Let me tell you a love story. It’s about the longest relationship I’ve had in my life outside of my family. It’s about a close friend who would join me at parties, weddings and celebrations. It’s about a close friend who was always there for me when I felt down, anxious or sad. It’s about a close friend who would, on the surface, make me happy. However this same friend was causing significant damage to my health, causing poor performance at work, and upsetting my relationship with those who were close to me.
Incase you hadn’t guessed it, my close friend is alcohol.
Ever since I had my first taste of being drunk at age 15 in the late ‘90s I’ve been hooked. Over the years the relationship has been up and down. I’ve had highs and lows with alcohol. Some of the most fun days of my life have been enhanced by drinking.
I’ve also had crushing lows where I’ve been so ill I’ve thrown up for days as a result of drinking too much. This hasn’t happened for a while but things were still not right.
I started to notice a brain fog decending on me. I was struggling to concentrate at work. I even made a few mistakes. Why? Was there something wrong with me?
Now I have never drunk alcohol at work but this effect was due to drinking too much at the weekend and occasionally during the week. It was a shock because I had never noticed it before. I’d always been able to get away with my drinking but now at this age of 39 it was catching up with me.
Well, it took not drinking for about 7 days to realise for the fog had lifted and it became clear that it was because of drinking. This made me realise that despite not thinking that I was drinking too much, I clearly am.
If you want numbers, I’d estimate about 8-10 pints a week. Sometimes more. Not a enormous amount by any means, and certainly only a fraction of what I used to drink in my 20s and early 30s. I was fairly wild but that’s another story.
I’m now 22 days sober and thanks to the Reframe App I will be for longer. I don’t want to go back to the way I was before. I just wasn’t enjoying drinking anymore.
I see there being two acceptable paths. One would be to give up forever. The other perhaps drinking once per month.
I’ve yet to decide which. I really do like beer and wine and the thought of never drinking again is rather scary. However I just don’t know if I can return the brain fogged way I was before.
I appreciate this blog is primarily about personal finance but it’s also about personal development so I hope you’ll excuse the foray. I’m posting here for accountability which seems to work for my finances. Wish me luck.
3 thoughts on “Changing my relationship with a close friend”
Brilliant post. An avid reader of your blog but felt as though this was one I could help with a little. I actually stopped drinking over 7 years ago now just before the birth of my daughter.
Long story short I was growing my educational business and couldn’t see me making that a success as well as being a good Dad with drink involved too. It’s been one of the best decisions I ever made. My business was acquired in 2021 and I have a brilliant, hands-on relationship with my daughter and now son.
Your situation sounds a little different in that you seem to like alcohol. I was more of a binge drinker but I think you will gain a lot more than you think from staying sober. There was a great article In the Guardian recently too.
Anyhow. I admire your bravery for writing about this and if you want to chat things over please do let me know.
All the best,
Hi Ryan, thanks so much for the great comment. I read the article you sent and it really resonated with me. Particularly:
“People are asking: ‘Why am I doing this? I’m not getting a lot out of this, and I’m doing it by habit, not by choice,’”
This is basically how I felt. I certainly wasn’t drinking a bottle of wine a day but it wasn’t really enjoyable when I did drink. Twenty eight days in im noticing the amount of time i have is crazy. I’ll need to get some hobbies.
Great to hear about your success following sobriety. From what I’ve read, I think it’s quite common to get a sobriety dividend and I hope to do the same.