Life after Dry January

On the penultimate night in January I had a vivid nightmare in which I went on a night out with my best girlfriends. At first it felt dangerous and exciting – like nights in london often do. But as the nightmare progressed things got more seedy and eventually we were at some random guys house in the early hours. The lights were low and there were drugs going – I now had a puppy with me though. The dream then cut to me drunk, on a night bus home with puppy curled up beside me, trying to protect him. Then I looked down and he’d been taken. I searched the streets – heartbroken I’d managed to lose him in my drunk state. Then I’m stranded in the worst estate near my south east london home. Out of the darkness someone pulls a gun on me. I wake up. I’m sweating- there’s a large weight on my legs. It’s my own dog- sprawled and snoring. Thank god he’s here.

I have nightmares about once a month – and tonight was no surprise as BF was away on work and I’m jumpier in the house alone. My neighbourhood is all the best things about london – culturally varied, full of kids who are full of life – but there’s often gang crime on our doorstep and worse, there’s a thriving drug trade and desperate addicts. Break ins are common and I’m anxious at bedtime. Aside from that though the dream seemed to be about my anxiety surrounding drinking and former irresponsibility. It was no fun re-visiting wilder times via my dream which felt like a stark warning or reminder from my subconscious to keep dry if u want to protect your current state of happiness.

I’m not intending to drink anytime soon- but I’ve been hiding in work and avoiding social situations because I’m quite the happy hermit. Plus it’s easier not to drink if you avoid alcohol right? If anything not drinking has been a great excuse to not go out!

The day after my dream I was going to a gig with one of the girls featured in it. I was stressed all day about various things (one thing being wether I’d drink that night) and I knew wine would’ve fixed it shorterm but sober, I’d have to work hard to enjoy the gig and her company without my lubrication.

That’s the thing – I’m protected at home-physically and mentally. Sobriety is easy there. But ‘out’ it’s still work right now to not buy a drink. I suspect now I’ve never really enjoyed going out – just the drinking part made it bearable.

I enjoyed the gig, I enjoyed her, although I did tire as she got more drunk. I left straight after the music and I’m ok with that. I was relieved to be home. I always am. Sometimes the world feels big & scary. I’m a tiny bit concerned I have agoraphobic tendencies? I force myself to do these things, but I just want to be home or at yoga instead Is this ok? Am I building a fortress? Is that dangerous? It’s feels safe to me but is it actually cowardly? Not drinking is one thing but loneliness is another.

As the days get longer & we emerge from hibernation my mates will want to go drinking and I’ll be declining not because I’m not drinking but because I don’t enjoy going out eek. I’m going to try and hang out with more sober people- but who are they? what do sober evening dates even look like? It’s sad to lose people but I feel like it’s inevitable.

Dry Jan is a gimic – but now I’m just sober for real. Im so into it – but those around me aren’t. I’ve never worked hard for a social life – but maybe now as mine dwindles, it’s a good time to design a new drier one?

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