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I have a love/hate relationship with alcohol.

There are times I enjoy a drink or two, then there are times when the thought of drinking anything alcholoc is repulsive.

Over the past few years, I have cut back on the amount of alcohol I drink. When I was at university and travelling, I used to drink a lot.

Looking back, I was drinking stupid amounts of alcohol. There was really no point in doing so.

The problem is that the drinking culture in the UK is so deeply ingrained you are a pariah if you don’t touch the stuff.

One of the reasons I have scaled back on my drinking is because of what alcohol does to me.

When I’m drunk, I don’t like who I am. The drunk me has no resemblance to how I am on a daily basis.

I’m introspective, reserved, perhaps even shy. When I drink alcohol and get to a certain state of drunkenness, all of the above goes out of the window.

While I’m sure this is true for most of us, it’s still an uncomfortable fact. There are a lot of things I’ve done when I’ve been drunk that I’m not fond of. Looking back, I can’t help but wonder what I was thinking!

Was it all in the name of fun? Was it worth it? What was the point?

Whenever you’ve been out in the UK, one of the things that quickly gets asked the following morning is, was it a good night?

The previous night’s incidents and events get discussed at length and then everyone gives their verdict on whether it was a ‘good night’ or not.

What constitutes a ‘good night’ could range from someone doing something stupid to everyone being so hammered they couldn’t remember their own name.

I have been on many of these nights out. I have also been the person that has ended up doing something stupid on numerous occasions.

While it’s nice to get the affection of your peers and be called a legend for whatever you did, I can’t help but look back on some of these things and cringe.

One incident was when I was out with my friends dressed in reindeer onesies. I was steaming drunk, I could barely stay awake at this point.

For whatever reason, I felt compelled to squeeze ketchup all over my face and pretend to be Hannibal Lecter!

This incident evokes a lot of laughs from my friends to this day, but I look back on it and wince.

I was five years younger back then, I wasn’t as mature as I am now, but what was I thinking?

It was a stupid incident that was indicative of what I was like back then. Another incident occurred when I was living in Barcelona.

I had gone out for some drinks with fellow teachers and drank a bit too much wine. I came back to my apartment and ended up going out with my flatmates.

After drinking more alcohol, I got into a state of blind drunkenness. Even now, I can barely remember what happened.

All I remember is traipsing around Barcelona trying to make my way back to my apartment and nearly getting arrested by the police for kicking a beer can over.

I woke up the next morning with a brutal hangover and a lost phone. What was the point?

All I had to show for all my drinking was a brutal headache and a need for a new phone.

When I’m drunk I lose all sense of decency and become an idiot. This is not how I want to live my life. I don’t want to get drunk and do stupid stuff, because what is the point?

What does it prove?

There is no pride in being the person who can drink the most. There is no joy to be found in being the one who can do the stupidest stunt.

Tying your self-worth into what you do when alcohol is involved is a stupid way to live your life. It’s too short to place all your esteem on this such a trivial part of life.

Binge-drinking was fun when I was 18 and drinking legally for the first time, now I just don’t see the point.

I see no need to drink copious amounts of liquid that turns me into someone I don’t like or recognise.

Living for the weekend and waking up on Monday still feeling the effects of a too much alcohol are just things I don’t want to experience anymore.

Life is too short to be acting like I am still in university, free of responsibility. I would rather retain an equilibrium of mind than morph into my drunken alter-ego.

I’ve realised that I can enjoy myself by having a few drinks and not getting to a stage where I become a shell of myself.

I don’t want to get into my 30s and 40s and find myself still doing the same things I used to do in my early twenties involving alcohol.

Life is about growth and self-awareness, becoming a better person, not carrying on the same bad habits when you know they aren’t good for you.

There are many things I want to accomplish and sacrificing them to have a ‘good night’ every now and again is just not worth it.

While I don’t want to stop drinking alcohol, I enjoy the odd pint every now and again, the days of drinking to excess are over.

Abstaining from alcohol is not the answer, drinking responsibly is.

Then I won’t have to stare into the abyss and lurch back when I don’t like what is looking back at me.

Excessive alcohol consumption turns me into someone I don’t like or recognise, I think it’s time I say goodbye to that person.

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I like to write. I like to travel. https://www.thetravellingtom.com Join my email list -> https://tomstevenson.substack.com/

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