Last weekend I went out for a friend’s birthday. I hadn’t seen her in years, and knew very few on the guest list, so naturally I was nervous about attending. As the event approached, I started incessantly contemplating my decision between going and not going.
My flippancy about turning up to social events – especially ones hosted at the bar/night club – is largely attributed to my dependency on alcohol as a social crutch. Yep, that’s right, whenever I’m spat into some unfamiliar setting, surrounded by unfamiliar faces, I itch for the bottle. Ever since I turned 18 (the legal drinking age in Australia), I have succumbed to the poison which markets itself as bottled confidence. I was high on the shackles of anxiety I could break with a bit of liquor propping my self-esteem, ecstatic over the social butterfly I thought I was transforming into when inebriated.
I lived for the concoction of seemingly zero consequence. For a while it was easy – I’d have a shot or two which would last through the night – I was all talk and dance. Then the exhilaration of being tipsy began to wear off, and I started noticing my anxiety and anti-social behaviour weasle its way back into conversation. Slowly, my drinking crept up, and I would administer shot after shot just to keep that synthetic energy alive, and the awkward, mundane of everyday conversation at bay. This eventually became a habit of mine in any at given social event, until I started to experience periods of blacking out during every instance of drinking.
What an obsessively bad habit I let develop over the past few years. I feel extremely guilty every time I drink now because I don’t know how much of a fool I made of myself the night before. I lose my senses, sometimes my things, and ultimately myself. Yet I lie to myself each and every time – reasoning that first shot to ‘calm the nerves’, which is inevitably followed by another… and another… and another, until all self control is lost.
The bottle captivated me through the alleviation of social anxiety, and now it has morphed into a horrible social dependence that lives within me like a nightmare.
Don’t fall for it like I did.
Don’t succumb to the allure of alcohol like I did, because dependency is real and very, very ugly.
Even more so, don’t rationalise away your problem just because you don’t frequently drink.
Even if you only drink once a month, every few months, or once a year – if you cannot put down that bottle until you are physically impaired, then you have a problem.
Alcohol can seem like a tantalisingly easy and even effective solution to anxiety and depression, but it’s unhealthy, and so very temporary.
Don’t make it your crutch.
Don’t drink beyond the point of consciousness.
Don’t drink beyond the point of redemption.
Here are some resources I’d highly recommend you review, if you suspect you have alcohol dependency: