I think 18-year-old me would be horrified with what I’m about to write. The student who was out two/three nights a week without fail, who bought queue jump tickets to get into Revs “for bevs” in Cardiff every Tuesday night, and who loved two stepping in her trainers to house music. At the ripe old age of 25, I’ve decided to say “yes” to bypassing the booze in favour of more sober nights out.
Here’s the thing. I very rarely drink. I’ve said before in a post about my thoughts on binge drinking, that I don’t drink when out for dinner, I never have a glass of wine in the house, and I’d choose a glass of squash over a glass of prosecco. My family aren’t big drinkers either, so I’ve never really been around alcohol. But it seems that ever since I turned 18, I have associated celebrating with copious amounts of alcohol, and whenever it’s mine, or a friend’s birthday or we have something to celebrate, we’ve opted to put on our dancing shoes and to get obliterated. And honestly, for both physical health and mental wellbeing reasons, it’s not something I think I want to do, or even can do, anymore.
Over the last year or so, I’ve stepped away from clubbing and wild nights out, in favour of weekend trips away, saving money to go on more travel adventures and to buy my little flat, and cosy nights in which mean I’m fresh to head out on a Sunday morning. I have to say I’m really pleased with how I’m prioritising things nowadays. I think having running as a hobby helped, as I used to do long runs on the weekends and would often dodge nights out, giving the excuse of having to train the next morning. Of course, those who I used to go on these wild nights out with started to fall off the radar. They thought I was boring, but I guess we just didn’t have much in common.
I said yes to more casual, chilled evenings out with really great, genuine friends, where we’d catch up and chat over a cocktail, and I said yes to doing more that didn’t revolve around weekend alcohol parties. There’s no pressure to do anything you don’t want to do on a night out with my friends (hun, if you don’t want that shot, you simply don’t buy it) and honestly, the decisions I’ve made over the last year, have left me feeling so much more positive, refreshed and focused. I feel truly happy with how I’ve moved away from certain situations and know that the friends and people surrounding me are kind and true, and have only my best intentions at heart.
But still, there is this notion that celebrations = lots of alcohol, and honestly my body can’t handle it. This year I’ve been on three nights out; one of which was for my birthday and the other two were catch ups with friends where I had about three drinks. On every occasion, even when I’ve gone home feeling completely sober, I’ve been left feeling incredibly run down with a virus and sickness, and for a whole week I feel like absolute crap. It’s simple, my body cannot handle it, and then it causes me to feel low and lonely too.
Then for the last two weekends, I’ve gone out and haven’t drunk alcohol. I’ve opted for mocktails instead of cocktails, and on both occasions I’ve had a really fabulous time. I had a little boogie, I got to dress up in cute clothes, and did my makeup as though I was a beauty YouTuber (I’m talking full on glam!), and I woke up the next morning feeling fresh and didn’t have any of that awful hungover paranoia or general gross-ness. I admit that I was nervous on both occasions to go out without drinking. It’s almost like a little elixir of confidence, once you have that first drop of vodka, and I was worried about what people would say/think, but I can safely say that people generally do not care where you drink or not, as long as you have a good time. (And the people that do care that you’re not drinking are generally the ones that end up having to have a taxi called for them to be taken home by the end of the night.)
It made me realise that I should forget the pressure to drink that comes with going on a night out. Of course, some people who I’ve mentioned this to have had their say about how boring I am *rolls eyes*. But, you don’t have to drink because other people want you to, and if it’s ultimately going to mean you’re a happier, chirpier, more positive person then why wouldn’t you do it? Two of my favourite bloggers Nicole and Georgia have really inspired me to say yes to sober nights out more. Both ladies are teetotal and have talked openly about their experiences of it on their blogs, and it really has given me the confidence I need to start doing it myself. In Georgia’s words from one of her posts about being teetotal, “I don’t question other people’s lifestyle choices, so please don’t question mine”.
I’m not saying I’m going to be completely teetotal, because that’s something that won’t happen. It may do in the future, but for now I do enjoy a strawberry daiquiri every so often, and I’m not going to turn down an elderflower gin cocktail when I’m sat out in a beer garden while the sun is shining. But what I do want to do is stop this horrendous *binge drinking* (because ultimately, that’s what it is). I can still go out and get dressed up and have a laugh with friends, without causing that damage to my body. A few hours of drinking alcohol is certainly not worth being wiped out for a week, and feeling really negative in the process.