I remember the moment I knew I was over being the party girl.
I had woken up at 2am with the canvas print from my bedroom wall lying on top of me (apparently the room was spinning so much that the print was freaking me out). I stumbled across the room to my handbag and in it I found a taxi receipt, an empty wine glass, two cold cheeseburgers and about 300 moist towelettes from KFC.
I tried to recall the night before. I remembered walking through Circular Quay with my friend, stopping strangers, shaking their hands and shouting ‘CONGRATULATIONS ON LIFE!’.
Yep, I was that girl.
The annoying drunk person who thinks they’re the life of the party, when they’re really the butt of the joke.
I had absolutely no memory of ordering the cheeseburgers from McDonalds or pulling off ‘The Great Moist Towellette Heist’ at KFC.
The worst bit? The taxi receipt said I arrived home at 8.45pm. The even worse bit? I was old enough to know better.
I knew then that I didn’t want to be the drunk, funny girl anymore. My partying lifestyle had jumped the shark.
From my first bottle of Passion Pop in high school, I was the girl who liked to drink and loved to get drunk. I was never the person at the party who had a few drinks and went home early. I was never the designated driver.
I realise now that you don’t have to be an ‘alcoholic’ to have a problem with alcohol. I’m not sober, I’ve never been to AA, but I know I like myself and my lifestyle a lot more when I just have a couple of drinks and can actually remember the fun I had the night before.
These are a few of the things I learnt once I stopped binge drinking:
Your true friends don’t need you to drink.
A lot of my friendships revolved around getting drunk together, doing crazy shit and then laughing about it for days. And then repeating the process. Without the alcohol-fuelled hilarity, most of these friendships died a natural and pretty swift death.
Having big nights out cost A LOT of money.
I had wasted a lot of money over the years. It all adds up – outfits to wear out, pre drinks, drinks out, taxis and fast food binges in the middle of the night.
I consumed way too many calories after midnight.
Looking back, I ate so much crap that I just didn’t even think about it. Because that large Big Mac meal at 3am doesn’t count, right?
I can’t imagine what it does to your body and your metabolism eating so much junk food in the middle of the night and then sleeping it off. Michelle Bridges would be horrified.
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You can achieve a lot more when you’re not hungover all the time.
I wasted days being hungover and nursing alcohol related injuries. And as I got older the hangovers seemed to last for days.
One time when I was catching up with high school friends in my home town, I apparently nosedived on the dance floor, picked myself up, grabbed another drink and kept on dancing. Because YOLO, right? I woke up the next morning with a huge shiner and no memory of how it happened. I had to hibernate in the house for a week until it healed.
You can be confident and have a good time without drinking.
Looking back, I now see I had to be drunk to be able to go out. It was all about getting blind drunk and then socialising, rather than drinking to be social. I had absolutely no concept of ‘drinking in moderation’.
I started catchphrases that I had no memory of. Old friends often say to me “Remember that night when…” and I look at them blankly. Nope. I don’t remember. Big chunks of my twenties are blank. I’m sure I was having a bloody great time, but I don’t remember it.
When you’re always blind drunk, people don’t take you seriously.
Looking back, I realise a lot of my identity was tied to my drinking and being the life of the party. And I was really proud of this reputation for a long time. I apparently took over the speeches at my own 21st because I didn’t think my friends were telling my drunken war stories well enough. I can’t really remember this, of course.
I now realise it’s so much more fulfilling being the sober, smart, witty girl with some life goals and a decent sleep pattern, than the drunk, funny girl.
At least now I can remember my own jokes.