Tag Archives: no-alcohol month

To Beer Or Not To Beer

10 Feb

So, I did it. For the entire month of January, I am proud (and shocked) to say that not a single drop of alcohol passed my lips. As many of you will know, I wasn’t sure if I was going to last; I cannot remember a time over the last four years or so when I haven’t craved a cool, refreshing beer within a day of my last drink.

But I did end up completing the challenge and I have come out the other side feeling miles better for it. For one, it has proved to me that I can survive social situations with strangers without using alcohol to make myself feel confident. It also made me realise just how much I rely on a good drink (or several) to make myself feel more self-assured.

There’s nothing wrong with having a few cheeky ones to bolster your confidence when you’re out and about at night.  After all, I am pretty sure many relationships would have never started had it not been for the gentle shove of one too many beers. But, like with anything, when you start to rely a little too much on something, it can spell disaster. I have realised that I am at the point where if I don’t have a drink, I feel incredibly insecure. Drinking to me is an easy way to get the conversation flowing. It is also a great way of blocking out all my insecurities; I am so self-conscious of everything I say and do in social situations, so drinking helps me gets rid of these weird barriers I have, which I attribute to shyness.

But being shy, I now realise, is a part of who I am. I can vividly remember when I was a child how I would run and hide when members of our extended family would come to visit. My cousin Marina, on the other hand, would be in the middle of the room putting on a magic show for everyone. As I grew older, it didn’t get much easier, especially as certain life events made me feel less secure, and even more unsure of who I am.

As the years have passed by, instead of addressing some of my insecurities, I have been masking them with alcohol. After one too many Long Islands I can easily forget myself. And while this is all well and good when I still have some sort of control over my actions, I always take it a little too far and end up, as I said in a previous post, in a heap on the floor, crying. Or, even worse, shouting abuse at people for no apparent reason.

I now look back on these types of scenarios in shame – if you have ever seen me in one of my drunkard stupors, you will know exactly what I am talking about. I also pity myself slightly, as I realise that my excessive drinking is just a bad symptom of self-loathing. How can I carry on doing that to myself? Drinking is supposed to be something fun, but it stops being fun when most your nights out end in tears.

Being shy, I now figure, is not such a bad thing. So what if I’m the quietest person at the dinner table? Surely that’s better than being the drunkard tit who is rude to everyone? And who cares if there are awkward silences in a conversation? Downing drinks to fill those silences really isn’t the way forward.

Instead of filling the gaps I have in my life with alcohol, I have decided to start filling them with things that make me feel happy, and, in turn, more confident. The best conversationalists, I have found, are the people who are passionate about what they’re doing with their lives, so I am now seeking out the activities I am passionate about, such as my writing and photography.

There’s nothing better than doing something you’re proud of and then being able to share it with people. This blog, for example, has given a massive boost to my confidence. I get such lovely feedback from my readers, which in turn makes me happy. I started a career in writing because I realised I can spread joy through it, and making people happy has always been something that’s made me happy.  So I should be typing away like there’s no tomorrow! The blog is also a great thing to talk about with strangers at a dinner party. People always love the idea behind it and want to know more, which again, is a great confidence booster.

I would say that so far, this challenge has been the most enlightening. I have learnt more about myself in the space of one month than what I have in more than five years of living in Dubai.  I have always known I am not the most confident of people, but it has taken me all this time to realise that one of the things that was hindering me from growing confidence was the excessive drinking.

It’s now time to take back control of my life and start focusing on things that will actually help me to grow. So, in the future you’re more likely to find me in a coffee shop, writing and shaping my future, rather than in the pub, drinking and stunting it. And you know what? I am damn sure this will turn out to be one of the most important decisions I have ever made.