The Many Crappy Side Effects of Alcohol (Part II)

I’m writing this for me and for anyone reading this that may have been sober long enough to forget the horrible side effects of boozing. Personally, I keep staying sober for weeks (and loving it!), but then deciding to drink again for a while before hopping back on the wagon. It isn’t terrible, I suppose, EXCEPT that it seems to be getting easier and easier to give in to the temptation. And I’m afraid there WILL come a time when I don’t want to stop. I’m also fairly sure now that I’m sabotaging my long-term health and wellness goals. Also, drinking now that I’ve been sober for a period of time is often not as much fun as I remember. Wow. So many reasons. And, yet, I keep doing it even though I also want to keep the sobriety going and have a real fear of returning to my past. Which brings me to more reasons not to drink:

Insomnia!

Broken sleep and insomnia were my constant companions during the last few years I was drinking too much wine nearly every night. For a while, I woke up at 3 a.m. on the dot at least three or four times every week, and I could only rarely go right back to sleep (after guzzling water and ibuprofen, of course). More often, I was awake for hours until I finally got tired enough to sleep again. If luck was with me, I would get a couple of hours of rest before I had to get up to go to work. Occasionally, I would have to call in sick to work because I was never able to go back to sleep at all. I am a person that just can’t function without enough sleep. Then, as explained in my last post, I also started to turn to alcohol to put me back to sleep. When I think about it now, I can see how crazy that is.

When I was in my teens, twenties, and early thirties, I never had any trouble sleeping (even after I started drinking booze), but sometime in my mid-to-late thirties, everything changed. At first, it seemed the inevitable byproduct of having an incredibly stressful job. Then (after finally getting pregnant and quitting the job), it was having a child who was a difficult sleeper and being a mom with (sometimes debilitating) postpartum anxiety. After I stopped breastfeeding and my daughter started (finally!) sleeping through the night, I could start up my wine habit in earnest again. And the insomnia and middle-of-the-night wakings just got worse. Even though I wondered if maybe it was just part of getting older, I suspected it was really the booze that was the culprit — a suspicion that was confirmed when I finally quit drinking and started sleeping.

When I woke at 3 a.m. on the morning of my latest (and hopefully last) day one, it all came rushing back. With a fierce hangover, I was exhausted but unable to sleep. Misery!

Anxiety!

OK. My most recent trip off the wagon began when I had something happened at work that really triggered my insecurities and anxiety. For the first time in a long while, I was very, very anxious and couldn’t figure out what to do with myself. Now, my neighbor and close friend had asked me a few days before if I would PLEASE drink some wine with her, and I said I didn’t want to, but … it got the old booze wheels turning in my head. So, primed, when my partner asked me several times if he could get me some wine to help me stop the horrible anxiety stress party in my head, I finally said yes, And, you know what? It did help. Briefly and for a few hours only. Then, in the morning, I was still anxious and also felt shitty.

I know this isn’t a healthy way to deal with my anxiety. I am on meds for this, and they really help. But, I know I need some way to deal with the rare sneak attacks that just send me spinning. Alcohol is a crappy way to self-medicate. I could get some other doctor-approved drug for the emergency times. I suppose I feel like I should be strong enough to wait it out or exercise it away or something. No real answers here, yet. But I do know alcohol isn’t the answer.

Making bad situations worse!

There are many more terrible side effects, of course, but the last one I recently remembered was that alcohol tends to make bad situations worse. Especially misunderstandings with friends and family. There is no argument that is properly resolved when at least one party involved is drunk. And many more that are needlessly started. There is no ex-boyfriend that can’t be embarrassingly flirted with if alcohol is involved. If it always remained fun and friendly (and with proper boundaries!) when people are boozing, maybe the hangovers would be worth it (once in a while!). But, we all know it doesn’t.

One other thing I know is that I was happy to wake up sober this morning, and I’m not going to drink today.

With love and support to all of you.

xoxo

Leafy

10 thoughts on “The Many Crappy Side Effects of Alcohol (Part II)

  1. I’m just like you: can’t function without sleeping (my “bare minimum” is 8 hours lol). Ditching the booze really had improved my sleep too. Thanks for all these reminders 🙂 Oh, and PS. “I suppose I feel like I should be strong enough to wait it out or exercise it away or something” : having anxiety is NOT a sign of weakness!!!! You ARE strong and it is normal and ok to feel overwhelmed during a peak anxiety moment, it is NOT a sign of weakness. xxx ❤ Anne

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Anxiety is the worst, I echo what nomorebeer states, you are so strong and resilient. Just tell yourself if you can survive the sleepless nights of a newborn and all the hormones that can go with it, you can survive anything ♡
    Love your posts, was really tempted this weekend and your posts really helped thank you xx

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Honestly Leafy, I really understand a lot of this and can connect with the feelings. Anxiety, poor sleep, post natal depression, taking days off work due to feeling so crap and tired. In fact I haven’t had a day off sick since I gave up … now that is something for me!

    It is such a bad way for us to medicate but I too have the voices telling me to just have one or two to take the edge off. A recent emotional discussion with my husband about how we are both feeling ended with me saying perhaps I should drink again and maybe we’d both be happier. Luckily he told me that’s the last thing I should do. I am going to start counselling again. It might not be for you but it could help with the anxiety.

    You are doing brilliantly, remember that. No one says total sobriety from the get go is the only way to do this and people will achieve it via different routes. There are no rules. You take it one step at a time. I think reflecting on the negatives is really useful and has actually been good for me to do. Nice post 🤗😘❤️

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Counseling is awesome! I actually have been seeing a therapist for a while. It is really helpful. When I was going off the deep end when my daughter was tiny, she pulled me out. I’m glad your husband replied how he did. That’s a good sign, I think. Many hugs! 😘

      Liked by 1 person

  4. You are reminding me of just what I need to hear! Like you I have gone long periods of not drinking but I always cave, and regret it. So far it seems to be repetitive, hoping to break that cycle this time but all we can do is do our best. Now that’s I’m in my late 40’s when I drink I just get really tired and loopy and then I usually fall asleep. There’s nothing fun about that for me or others around me. Tonight I am going to bed sober and happy, that I will be happy for a nice early morning cup of coffee….ahhhhh…Thanks for posting!!! You are doing awesome!!

    Liked by 1 person

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