Caggie Dunlop: Why I Went Sober For My Mental Health

Caggie Dunlop: Why I Went Sober For My Mental Health

As we discover ourselves in yet one more lockdown, many people are in search of methods to deal with the myriad mental health implications – loneliness, well being nervousness, monetary insecurity. It is no surprise then that many people flip to consuming. In reality, a latest research from Drinkaware discovered that 26% of us drank extra alcohol in the course of the first nationwide lockdown, between March and June final yr.

So this Dry January, reconsidering our relationship with booze and the longterm well being results of over-drinking could possibly be extra vital than ever.

Right here, former Made in Chelsea star and ambassador for the charity Alcohol Change, Caggie Dunlop, 31, shares how adopting a ‘sober curious’ life-style is the very best factor she’s finished for her psychological well being. That is her sober journey…

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I’ve at all times been somebody who craves escapism. From myself and the world, from work, relationships, or accountability. Or all of the above. It is most likely why I moved international locations so many instances all through my twenties. If there was a chance to flee to house I’d most likely leap on that too. By nature – maybe now thought of somewhat extra balanced – I’ll at all times have an urge for food for the extremities in life; to push boundaries and issues to their very edge. Dwelling that approach all through my twenties nonetheless was exhausting, and shortly grew to become damaging to my mental health.

Maybe it was exacerbated by residing within the limelight in my early twenties, however I’d say it is extra one thing that you’ve in you otherwise you don’t. I feel the hot button is being trustworthy with your self about the way it’s affecting you, and looking for assist when you want it.

As somebody who likes to consider herself as comparatively self-aware, persevering with to drink in a harmful approach was, in essence, an act of self-harm. By definition, doing one thing realizing full effectively the harm it’ll have on you, and the overwhelmingly detrimental repercussions, is an act of self-harm.

The issue with alcohol or any addictive numbing agent you get your fingers on – be it drugs, procuring, playing and even sex – is that after you begin to affiliate it along with your ticket into oblivion, it is laborious to undo that connection. It quickly turns into your default setting when issues get robust. To not point out the truth that it is also broadly accepted, even inspired, inside society.

Drinking creates bonds, breaks down partitions and connects us. Or so we’re advised. However is it a false connection? It’s a social lubricant and most really feel uncomfortable at a celebration and not using a glass of one thing of their hand. At its origins, alcohol was a part of ceremonial acts creating neighborhood and celebration. However now that binge consuming is regular consuming, and downside consuming goes unnoticed, the place will we draw the road?

This was and has been a difficult journey for me; to personalise my relationship with alcohol and name it out for what it’s, somewhat than continuously pretending it was one thing I may do sparsely. Which generally I may. Nonetheless, identical to taking part in Russian Roulette, I by no means knew which shot can be lethal.

I’ve acquired a variety of undignified nicknames by my wild youth, most too crude to say. However one which caught was my alter ego Katrina, appropriately named after the hurricane. Folks generally ask the place she is, and I joke that she is locked in her cage. Or hopefully useless. However she is neither, she is alive and effectively. And I typically catch myself with a mischievous glint in my eye; a glance I do know all too effectively.

However the trick is bringing that a part of myself into my life consciously. Typically, we wish to drink so we’ve free licence to be whoever we wish, do no matter we wish, say no matter we wish. So why not do all of it anyway?

I do know I’ll at all times have that in me; that mischievous aspect that’s scouting for bother. However I’ve discovered the laborious approach that consuming is not for me. It dampens my spirit which sounds foolish, but it surely does. One evening out that makes me really feel low for not less than every week? It simply is not value it.

On very uncommon events after I wish to have fun, after I’m often overseas and in an excellent place, I permit myself to take action. Which signifies that I drink a few times a yr. It is fairly distinctive, however hey, by trial and error, that’s what works for me. I do not fairly resonate with being completely sober, (Katrina does not both.) However a sober-curious life? I’m completely on board. To normalise sobriety simply as a lot as consuming is 100% higher for me, my psychological well being and for society on the entire. I can not think about my life being every other approach now.

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