or leave it.
Drink, think, sleep, repeat
My drinking got worse after my dad died ten years ago. When I wasn’t drinking I was thinking about drinking and I never knew just how much it had taken over my life until I quit recently. I had so much I wanted to talk to my dad about, so I wrote a letter to my dad through my own blog.
My drinking then went up another level during the first lockdown. I was drinking every day, there was nothing else to do and it felt like the only way I’d get through the lockdown life whilst the world was in crisis. At the time, I was furloughed from my day job and then didn’t need to get up for anything each morning. I wrote a post about life after furlough.
What have I become?
I became argumentative, angry, upset, worried, anxious, stressed and generally not very nice. I went from drinking a bottle of wine a day to drinking a bottle of wine and nearly a full bottle of gin a day. Sure enough, that amount was starting to feel like not enough. My blood pressure was through the roof at stage 2 hypertension and I just felt unwell all of the time.
I was convinced the whites of my eyes were turning yellow and I felt like my liver was going to die. I just wanted to lay about all day and didn’t have much energy for life. The hangovers were awful, I felt like I was going to die. I didn’t want to end up dying young as my dad did. Someone close to me questioned if I was ok, I became defensive and argumentative, they had hit a nerve and it hurt. But not as much as I’d hurt them. I’d started to become addicted to alcohol. This was when I decided I needed to do something about it.
It’s time to save my life
So, in July 2020 I had my last few glasses of red wine and quit the next day. I’ve never looked back, it’s the best thing I ever did.
If I’d said, six months ago, to the people who know me. I’m going to quit drinking for six months or maybe longer. They’d have laughed at me. I’ve always been the heavy drinker in the group. You’d always find me going to friends’ houses, the first job would be to put my slippers on, and the second job to open a bottle of wine. I got to know which friends didn’t like red wine, so I’d take it knowing I didn’t have to share. I ended up taking boxes of wine to parties, so nobody really knew how much id had.
The buzz without the buzz
The benefits of not drinking have outweighed the buzz of drinking. The buzz only lasts for the first glass maybe second, that’s why I’d keep drinking- to chase that buzz. Now the buzz of being sober is far more powerful and longer lasting. I’m interested in life; I’ve achieved more in the last six months than I ever did. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve done well in my career and volunteering but I’m at my happiest now. And that counts for everything. I have more focus, my skin is clearer, my hair and nails are growing lovely and my brain works better.
Its all about me
I’ve always wanted to be the centre of attention, but the drink would numb my brain and I’d want to see people less, now I can’t wait to be socialising. My memory is improving, and I have so much more time to do the things that I love. Things like writing and reading. Hopefully I’m a better and more present sister, auntie, friend and partner. I’m loving life with more meaningful relationships. There is no greater feeling than waking up refreshed in the morning, after a good, proper nights sleep.
Knowing I’m looking after myself and can face anything, I feel invincible. My blood pressure has improved greatly, still elevated but its heading in the right direction. My problems and anxieties are still there but I can deal with them and have coping mechanisms in place. Now the problems don’t seem as bad and sometimes the alcohol just made them seem so much worse than they were. Everything is a problem when you feel like death.
I was addicted to alcohol and now I feel as free as a bird.
Help is at hand
If you are reading this and you are thinking of quitting, the advice I would give is follow sober accounts on social media. There are some good ones on Instagram such as @sobergirlsociety. Sober Girl Society is a happy space for sober and sober curious women to make friends and celebrate being hangover free. They also sell cute milestone badges to celebrate being alcohol free.
Next step is getting yourself some ‘quit lit’, the book that was a huge turning point for me was The Naked Mind by Annie Grace. Its not a preachy quit drinking book, its an excellent book to learn the facts and psychologies behind drinking. Then you can make your own mind up. It certainly contributed to me not wanting to drink ever again, it should come with a good health warning! I’m so happy I found this book.
If you read this and have realised you may have a strained relationship with alcohol and want to quit or cut down then congratulations. You have made the first step to a healthier, happier life.
I promise you; it will be so worth it.
It’s not all doom and gloom, I wanted to give people a light-hearted look at the after-effects of quitting drinking, it helped me to reflect, so I wrote a post to express what I went through.
About the Guest writer
Hi, I’m Linz, a 30 something year old crazy cat lady from Yorkshire. You’ll find me usually working my full time job in Construction. In my spare time I volunteer as a Community First Responder for the Yorkshire Ambulance Service, and the rest of the time writing stuff on my blog.