• James Hewlett

Wagon Wheels

Updated: Oct 7, 2019

I’m back baybeeeee! I say that like I went away or wasn’t visiting Brewdog at all in my month off of drinking, but boy was it nice to walk in and say, “What’s good?” And actually try a few of the tasty tasty beers on tap.

I actually went an extra day before having a drink as I had plans to pop out this evening, they started doing wings here a little while ago and they’ve quickly become a favourite of both mine and my good friend Teesh, so when we saw that they were starting up an ‘unlimited chicken wings’ night on Wednesdays we were absolutely going to take full advantage.

I’m actually here a bit early because I knew after eating all I can fit in I’m quite likely to be in a bit of a food coma when I get home later on. At the very least I’ll have some very sticky buffalo flavoured fingers.

So what about the month off, what are my take aways from it? That was going to be the main focus of todays post wasn’t it.

I’ve taken months off in many previous years, I used to try and do it every year at least once. Last year I was challenging myself even more so by doing it in December, a notoriously boozy month for most people. I was doing really well until xmas eve, despite everything in my home life being quite rocky. But then when the floor fell out and all I had around me was an abyss of shit, well then I hit the bottle pretty damn hard.

I don’t think I ever got to a point where it was a problem or anything for anyone to be concerned about, I’ve got my head on my shoulders enough, and have watched enough people close to me drink far too much, to never let myself get to that stage.

I wouldn't have have denied it and was well aware that at times I was definitely using alcohol as a crutch though.

I’ve been up and down through out this year as I’m sure you can imagine, shit you don’t need to imagine, I’ve written about most of it. There have been times that I’ve drank a lot and times that I’ve not had a drop. I’ve ran the gamut of emotions with both. I remember one day earlier this year I’d had a good time with a friend, we’d had some drinks then when I got home I just couldn’t hold back the tears and ended up crying myself to sleep because I was so low.

There have also been days that I’ve drank lots and have a whale of a time throughout. The same goes for days I’ve not touched a drop. I was with someone for a bit who didn’t drink at all and I found myself naturally not wanting or feeling any sort of urge to drink when we were together, those were some of the best days I’ve had this year. So I don’t think I could ever say that drinking caused or effected my mood all that much, if anything it just heightened how I was already feeling or opened me up a bit.

The times that I was starting to notice though were the lonely nights at home. Typically Friday nights if I didn’t have any plans. Those were the nights I would start getting into my own head and those bastard feedback loops would start enacting their mischief. The way I typically handled those situations was not at all a healthy option. I would just casually drink myself to sleep. Always with something quite nice and rarely getting myself to a point that I was even particularly drunk, just enough to get me out of my own head and allow me to fall asleep. Usually on the sofa watching a movie I’ve seen a dozen times.

I didn’t like that I was doing that though. It felt like using a cheat code that used one too many times might end up corrupting my save game. So I took September off completely so I could break the cycle and habit of doing that.

I’d love to say that it was easy and I didn’t miss it at all, but that would be a fucking lie. There were certain times that I would have absolutely loved to have a beer or three. There was also a few of those lonely nights that my head got in its own way and caught in a loop. It sucked; I felt bummed out, I was creating scenarios that weren’t real or that I didn’t know or even really need to know about and over thinking everything.

I didn’t waver though, instead of drinking until I felt dozy enough to fall asleep I would go get into bed and either read a book or failing that put on some show I’ve seen plenty of times before on my laptop and doze off with that on.

One of the other sleep techniques I started using I can’t take credit for as I totally stole it from someone and that is having a glass of ice while in bed, while reading or watching whatever. It works wonders at completely lowing your body temperature and making falling asleep easier.

I also found a new love of falling asleep with chilled out ambient music playing quietly on the Alexa in my bedroom.

Yeah, it’s been a struggle at times, but being forced to confront and deal with the lingering issues I have, almost all of which are mental, has been a much healthier and more sensible approach than suppressing and ignoring them. I’ve been very proud of how I’ve handled everything that has been thrown at me over this past year and I feel like I’ve grown a lot as a person. Taking the past month to do another proactive thing has been great.

Oh, and it isn’t like I got suddenly super shredded in the month I wasn’t drinking. I was a little bit afraid that if that happened it would put me off drinking all together. At least now I can continue to look and feel better physically while still having a beer or two now and then.

#drinking #alcohol #beer #mentalhealth #divorce #relationships #dating #sleep #problems #issues #sober #sobriety #health #fitness #gettingbetter #coping #mechanisms #brewdog


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