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Anxiety and alcohol

Updated: Sep 18, 2023

Everyone likes a drink…..right? Ever since my late teens I have always loved a few beers, couple of glasses of wine or, well anything really! Having a few drinks and a laugh with friends or family is always something I have loved doing.

Like most, I am sure, I have had the odd “mad” night, weekend or even week where drinking took priority. Granted these are usually get togethers', birthday celebrations or stag do’s but always surrounded a celebration or a good old letting your hair down session after a work project or tough few weeks.

Just over a year ago, roughly, I had a severe breakdown. Anxiety and depression hit me like a train. I have suffered in small, mostly manageable bouts of both for years but this was different, this was scary! I remember waking up in the early hours of a Sunday with my entire body shaking, riddled with a deep fear and still to this day, I do not know why.

I felt this would pass, maybe a bad dream or even a bug that had hit me in the night, but it didn’t, the feeling lasted for a few weeks, each night the same, lying in a pool of sweat, shaking and full of fear.

I remember at one point I felt so ill and so scared I had convinced myself I was going to die, “no one can feel so ill and make the night” I thought, often crying myself to sleep, when I could, with the feeling.

For a good two weeks I didn’t eat or drink a thing, losing nearly 2 stone in weight and after around 10-14 days of this, lucky me, it was my birthday.

Although I looked like a very skinny ghost my friends where unaware of what had been happening and my best friend took me for a birthday meal. I remember being scared at the thought of eating, which is very unlike me! However, before hand he took me for a couple of drinks….. I managed to force down a couple of pints (which on a very very empty stomach did the intended) it was a MIRACLE! The fear, the nerves, the worry went away and I have never eaten so quickly in my life!

I woke u the next morning, pretty much the same, still fearful and knotted but I had a genius thought, “I know” the local pub is open 12-2pm, perfect! I can have a couple of beers to settle my stomach and grab some lunch, a great idea (maybe not) Although it did have the desired effect at the time, I had found the answer to all of my problems!

This carried on for a week or so until my body, thankfully returned to normal, but something had changed in me, the drinking was becoming a problem!

I would find myself watching the clock till 12 to get to the pub, have a chat and catch up with the landlord, get my couple of pints and get through the day, after a couple of weeks this then turned to 12-2, and 5-9 at the pub, with a couple of cans from the shop on the walk home for good luck!

My anxiety had gone but I had replaced it with something much darker and dangerous!

I would say this cycle carried on for easily 2-3 months, if you had said to me I had drank 40-50 pints per week I would not have been surprised until one day I must have had 15 pints and I was so drunk I had a blazing argument with my mum (we never argue), a mum who has done nothing in her life but support me, and I didn’t even know until a very frosty conversation the next day. I knew I had to make a change!

This all came to a head around 6/7 months ago and to this day I am still working on my consumption, but it is getting better and I am finding more strength to say no to myself. Whilst this is a long walk down a happy memory lane the real aim of writing this, as well as to get it off of my chest, is to make something clear.

Alcohol IS NOT THE ANSWER, not to fear, not to worry, not to anything. It did nothing but make me feel ill and pretty disgusted in myself if honest!

If I had spoken to my friends right way, if I had seen the doctor, if I had gone for a run would any or all of these things helped me, absolutely. I am not going to sit here and wax lyrical about my miraculous recovery, I still drink, probably more than I should but from my personal experience, please consider all the help of family, friends and professionals around you before finding peace in the bottom of a pint glass.

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