Departure from the norm

I have been weighing up writing this post for a long time, and as the title says this not a post related to food its something that little bit different to the norm. In May of this year I set about change, a change in my life that was firstly physical but has turned into a mental change. The physical part of the change was to try and get trim for my holidays this meant cutting out all manner of junk and kopping myself on, certainly a routine I was used to at this stage and somehow I think its a battle I will engage in many times again in my life. I did lose some much needed weight and was trim for my holidays which delighted me as it proved I still have it in me to get rid of weight that I put on due to excess every now and again. I have since come off the above diet and in reality gained some pounds back on but as I said its an on going battle to stay away from the thought of being called Marshmallow man, Earthquake, Burger King or the Michelin Man. I digress however as this is not about weight loss I will keep that for another time, this is about the 1 thing I cut out in May of this year and have managed to stay free from with the exception of 3 beers whilst on holiday. I have been trying to stay off all manners of alcohol for the best part of 7 months now. They say ( they being supposed experts) that staying off alcohol whilst trying to get fit is key as there are a crazy amount of empty calories in wine and beer that gets easily converted in to stored body fat. 

Now I would like to think since I met Joanne I have curbed my drinking, the matter of fact is that I was a binge drinker from the years 2006 - 2010. I spent 4 years in college (2002-2006) with hardly any alcohol touching my lips partly due to social anxiety and not wanting to go out down to my body size, what was the point? is what I thought, I associated going out with meeting someone, a 24st bloke isnt going to meet anyone but himself staring back in the mirror. However my 4 years in college of sobriety is punctured with one moment of stupidity which I have spoken about before. One afternoon I had gone drinking in first year with some of my mates, a few beers in town and back to one of the girls houses for some more, I stupidly bought a bottle of whiskey in the off license before heading back to her house. What was I thinking? I had only had a sip every now and again of whiskey at home, I think I was trying to impress the lads, I am not sure because the mess that ensued wasn't one that would leave an impressive memory. We got back to the house and I sank the whiskey in about 30 minutes, a full bottle of whiskey, I was legless in no time. My parents had to be called to the house, with my mates carrying me out to the car, I was an embarrassment to myself, I let myself think in order to be cool I needed to drink an inexplicable amount of alcohol. It was however quite the opposite, as I was carried into my home by my dad both him and my mum were disgusted by my behavior. That was the last time I drank any significant alcohol in 4 years of college.

When I started work in Dell in 2006, I met a whole new group of friends and this time in order for me to make friends I now had to be social and drink on the regular. I did so but invariably I was drunk 2-3 times a week for a year, I drank far too much alcohol just to repress my social anxiety of being around new people and meeting new people. It helped me get over my nervousness, alcohol does help you with that, it makes it easier to talk to people, that is of course in the that in between phase before you are drunk. Thankfully getting a car in 2007 slowed things down a little bit and I was inclined to go out boozing less as I wanted to be able to drive my car, I also think I lost some friends because of it. I stopped going out as regular as I once did which meant I was outside the circle again, back to being who I was in college the guy who never goes out. In 2009 I started my weight loss program, and the first thing I did was to cut out alcohol, I did that for 9 months. I then moved to Dublin in late 2009, and being lonely being away from home all I did or could do I thought was turn to drink, whats worse is I was at point where I would have a beer in my room or a glass of wine, this behaviour is not good. I was back going out again, and as ever perennially single, thinking back who wants or is interested in chatting to a drunk? I may have shifted weight and improved my appearance but I was still hampered by my social anxiety and its cure ( or supposed cure ) in alcohol. Fortunately in August 2010 I met Joanne, and Joanne isnt a big drinker, she will tell you herself that 2 glasses of wine and she is done for the evening. She slowed my drinking down, no more drinking by myself and no more binging on booze. The last time I was drunk was August 2011, on night out with my mate Damien, we sampled a crazy amount of beers which left me a steaming wreck for the following Friday morning in work. What must have my office co worker thought of me, and it brought me back to thinking of how I would turn up for work on Fridays in Dell, hungover and barely functional. From that day on things have slowly but surely changed, I didnt really drink beer much since then and drank mostly wine. I thought I was becoming a connoisseur in wine at one stage as per some of my other blog posts, but in reality I hadnt and still dont have a clue about it. 

Bringing this post back somewhat in to the present, I have been out a handful of times on the town since coming off alcohol, only this time there is no anxiety, no fear and I am enjoying myself. I am learning that I can enjoy myself chatting to people and dancing of course ! I love to get up out of my seat and go for what I call mess about on the dancefloor. I have spent more time of late thinking about my decision to stop drinking, there has been times I have craved a glass of wine but I have stayed true. I would love to couple what I have done in to something but there is nothing, its not a religious decision, its not a health decision, its like I have moved on from needing alcohol to bring myself out and display it to everyone else. I have learned I dont need alcohol to take the edge off anymore, I dont need it to be able to talk to people or open up myself up. Friend of mine said to me recently the following; when your friends are all getting married they are asking you when are you getting married, then when you are married they are asking when are ye having kids. Why should we pander to the wants and needs of others for people who ask me "why dont you drink Will" I dont drink cause I have made a decision to stay off it, I dont need it in my life. We should be able to make decisions for ourselves and not rely on what society dictates what we should do or think. I am able to have the exact same amount of fun of which I never thought I would have staying away from alcohol. I would like to hope I can stay true to my decision in the future. I have no malice or opinion on what others do and how much they drink, its their choice what they do with their lives. 

My mind now feels much clearer now in the choice I have made. I was at my work's Christmas party on Friday and my only conversation tomorrow morning is how much fun I had on the dancefloor with my mates safe in the knowledge that some folk I am sure looked upon me Friday as being locked otherwise I wouldnt been up on the dance floor acting the eejit, whereas I know I enjoyed every bit of Friday evening. 

Thank you for reading and I hope it makes sense somewhat. 

Will

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