By Leah Sheppard
There is an illusion we create for ourselves that drinking and going out will make everything better: It’s fun; It will lift you out of the depression; You might meet someone special…When we drink the world seems fun and free of constraints, and in a way you feel more alive than ever. You speak freely, you express how you really feel and the people drinking with you are often doing the same.
Herein lies the problem: EVERYTHING comes to the surface; Not only the fun- loving, funny, and sexy side of you, but any pain, loneliness, anger, sadness and desire to be with someone comes out too. A lot of this stuff you may have thought you had dealt with and moved on from, but deep down inside, the stuff we hide even from ourselves, is in full view for yourself and anyone around you.
Getting over a breakup should be treated just like driving when it comes to alcohol: Stay under the limit. Being drunk means our ability to stop or manage the Pandora’s box of emotions running amok in your brain right now is severely diminished, and getting drunk will only end in heartbreak and deeper pain for yourself all over again. We allow a very private and vulnerable side of ourselves to be broadcasted to the world in an environment that is not geared for healing. All of our emotions, painful or otherwise are also heightened in our minds, and we become painfully aware of the perceived voids in our lives, and our desire to fill them. We over share to people we shouldn’t, we overreact to things we don’t need to, we hit on work colleagues or people already in relationships; and we go home with strangers just to feel wanted again, only to be left all over again in the morning. And worse, as we assess the ‘damage’ in the morning, an overwhelming sense of guilt, shame and regret floods in, and delays your healing progress until you can forget it ever happened.
Obviously we are not always blind drunk, with our emotional pain/insecurities on display for the world to see. Often we can stop at one or two and leave it at that. The issue here however is not about your ability to ‘hold your liquor’, but more about your emotional strength at the time. We can go past the ‘tipsy’ stage into ‘off-your-face’ very easily at any normal time in our lives, but when we go through an emotional trauma, the euphoria of not having it at the forefront of our minds makes us want the night to never end. So we drink more, feel less, & repeat.
I know it hurts being alone, and I understand the waves of emotions you feel every single day. It is easy to think that drinking and going out will fix it, but it won’t. In order to deal with these emotions, you need to create an environment safe enough to do so. Drinking will make an already challenging emotional situation much worse, no matter where you do it or whom you do it with. So here is my advice: take some of the challenge away and don’t drink at all for a while. Deal with the very real pain you are feeling in the right way. The Proseccos and nights to ‘let loose’ will all be there when you’re better; just give yourself a fighting chance to get well first.