Eyes Wide Open

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve pledged to stop drinking forever, only to find myself back on day one again. I’ve struggled with the commitment to stay sober, even while participating in an online community where others are making it happen every day. So, I decided this month to try something different. Every day, I have posted one thing I hate about what alcohol does to me and one thing I love about living alcohol-free.

One day at a time, I am opening my own eyes to everything that alcohol really is to me. Eyes wide open is the only way to stay sober in a world that celebrates drinking and normalizes being drunk. I hate what alcohol does to me, but luckily I love living alcohol-free!

Are you trying to quit drinking?

Understanding these things helps me keep my eyes wide open to everything that I hate about what alcohol does to me

I Hate the Hangovers and Hangxiety

Over the years alcohol has sucked so much from me that my body can barely physically cope anymore. When I drink I don’t sleep properly. My body is depleted and sucked dry from alcohol and my energy levels are zero. I can barely get out of bed and put one food in front of the other after a night of drinking but I do because I have to. My eyes can barely stay open and I just want to lay down all day and rest.

I hate the way the next day after drinking is a complete and utter write-off because I feel so blegh. I lack the motivation to do absolutely anything, and a whole day is wasted, all for a couple of hours of numbing the night before. It’s not worth it.

The banging headache that just doesn’t go away no matter how much paracetamol you swallow. The dodgy stomach, the puffy bloodshot eyes, the bloat, the angry mom effect, the anxiety, the poor food choices. We think of a hangover as “the morning after,” but let’s get real—everything is awful all day.


Have you ever noticed that the more alcohol you drink, the thirstier you get? I drank to dehydration!

I had dry mouth that lasted all day no matter how much water I drank and dry lips that I had to lick all day—only making them drier. The white-coated tongue and the vile taste in my mouth made me feel like I hadn’t cleaned my teeth in a week. Yuck!

And the Bloat…

It gets everywhere, right? The face, the stomach, even the ankles—yuck. When I’m drinking, my face becomes red, puffy, and jowly; my stomach becomes round and distended; my ankles become cankles; I look like a puffball of bloat. Goodbye, disgusting bloat.

Anxiety? HANGXIETY !

Sometimes the anxiety absolutely paralyzes me. I cannot do what I need to do. In fact, I can’t even think about what I need to do without an overwhelming feeling of anxiety and how I’ve screwed everything up and will continue to do so. I cannot make phone calls.

Hungover, I can barely face people. It just brings these crushing feelings to a head, and the hangxiety is absolutely bloody awful.

Hangxiety felt like it would last forever, but it really didn’t. It recedes and eventually disappears as long as I don’t drink alcohol.

There is just nothing romantic about the reality of the hangover. Alcohol-free, my eyes are wide open to the reality of the hangover.

I was afraid that socializing would lose its luster with me living alcohol-free.

I hate my inability to enjoy a night out properly when I’m focused on drinking.

It ruins the night out when my focus is on alcohol rather than the company, the surroundings, and the atmosphere.

And then there is the detachment I have when talking to others while “drinking socially”.

You know the routine, right? You go out, you drink, you have more ‘confidence’, and you chat away to people, but actually you’re really just chatting at them. They’re not really listening to you, and you’re certainly not listening or absorbing what they’re saying either. Really, it’s just a waste of a conversation as everyone is only interested in getting their own point across. No one is acknowledging anyone else, and really it’s just a shit show and a waste of a conversation and evening out.

Social drinking? No, thank you.

I love the laughter, Spontanaity and peace of mind that Living Alcohol-free gives me

This afternoon, while I was waiting to pick my girls up from school, a message popped up on one of my WhatsApp groups asking if anyone was free to play padel tennis tonight. I thought about it for a bit and thought, “I’m free, I’m not hungover, so why the hell not?” And so I did.

I love, love, love being able to do things not just at night – because I’m not stuck in the pub, but also random things during the day because I’m not too hungover to go and enjoy them.

Today was padel tennis; who knows what tomorrow will bring, but whatever it is, I’m up for it.

It sucks the joy out of everything.

Beach walks become a burden.
Bike rides become stomach churning chaos.
Family dinners become a chore.
Doing things with my kid becomes a disaster.

Nothing in life sparks joy when alcohol is involved.

Alcohol-free, I’m FREE!

I love taking my daughter to an outdoor cinema from 9 pm to 11 pm. I love enjoying the show and not worrying about a thing.

I love actually remembering what I watched on TV the night before. Properly remembering and not just pretending.

I love being able to go out for lunch with friends and enjoy fabulous meals without being hungover and feeling grotty. I love being able to appreciate the taste of the food because it’s not disguised by sour wines or flat beers.

And the laughs and proper conversation that flow when I’m not hungover and depressed? PRICELESS!

Peace of mind? It’s priceless! Tonight I dropped my eldest off to a mixed party sleepover, and I know no matter what, if she calls, I can answer. I don’t expect any issues at all, but it’s so nice to know I’m present if anything does go pear-shaped.

Getting into a freshly made bed after a night of not drinking. It’s just like a million times better.

Alcohol opens the door to darkness, depression,
and drama too.

Sometimes it really hits hard.

On the nights when I would drink, I’d experience this overwhelming despondency that things were all wrong, that my life was terrible, and that nothing would ever be right again. This feeling would often lead to tears, fights, and a lot of confusion for the people around me.

Then, the following morning, I would face recriminations, self-doubt, and stress over everything I had done or not done. Once again, that awful feeling would creep in, that life would never be right and would always be a dark and depressing place for me. The belief that nothing would ever be good again.

I mean, what an awful feeling to have. Yet, we continually subject ourselves and our mental health to this cycle – and for what? A few hours of temporary relief the night before.

No, thank you. I despised losing a piece of my soul every time I drank.

Every morning after a night of drinking, I would wake up full of regret, self-hatred, and remorse. I would gaze at myself in the mirror, seeing a bloated, puffy, and sorrowful face reflecting eyes that seemed to have lost their spark.

Every morning after a night of drinking, I yearned for sobriety desperately. But I just couldn’t achieve it. I felt like a fragment of my soul died with each failure, with each hangover. I detested myself, I detested my life, and bit by bit, my soul was slowly withering away.

Do the eyes of a drinker always look sad, even when they try to appear happy? I have seen numerous “before and after” photos of people who have stopped drinking, and it’s always the eyes that captivate me. They transform from dull and lifeless to vibrant, bright, and lively.

I hate the darkness and depression that alcohol triggers within me.

And the drama?

The absurd arguments I would get into simply because, in that moment, whatever had me agitated seemed like the most important thing in the world. In reality, the next morning, I would be filled with shame when I realized that what I had been raging about didn’t matter at all. Sometimes, I couldn’t even recall what the fight was about.

And then there is the cruelty that surfaces in me. The unnecessary drama just makes me cringe!

My eyes have been opened to the reality of what alcohol does to my mental health!

If you’re trying to drink the darkness away here is more reading to help you keep your eyes wide open to the reality of how alcohol effects your mental health.

When the Wine Witch comes to call, I just have to remember that one of the things I dislike about alcohol is that
it opened the door to her!

After telling myself all day that there is absolutely no way I am having a drink tonight, and reminding myself that I can do this, I need to do this, and I want to do this, the voice pops up in the late afternoon or early evening. It is the sweet, seductive sound of the wine witch.

‘You know you don’t really have a problem, you’re not drinking during the day, you’re not going out partying, you’re just having a few quiet drinks at home’

‘You’ve had a rough day, you’ve felt ill all day, hair of the dog will definitely help’

‘This time it’ll be different’

‘You can definitely control it, 2drinks is perfect’

‘Just today’

‘Just this summer, you can’t possibly do a summer without a few fun drinks with friends, then you can hibernate in the winter and not drink’

‘Start tomorrow’

‘You know I am not a figment of your imagination, I am actually how you feel – and you feel you want a drink’

‘Why fight me? I’m telling you what you really want’

On and on and on. She is the whisper in my head until I feel like I’m going crazy. Sound familiar? Here is more reading to help you fight that voice when it comes to call

And speaking of going crazy, why would I want to let her in when alcohol has such a toxic effect on my mental health?

But the thing I hate most about what alcohol does to me is that alcohol literally takes me

When I’m drunk or hungover, I become a completely different version of myself in countless ways. Each night, I could embody a different persona. There’s the party me, full of laughter, fun, and dancing. Then there’s the angry me, in search of a fight, or the depressed and tearful me. How about the hungover, tired, sick, and gloomy me, or the hungover me pretending I’m not and behaving overly cheerful, spending too much money?

Living in this swirling multitude of “me’s” made my life challenging and exhausting. But what’s saddest is that none of those individuals are the real me. The real me loves outdoor adventures, sitting in the morning sun with breakfast, and reveling in the beauty of life. The real me is the one who hangs on by a thin thread with her teenage daughter, managing to remain patient and avoid breaking.

Lately, during most of my drinking episodes, I ended up blacking out towards the end. Thankfully, nothing bad occured as I’m usually at home, in a safe environment. I haven’t typically done anything regrettable (at least, not that I can recall or that anyone informs me about), but I wake up with a significant portion of the night missing from my memory. In the morning, I struggle to remember conversations or how I made it to bed, despite following my entire bedtime routine.

I despise the fact that I can’t recall the discussions I’ve had the night before. I find myself asking my daughters questions, only for them to reply with an eye roll and say, “Mom, we talked about this last night. Remember?” I have to sheepishly admit, “Oh, right, I’m sorry. My memory is terrible. Could you remind me again?” I loathe it, absolutely loathe it!!!

Alcohol robbing me of my true self is something I detest!

Alcohol kept me small. It dampened down my dreams and hopes. It told me I’m not good enough and I don’t deserve more. It told me I’ll never amount to more. It said, “Don’t even bother trying, you’re not worth it and you can never have or get more than you’ve got right now. Be grateful for what you’ve got and don’t dream big. Who do you think you are to want more?”

But in a sober world I dare to dream big, I work towards my hopes and dreams safe in the knowledge that one day I will get there.

When I was hungover, I hid away from the sun. It felt too hot, and I could not be bothered to use the pool. I just wanted to hide and not engage. I love being able to sit out in the sun, dive into the pool, and feel the calmness and serenity around me.

My group of friends is quite active. We enjoy going on walks, hikes, bike rides, paddle boarding, playing padel tennis, netball, and trying new things. It’s cool and fun. But the number of times in the past when I canceled due to a hangover is ridiculous. One of the best things about being alcohol-free is that I no longer have to cancel plans the next day because I’m too hungover.

This morning, I went for a 5km beach walk and swim. This evening, I played padel tennis.

I cycle, I run/walk, I play padel tennis, I enjoy my family, I laugh, I love, I live ❤️

Life is so much more fun and doable without a stinking hangover.

Be Free!

Read More :

Alcohol and Exercise-Battling Diminishing Returns

How Drinking Too Much Alcohol Affects Your Looks

If you’re “sober curious” … If you are drinking too much too often and want to stop or take a break… Talk to Us

We are an independent, anonymous and private community who share resources, support and talk it through every day. It helps to have a community behind you in a world where alcohol is the only addictive drug that people will question you for NOT using

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