“Why don’t you drink? Are you an alcoholic or something” It just doesn’t sit well with me is my reply every time because how do you tell someone that alcohol makes you the funniest person for 3 hours before it turns you into a suicidal, panicking mess. There is an incessant need for me to explain myself, as if something is fundamentally wrong with me because I don’t want to drink. That I’m somehow less fun to be around because I don’t have booze fuelling my system. It hurts me to think that people who chose to be sober are automatically presumed to have some sort of problem. My problem isn't with alcohol nor me as a person, my problem is with the chemicals in my brain. I wish I could because I love drunk me. I’m confident, funny and outgoing until all of sudden I’m not. Sometimes it’s a simple comment that flips my brain from happy to manically depressed. It’s like I’m all of sudden swallowed by a big black hole and it can take me days to crawl out of it. Everything becomes black; I’m no longer dancing around hysterically laughing but sat down crying in a corner, rocking back and forth, battling terrifying thoughts.
For far too long, I so desperately believed I deserved to have that normal teenage Friday night out that I pushed away the fear of the aftermath and enjoyed the buzzing effects of alcohol. But the comedown was always looming over me, like a heavy cloud just waiting to piss it down with rain. Why did I drink despite that? Because I wanted some normalcy in my life when everything else going on was far from the normal I use to know. Because I was embarrassed that people just assumed I couldn't handle my alcohol when that was the furthest thing from the truth. Because I had managed to convince myself I could handle the comedown by myself. Because I just wanted to fit in and not have to choose a life of sobriety at 20 years old. But I quickly realised I couldn’t do it. I couldn’t put my friends or myself through the usual drunk Jasmine routine, it wasn’t fair on anyone but mainly it wasn’t fair to myself or my recovery.
There comes a point where you have to put your needs above your wants and I finally after months, got to that point. I tried drinking on NYE for the first time in 6 months, didn’t get overly drunk and again I enjoyed myself until all of sudden the usual doom and gloom came crashing down. I beat myself up for letting myself ring in another year feeling like that and making my friends come to the rescue. I thought I would try since I hadn’t had anything for so long but I've realised it doesn’t matter how healthy my mind is now, alcohol will always cause me to spiral out of control. I’m finally okay with that being my reality. I’m no longer ashamed of being the only sober one. And yes, I don’t always like it and I know I seem boring but I can assure you it beats the hell out of trying to talk me out of suicidal thoughts a few hours later. I know you may not understand why I can’t just let lose and have a few drinks but please don’t make me feel like less of a person because I can’t participate. I am still me, I will still laugh at your jokes and reply with sarcasm and have fun.
There is nothing wrong with people who choose not to drink; it just means we know what is best for ourselves. You're not any less fun, normal or weak because you can't drink. You're much stronger than most for listening to your body. Does that mean I will never have a drink again? No, most likely not because like everyone sometimes I still struggle to say no and resist the urge to just forget about my problems but that doesn’t mean you get to judge me either. If I want to enjoy a couple drinks with my friends, where I feel safe then please let me without any comments. Yes, I constantly have to fight very strong urges to keep it to a minimum but I know myself better than anyone. You may think I'm being dramatic or overreacting but the reality is that alcohol is not a right of passage for every young person. My goodness do I wish I could go out every weekend like my friends, drink to my heart's content, enjoy myself and be happy but for me, it doesn't happen that way.
It's taken me months of awful drunken suicidal nights and self loathing to learn the art of self-control and to accept that this is a bit of normal I don't get to participate in right now. And it's okay. So if you're like me, don't feel like you need to explain yourself or your actions, ultimately you will always know what is best for your mental state. Be kind to yourself, you're already battling hard thoughts without beating yourself up too.
Hey there, I'm Jasmine, your average 23 year old working in childcare and living in England. Maybe Tomorrow follows my journey living with mental health issues and multiple chronic health conditions, all whilst trying to have some fun along the way.
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