On drinking alcohol *twice* in the last year

Late last July 2021, I arrived back home from the island of Madeira in Portugal.

I’d spent a glorious two months there in the digital nomad village of Ponta do Sol, staying just a stone’s throw from the ocean and surrounded by a friendly community of both digital nomads and locals.

I let myself have a drink or two there, but I’d already started to realise that drinking wasn’t so much for me.

I remember when I first started drinking… I’d tasted beer once or twice before going to uni, but really it was aged 18 that I started drinking alcohol — it was the “done thing”, and I quickly realised that my favourite drinks were the ones that tasty more fruity and not-so-alcoholic… go-to’s became JD & coke (or Jamieson when I worked in the City and wanted to appear more sophisticated), and I had a penchant for Jaeger-bombs, too. Needless to say, not a lot of sleep happened when I hit the Jaegers. (Stimulation from alcohol, people, music *and* red bull… c’mon Jas. You shoulda known better buddy).

I’d watched TV shows like The Hills in my teens and figured that, once I got to uni, I’d be drinking, get myself a girlfriend amongst all the young women throwing themselves at me, and be loving life.

It didn’t quite turn out like that (I dropped out of uni twice, and I was deeply unhappy for large periods of my time there… I am, currently, loving life though); I would drink, feel terribly hungover, and then feel groggy the next day.

After dropping out the second time and in need of some kind of “proper job” to prove to myself (and my parents) that I wasn’t destined to be a failure for the rest of my life, I worked in the city for 5 years, and would often drink after work with clients or colleagues. Again, knackered and hungover.

(The dancing was worth it, though I’m not sure about the Jamiesons and Jaegers…)

I can’t help feeling that, all along, I was never really supposed to drink. I enjoyed the fruitier drinks (not beer or wine), and I could always have a great time without drinking. Give me good company + good music and I’m good to go!

What I’ve noticed is that, for many ADHD and sensitive folks (HSP), we seem to have an interesting relationship with alcohol/substances and addiction.

I can’t tell you how many of these souls I’ve met who have shared with me an addictive behaviour of some kind, whether it be through drugs, alcohol, sex / love addiction, or gambling.

I have had a porn/online addiction myself, which I — gratefully — now have under control, but I still need to keep tabs on things (no pun intended).

For whatever reason — perhaps it’s over-sensitivity, or perhaps a desire for stimulation, us ADHD folks need to be a little more careful with alcohol and other vices. ‘In moderation’ can slowly slip into a habit that forms to our detriment.

Which brings me back to the point of this piece.

Since getting back from Madeira last last July 2021, I’ve had a grand total of TWO drinks.

One was a pink Gordon’s G&T can (classy, I know), and one was a Corona beer in the sun last week. 🍸🍺

📷 Chilling out in Madeira in Summer 2021. Soon after this photo was taken, that glass (with drink inside) was smashed by a rogue flotation device. In the moment, it was quite amusing. Looking back? Perhaps a sign.

Both of these two, measly drinks hit me harder than they would the average person. I felt light-headed after the G&T, and my body felt really warm after the Corona. (To clarify, I consumed these on separate occasions).

It’s likely down to the fact that my body has delightfully gotten used to the absence of alcohol, and so any alcohol hits me harder than it did back in my early-twenties but, seriously, I felt them both.

Alcohol can lead me to making not-so-wise choices. One thing can lead to another.

And, honestly, the overall cost just isn’t worth it.

I don’t even like the taste of “normal” alcohol, for goodness’ sake!!

And so I was proud of myself for just being able to have “the one”.

And — oftentimes — having no alcohol at all, despite being with others who drink, or in locations with others who drink (it’s not unusual for me to work from pubs during these summer months), or with well-meaning but persistent uncles who just need to understand that Jas.doesn’t.want.a.drink.thank.you.very.much.

JOEY DOESN’T SHARE FOOD!!! and Jas doesn’t want a drink, Uncle.

All of that to say, I feel all the better for hardly drinking since last Summer.

And over the coming 365 days, I’m challenging myself to only have 1 drink, or none at all. Let’s see how I get on.

ps. Later this month, I’m due to be in Austria and the Czech Republic for a few days. Cheap drinking in the latter, I hear. I’ll be alcohol-free as I really want to be able to say I’ve only had two drinks in the whole of the last year ;)

So it’ll be water, soft drinks, juices & decaf coffees for me.

Oh, and good music, of course!

#SoberJas ✌️🕺

📝 This entry originally appeared in jasraj’s journal {journal.jasraj.me}

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Jas Hothi

writer. author of The Indie Author. showing up in the world as an artist, sharing my journey with you as it unfolds... ✍️ | website: https://indiewriter.net