The Many Crappy Side Effects of Alcohol (Part I)

As you probably already know, I have been on-again, off-again with respect to the wagon since completing 100 days at the end of last year, beginning of this one. I want to be done with the off-again part.

Recently, I had a conversation with a friend about how alcohol is a crappy way to self-medicate. It just has too many side effects. Even its enjoyable aspects are only fleeting. Any relief from anxiety or stress is only replaced with and compounded by additional stress and anxiety soon afterwards. And what is the point of having a “fun” time with your friends when you only have hazy memories of what actually happened? Maybe that isn’t fair. Maybe the feeling of having had fun with your friends and having bonded (even if you don’t remember everything) is worth it … but I don’t think so. Not if this is what you do habitually. If alcohol was a prescription drug, there would be a very long list of probable side effects listed: additional anxiety, regular sleeplessness, severe headaches, nausea and vomiting, limited or failed relationships, memory loss, chronic hypertension, organ damage, cancer, dementia …

I know from my own experience that it is hard to see it after you’ve been sober for a while so I’m going to share some things I remembered recently about drinking booze to excess (the way I generally like it). I’ll start with the most obvious: hangovers suck.

You know that feeling you get when you wake up feeling like someone is driving a stake through your head, and when you get up to take some ibuprofen, you can barely stand from ongoing deep waves of nausea? Maybe you don’t really remember it very well now that you’ve been sober for a while. Maybe you’ve managed to repress it. Well, I remember it. It sucks.

When I was a new drinker, having a hideous hangover meant that I would swear off booze (for a few days at least). The LAST thing I ever wanted to do was to taste alcohol while fighting to not throw up bile first thing in the morning (sorry, sorry, I know that’s gross). However, as I got on in my drinking years, I started to think a hair of the dog was a good idea. I would drink at 3 a.m. to go back to sleep (more on this later). I would drink at 8 a.m. to go back to sleep on weekends. Once in a while, I even got truly drunk for a second time in the middle of the night. This was rare, and I didn’t drink before work exactly, but near the end of last year, I had a few times when I worried I still had alcohol in my system from middle-of-the-night drinking when I arrived at work in the morning.

And speaking of work, how horrible is it to try to get through the workday while hungover? Every second is an eternity of suffering until you can get to that part of the day when the hangover finally releases you from its terrible grip and you start to feel human again?

I know that most of us probably didn’t experience hangovers this way every day. Personally, a bottle of wine didn’t really regularly give me a serious hangover after some years of drinking. But there was still always that malaise. The heavy fog. The exhaustion. The irritability. The nagging anxiety. It all sucks.

So, if you are thinking it might be a good idea to visit that old friend alcohol, think again about the crappy side effects. In my next post, I’ll explore “Why the f*** am I awake at 3 a.m. AGAIN?”

Sending love and support to all of you.


Ms. New Leaf

18 thoughts on “The Many Crappy Side Effects of Alcohol (Part I)

  1. Fab post leafy. It’s so true, you do forget those awful side effects when you have been sober for a while. The very reason I stick with not drinking in the early stages was because it was such a blessed relief not to feel so terrible anymore. But they fade and as they do that little voice pops up. “It’s want so bad to have a hangover”, “ you feel down at times now you are sober – what’s the difference?” And so on and so on …
    But oh those awful days of dragging myself through work just dreaming of bed. Then finally getting into bed to lie thee feeling so crap and anxious I couldn’t sleep. Horrible. This is a great reminder of why I gave up and why I need to stay sober. Thank you xxx

    Liked by 4 people

  2. I will have to go back and read about your 100 days and why you started drinking again. I know, I tend to forget the negative stuff after only a few days. “I have been so healthy for three days, it seems like forever, and now I feel boring, let’s go drink!” Is what my brain says. In reality, there have probably been at least a couple mornings per week for the last 15 years where I have woken up thinking “I never want to feel like this again, I am going to be healthier today….” Ugh I hate realizing all the potential I have wasted all these years.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes, that’s my brain, too. I always forget the crappy parts. I made it to 100 days on sheer determination, but I was never really committed to a whole new non-drinking me. No point worrying about the past, though. On to the future!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Yes to all of this! Sometimes when I think of having a drink, which always ends up being more than a drink, I remind myself how much I looooove mornings now! Nobody bothers me, it’s quiet and all mine! We can do this! ❤️

    Liked by 1 person

  4. ooooOoooo the memories…. I had some terrible hangovers like you describe, and swore the booze off “forever”, only to open a beer again the next, or sometimes, following evening, and feel So much shame. Thanks for the important reminder – you’re right, the memories tend to fade away and it’s good to remember the shitty parts. xxxx ❤ Anne

    Liked by 2 people

  5. lately, as i have been riding that slippery slope of trying to restructure my relationship with alcohol after 15 months completely sober, i am always at a crossroads.If i hadn’t been sober that long i would never have been able to get the perspective i needed. I think i have ascertained that i can have 3 beers, and if i stop there, i am fine….i get a nice buzz but i don’t get crazy, and no hangover. the problem is that if theres any more around i WILL drink it till i start to feel nauseous or it’s gone. This sucks because i cant just buy 3 beers here, i have to get a whole 6 pack. So what i try to do is ask someone to split it with me, which works well. Now, i am in no way suggesting anyone who is in recovery try this. Because to be honest there have been a few times when i did go over my limit- not many- and i remembered all of the stuff you posted above..the waking up after only 4 hrs of sleep- bad anxiety , dread, and then taking tylenol..back to ( broken ) sleep until i could drag myself out of bed and do what i had to do for the day. . And i can justify it while i am doing it in that state because it does feel good when i am in the midst of it- laughing with friends, enjoying the evening, etc..but every single time i over do it, it is so unpleasant i am forced to remember that i cannot drink “normally” and if i don’t see a sharp eye on myself, i will sink right back into hell. Good on you for continuing your journey. its never a straight line.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Lovie: yeah, I had a couple of days In my recent “off” period where I split a bottle of wine with a friend- which was perfect. And surprisingly not that hard. I can see how that works for you. But, I know it would be a real struggle for me-definitely right now- to do it every time. I also have had an easy time of getting back on the wagon, but I am very afraid that would not always be the case if I continued. Thanks for your support! 🤗

      Liked by 1 person

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