For years I struggled with the idea of going out. Entering a place where your shirt sticks to your back and where dozens of people are tipsy or drunk, dancing and shouting over the loud music has never been my idea of fun and certainly not one of comfort. Yet, this seemed to be the social thing people do once they reach a certain age. Sometimes this starts in school or otherwise, it definitely does at the start of university. I felt like I needed to go out too. Perhaps to fit in, perhaps to find out what the so described fun was all about, or perhaps for both of these reasons. If you have followed this blog from the beginning, you know that my experience of going out hasn’t always been the best. (Past posts on alcohol: Down It! | Drinking Alcohol or Not? | It’s Real). However, this has now changed and I’m quite proud of it.
I know which drink I like (after trying everything, ‘my’ drink has become rum and coke) and I know how much I can drink. I listen to my body and stop drinking if I notice that it’s affecting me too much and water is always on hand.
The effect is that I not only no longer suffer from hangovers, but I also stay clear of depressive breakdowns and suicidal thoughts. I become a bit louder, as everyone drinking alcohol does, and genuinely enjoy myself.
I enjoy myself the most during pre-drinks, which technically might not be considered as ‘going out’, since they take place inside someone’s house. It’s very much a safe place and generally more intimate. It’s easier to talk to people and to engage with everyone in games. Depending on the company, you yourself can choose which games to play. There are no drinking rules and it’s only about having a good time.
But even going out to pubs, including the ones with dance/pop type of music is something I can enjoy now. I was also sad to leave Aberystwyth because that means I can no longer go out with my favourite group of people in my favourite town. If you had told me three years ago that I’d feel this way I would have laughed. I never thought I would ever enjoy going out or drinking alcohol.
I still wouldn’t say that going out is my favourite activity. It can still require a lot of energy, but every once in a while it’s great and it can be nice to be around your friends in a different setting from the usual, sometimes. I also don’t think alcohol is necessary to have fun, but it can be enjoyable.
I’m proud of being able to drink alcohol, go out and having a good time as it used to cause me massive anxiety. I can’t count the amounts of time I fled a pub or someone’s house on a night out and went home crying. I kept thinking that I was weird or doing something wrong. Why can everyone enjoy it and I can’t? Now, being able to partake in this social activity represents having overcome anxiety. I’ve grown as a person and have made my life more enjoyable as a result.