Why I’m cutting down on alcohol for my mental health this January

Why I’m cutting down on alcohol for my mental health this January

I have a confession: alcohol doesn’t make me feel good. I don’t just mean the usual hangover – though my hangovers these days are killer – the joys of growing older! I mean that alcohol makes me feel exhausted, anxious and sad.

So this month, I’ve made a decision. For the sake of my mental health, productivity and happiness, I’m cutting down on my drinking.

I know lots of people doing Dry January. I’ll be honest, I don’t intend to sign up to this, mostly because I don’t believe in telling myself I can’t have something. I want this to be a positive change, not a test of my willpower. But this month I’ve decided to cut right back – no wild nights out til 5am, no bottles of spirits. In January I want to focus on what makes me feel good, and I’ve learned the hard way that it is not alcohol.

I should point out now – for someone of my age, I am not a big drinker. Going out twice a week for a heavy one just isn’t my style. But, like any young person looking to socialise with friends, when I do go out I tend to go hard. It doesn’t feel like it at the time, does it? But waking up the next morning to see half a bottle of gin gone, and totalling up the number of doubles drank in bars throughout the night always makes me feel guilty at best, and downright miserable at worst.

I started my 2018 with a bit of a crash. Correction: I started my 2018 with a major crash. While my new year was AMAZING, spent boogying with people who mean the world to me, I woke up on the second January in the grips of a panic attack. I tossed and turned all night, fretting about not being prepared for work, and when my alarm went off I was struggling to breathe. I attempted to drag myself into the shower, but instead I ended up sobbing into my duvet. The little voice in my head told me repeatedly, “you can’t do this, you can’t do this, you can’t do this…”

Blogger Twenty-Something City talks about cutting down on alcohol sharing her New Year's Eve vintage waves hair

I’ve always had issues with anxiety and self doubt. But this time was different. I knew I had nothing to be worried about, yet my body was still struggling under the strain of all the toxins I’d put into it two nights before. This time alcohol left me feeling not like myself, and anything that affects my mental health in this way I don’t need in my life.

The most frustrating thing is this isn’t the first time I’ve had my plans ruined this year by the effects of alcohol. Everyone needs a duvet day, but with my goals for 2018 I can’t afford to miss out on opportunities because I’m suffering from drink-fuelled anxiety.

So, what does this mean for my drinking habits in 2018? Don’t worry, I’m not going teetotal (though despite what society tells us, is giving up alcohol for good really a bad thing?) but I do intend to cut my drinking right back. A bottle of wine shared with a friend? Sounds fab. A bottle of gin on a Saturday night? Not for this girl, thank you.

Of course, there will always be exceptions. I’m passionate about making memories and sometimes that does mean going a little crazy with friends. But this year I am putting my mental health first.

Have you managed to cut back on your drinking? I’d love to hear your stories in the comments below.

8 Comments

  1. January 12, 2018 / 8:03 am

    Well done for speaking out about this. Tbh I think a lot of people have this with alcohol but it never gets discussed. I cut down my drinking too for similar reasons. I just stick to a couple of g&ts now on nights in the pub.

    • twentysomethinglifeandstyle
      January 12, 2018 / 8:18 am

      Thank you! I’m glad other people feel the same

  2. January 12, 2018 / 10:11 am

    Whenever I have a drink, more than a small glass of wine when dining out, I always have to make the consideration of enjoyment of alcohol vs mental health. With each drink I consume, it means less sleep I am going to be able to enjoy, because once the wine coma wears off – it’s that sticky, sweaty, panic attack at 3am.
    It’s a shame that as a society we seem to think that alcohol is a required social lubricant, or in fact a social norm. The way I see it- if you have to be drunk to enjoy the company of your friends, they’re probably not your friends.
    Good luck this year gorgeous, and thank you for sharing this with us x

    • twentysomethinglifeandstyle
      January 14, 2018 / 4:35 pm

      Yes – it’s exactly this! I’d love to be a party girl, really I would, but it’s just not worth feeling miserable for. Thanks for the kind words 🙂 x

  3. January 12, 2018 / 12:52 pm

    Firstly, well done for recognising how it was making you feel & doing something about it.

    I have to say, i found myself on a similar situation to this years back and just decided not to drink anymore and to this day, I very rarely drink. Maybe a glass of wine with a meal or fizz at an event but I still usually opt for the soft drink option.

    Good luck with reducing your intake, I think when you get to this point its an easier task too xx

    • twentysomethinglifeandstyle
      January 14, 2018 / 4:36 pm

      Thank you! Cutting down on booze seems like such a daunting prospect in our society but I’m glad someone else has managed 🙂 xx

  4. January 12, 2018 / 5:59 pm

    I used to drink WAAAAYYY too much when I finished uni – binge drinking every Friday and/or Saturday night – so in the last few years I’ve cut right back. I’ll have a glass or two at home with my OH or the occassional drink with work mates. And I’ll celebrate special occasions. But the days of partying all night every weekend are long gone! Both my physical and mental health, not to mention my relationships, are much stronger for it. Great choice girl 💪🏼 Xxx

    • twentysomethinglifeandstyle
      January 14, 2018 / 4:37 pm

      Thanks for sharing – I’m glad I’m not the only one who believes in cutting back. I’ll let you know how it goes! xxx

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