Is Drinking in Midlife Worth It?
During three decades of drinking, my buzz became less fun. I began to question if drinking was worth three-day hangovers. That first stage of getting drunk was my favorite, but after half of a glass of wine, I lost the buzz and went into a different realm of drinking — one of lashing out and crying for no reason.
My drinking evolved into drunk behavior that no midlife woman should ever endure.
My drinking at forty-five was no longer cute. I had become a drunk in the middle of life.
The realization didn't hit me until about 90-days into my sobriety. I didn't quit because I stopped loving alcohol; I quit drinking because my body was changing during perimenopause, and I was sick of fighting it.
I fought my body by pouring copious amounts of Chardonnay down my throat in one sitting and trying to justify still being the party girl. You know, the party girl that started drinking in 1982, who still has a reputation to uphold while she sat on the couch in her home watching Lifetime movies.
On August 11, 2013, I realized the buzz, and the party girl had left the building, and what remained was a middle-aged drunk woman with ringing ears and regret. I knew in my heart that there would never be the fun days of yesteryear when it came to me and my drinking buzz.
The mental and physical effects of life after the (midlife) buzz were many:
- Passing out
- Blacking out
- Waking up in a pool of sweat at 3:00 a.m. and not going back to sleep
- Elevated anxiety and panic
- Dry (old looking) skin
- Cotton-mouth that Niagara Falls couldn't quench
- The shakes (oy vey, the shakes!)
- Foggy brain
- Morning dread
- Fear and worry over the smallest of things
- A hunger that sent me to Del Taco at 8:00 a.m. the next morning
- Guilt, regret, and shame
- Heightened Perimenopause experiences (heart palpitations, aches, and pains)
- Migraines that I had never experienced
- Two-Three day hangovers
I could go on, but chances are if you are reading this post, you are a woman in the middle of life who gets it.
As we age, we metabolize alcohol differently; our hormones are imbalanced, and we are tired AF from restless nights. Adding over-drinking into the mix worsens our daily lives and causes us to waste way too much time playing catch up. Hangovers do not belong in the middle of life - we have too much living to do!
From the list above, which one stands out to you the most? Do you find yourself lashing out? Do you find yourself romanticizing the buzz instead of focusing on the next day consequences? I did; I went for instant gratification instead of thinking about how tomorrow would feel.
My favorite thing to say was I need a drink! F** the consequences!
In sobriety, without the buzz, I was forced to face my reality, which included all of my past consequences. The lash-outs, the misspoken words, and the shame of who I had become. I began to unravel bits and pieces of my actions and ask myself, was it worth it?
Was the buzz worth the expense of my dignity and self-respect? Was it worth losing relationships? Was the buzz worth struggling through the first few years of perimenopause?
No, it wasn't.
If you are a beautiful woman in the middle of life who is questioning if drinking is worth it, take a break from it and decide. I didn't think that alcohol had that much of a negative impact on my life until I was about 90-days into quitting.
My experience is that sobriety is 100% worth the time and the effort it takes to live a happy and clear life free from guilt, shame, and regret.
I hope that this post finds you where you are on your alcohol-free journey, and helps you know you are not alone.
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