We’ve all done it – woken up in the morning just a few hours after going to bed with that rotten hangover, as a home drinker it is simply far too easy to go over the top, the alcohol is cheaper, there’s no competition for the toilet, no bar ten deep in people, a six pack on the floor next to the sofa or the bottle of wine on the coffee table?
The booze flows… Then we have drinkers guilt, that nagging feeling that something happened the night before but your memory is so foggy that you can’t remember, maybe it will come later in the day then that thud of ‘oh shit now I remember’ hits you.
Some people can wake and just get on with their day while others are racked with guilt and swear never to drink again but how long does that last? Maybe you feel so ill that you don’t drink that day but the day after that? The weekend? The trigger that makes you justify cracking open a bottle because something stressful happened or maybe something to celebrate?
An overwhelming feeling of shame that comes the morning after a long night of binge drinking. Often characterized by feelings of regret about what you said or did while you were wasted along with the regular symptoms of a hangover. – Urban Dictionary
Below are 10 common regrets of being a home drinker (like I was), since giving up alcohol I no longer experience any of these, my only regret now is drinking as much as I did, and for so long, I’m glad to get shot of all the things on this list, it has made my life better and makes waking up in the morning a real joy not only through feeling great but knowing that alcohol did not take control, spoil an evening or make me wonder what happened the night before…
What did I say?
Probably the most common one on the drinkers guilt list is what did I say? Towards the latter stages of my drinking there was usually a point during the following day when my wife would say “Do you not remember saying that?”. Sometimes I still wouldn’t remember even after being reminded and other times it would be that ‘oh shit yeah’ feeling where I would then try and justify it, on the spot having just my memory jogged. One reason why I turned sober was that I didn’t want alcohol controlling me anymore, if I couldn’t be responsible for what I was saying then it was time to part company.
We all know that drinking loosens the tongue, alcohol compromises our ability to compute risk and therefore invites us into situations we may otherwise have backed away from, ignored or not wanted to be part of. I can honestly say that social media is absolutely the wrong place to be when you have had or are having a drink.
Just as with alcohol making some people more chatty we no longer need a telephone or email to communicate, we can use social media where, under the influence we write things that we wouldn’t have if we’d been sober. How many times have you done this? How many mornings have you woken up and thought you had better check Facebook for the backlash? How many posts have you deleted the next morning realising that you shouldn’t have written what you did because it was not ‘you’ it was the alcohol?
There have been some high profile disasters on social media, people even lose their jobs. The main thing to consider is that any writing that is done on a digital platform is ripe to be taken the wrong way, there are no expressions or mannerisms to gauge the person writing, one person comes along with a response you don’t like and alcohol goes after them with a vengeance. Put quite simply, it’s not worth it!
Drinking so much it’s made you sick
I was never sick as a drinker but I know plenty of people who were, not everyone had my stamina or was as alcohol tolerant as me which in itself is a bad thing, I never really had bad hangovers really, instead the hangover became such a regular occurrence it was part of everyday life.
Seeing people be sick through too much drinking is no fun, they cry, apologise profusely, smell, make a complete idiot of themselves and depend on others to sort them out (including cleaning up the mess). When was the last time you made yourself physically ill with alcohol?
We don’t do it with any else like fruit juice (although my 4 year old son did have too much peach juice one day!) so why alcohol, why do we keep on going knowing the risks, essentially being sick through alcohol is a drug overdose, your body is telling you that it needs to purge something that shouldn’t be there, not healthy and certainly not clever…
Mysterious injuries are something that I can relate to. There have been quite a few mornings when I have woken up with aches and pains, cuts and bruises and even a broken rib. The latter happened slipping (ironically) on the plastic wrapper of a crate of beer landing on the beer itself, lovely.
For anyone who has not experienced a broken rib you will never feel pain like it, you can’t move and you can hardly breath, for me the after affects did not appear until I woke the next morning where I was rendered useless for three days – thank you alcohol, that won’t be happening again anytime soon.
Alcohol lowers inhibitions so jumping the garden gate on the way home may not be the best idea unless you are planning a trip to A&E for the rest of the night. Also, as we get older we remember our youth and for some reason think we can still do the same things twenty years on:
You: I used to be able to do double back flips at school
Your mates: Go on then!
Alcohol: Has a laugh releasing more endorphins to the brain because it can’t wait to see this either
You: Ends up head first in the coffee table
Treating someone badly
One of the main regrets of being a home drinker (or any drinker) and one that brings about a huge amount of drinkers guilt is treating someone badly. We don’t need others around us to perform this ridiculous act either, just one person will do and it is usually the person we love the most. Why? Because alcohol tells us we can get away with it, we wouldn’t speak to guests with an onslaught of verbal abuse, say the things we say, swear or be generally hurtful but loved ones become a target. It’s wrong, stupid, unhealthy and in extreme cases can lead to breakup and kids forming an opinion of their parents that will stick for years to come.
I am not talking about physical abuse here – just alcohol turning us into complete idiots when we have had too much and making stress a point again and again, bringing up the past or just being generally nasty. This behaviour will always come back and bite you in the backside because ultimately it will be you who feels like shit the next day and indeed for days to come, that is of course, until it happens again.
Searching the memory Void
What happened last night? Have you ever woken up and not been able to remember anything, chances are you will be feeling a touch of anxiety but does not mean anything happened, in fact in most cases for me personally nothing did happen but I still had to ask my partner (or try to slip in the question) ‘I was ok last night though?’ Waking up like this is hellish, most mornings wondering what the hell happened and waiting for something to be said that would bring it all back.
Sometimes I wouldn’t remember what we’d had to eat – a fabulous evening meal that took hours to prepare and cook but no memory of it. What a waste. Having friends or family comment on what you did because you can’t remember isn’t good, I never found ‘evidence’ on social media but know people who have, save yourself the embarrassment.
Ever watched a movie about alcohol and found some parts uncomfortably familiar? – Check out the 10 best films here
The Wasted Day
OK, so you rolled into bed at some point during the early hours of Saturday or Sunday morning and the next thing you know it’s nearly midday, that’s your morning gone, zip, disappeared. You can’t recall much from the night before although it ‘must have’ been a good one as you drank so much, you have a cut on your big toe which has mysteriously appeared on its own and you can’t remember a word you said let alone who to. The day is wasted and so is the night before, yeah you might have had a good time but if you can’t remember it what’s the point.
Life is short, studies have shown one of the main regrets people have before they die is not spending enough time with their loved ones so lying in bed with a stinking hangover all day is not the best use of anyone’s time.
If you decide to go the sobriety route you will gain hours – lots of hours, take this article for example, I started writing this at 6.45 am, something that would have been impossible if I’d been on the beer last night. Something has been achieved, ready to be published and I feel good about it. Productivity is not the only thing to increase, spending more hours a week with the family and more time with the kids is also a great benefit and who wouldn’t want that? Don’t let alcohol rob you of any more precious time, none of us know what is around the corner.
Making a fool of yourself
Embarrassment, guilt, regret, shame, anxiety. Ever felt any of these? I have never met a drinker who hasn’t, they are all common traits of drinking too much and emotions none of us like to experience. The thing is when you drink you are taking a drug, alcohol makes you say and do things you wouldn’t otherwise do, it takes a hold of you and says ‘Hey, I’m in control now’ and it will have you making a fool of yourself before you know it. When was the last time you saw someone inebriated when you were sober? When was the last time you heard a story about someone who was drunk and did something stupid or worse?
Drinking at home is no different and when you have friends around there more opportunities for opinions to be formed, more pairs of eyes on you and more people there to be a tit in front of. Anyone can make a fool of themselves sober, in general though this is usually more forgivable, light hearted and even funny given the situation and circumstance but making a fool of yourself under the influence is different, it can be a little darker, more inappropriate with the end result always being ‘they only did/said it because they’d been drinking’.
In my top three reasons for giving up drinking health was right up there at the top. I was becoming increasingly concerned about my health, deep down if you know you are consuming too much then maybe it’s time to do something about it.
Becoming concerned about drinking quickly evolves into full on worry and worry is no good for anyone, it causes stress plus a whole host of other things which will affect your life. Be honest, have you ever thought about ending up in a hospital bed with a drink related illness, how would you feel? What would you tell the kids and what kind of upheaval would it cause not just you but your family and work?
Health is precious, pouring poison into ourselves makes no sense whatsoever but we still do it – why? I made my decision to not end up in a hospital bed due to alcohol early in 2018 and within a matter of days I already felt more relaxed, the worry had dissipated and along with feeling more healthy in general the anxiety had also gone – it is a huge weight off your shoulders.
You Let Yourself Down (Again)
There comes a stage where being concerned about drinking develops into the preliminary stages of making the decision to start cutting down or quit altogether. When we are young it’s all a good laugh, we feel that we can live forever and the drunk one at the party is hilarious, you don’t feel like you are letting yourself down until you get older, have responsibilities, perhaps children and that full time job or business to manage.
As we get older drinking becomes more of a hassle, when did you go and buy the beers from the local shop with as much excitement as when you did when you were in your late teens or early twenties?
Besides from the fact that the hangovers get worse and last longer there is always that niggle that you shouldn’t be drinking as much as you do. The feeling of letting yourself down can come from any of the points mentioned in this article, perhaps though, instead of not just thinking of letting ourselves down we should also consider that we are letting down others.
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