The Bliss of a Night Out

[To anyone who might end up reading this, I want to stress that turning to alcohol as a remedy for anxiety is not a solution. Trust me.]

Every now and then I love going out. I even need it in order to catch a break from my complicated life. “Going out” can mean many things: it covers pretty much everything from going to a party with girlfriends or going to a bar with friends to going on a date. All of these happenings usually have one thing in common − DRINKS. Alcoholic drinks, to be precise.

Now I don’t want to come across as an alcoholic and I want to stress that I rarely drink alcohol, but every now and then I need to have a drink or two. I need to make my mind and the ever so present voice inside my head stop for just a few hours and a few (sometimes even just one will do the trick) glasses of wine help me do that. It’s so refreshing when life is suddenly alright and I just say and do the things I want to, without flipping them over again and again inside my head to make sure they’re not a mistake. I can talk to people without being too embarrassed and I feel confident enough to say what I want to say, regardless of whether I might embarrass myself while doing so. The over-thinking stops. I feel self-confident. I act naturally because I’m not ashamed of myself.

Re-reading the above passage almost makes me wonder how I managed to not turn into an alcoholic, given that I feel so much better when I am slightly drunk. The reason for that is probably quite simply the way I feel the day after having a night out with drinks. I’m not talking about the commonly known hangover because I rarely drink enough to actually feel hungover. After drinking, I usually don’t sleep well. I wake up a lot and have rather stressful dreams which prevent me from getting enough rest. As a result I wake up tired the next morning, which is a perfect breeding ground for anxious thoughts. And then the not-so-fun part starts. All the thoughts I didn’t think while being tipsy start bubbling their way through to my conscious mind, as if they had been waiting to do just that and believe me, that is slightly terrifying. In addition to all the thoughts I was going to have anyway, I start fretting about everything I did and and may or may not have said during my night out. I over-analyse the entire event which is quite a debilitating process and I risk overwriting the good memories I previously had of said event with anxiety-ridden thoughts and possibly fake memories, created by my anxious mind long after the night out took place.

So you see that I need to pay attention to whether I can afford to enjoy a few drinks on a night out. Depending on how I feel at the time of the event and depending on whether I have big plans for the upcoming day, I need to evaluate how much (if any) alcohol I can consume without shooting myself in the foot, hence risking to go down a spiral of anxiety and thereby possibly ruining things for myself in the near future.

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