Dr Hester Wilson, a GP with a special interest in addiction medicine, is happy that more people are viewing a sober night out as a valid choice rather than a “dull and boring” option.
She says alcohol may be legal, but it’s “by far” the substance that causes the most negative impact in our society in terms of work, relationships, family and accidents. Even at supposedly “safe levels”, Wilson says alcohol increases your risk of cancer, heart disease and liver disease.
Dialling back the booze can also have a positive effect on your weight and fitness levels. Plus, Wilson adds, it’s good for mental health. “Alcohol is a depressant, so if you choose no to drink it’s going to improve your mood and level of anxiety.”
She says lots of people drink to “hide their wounds or block out bad feelings”, but that such behaviour only paves the way to “problems with alcohol and your life” in the long term.
Joey couldn’t agree more. She often used drinking as a temporary solution to her problems. The next morning, those problems would come rushing back with full force, coated in a thick layer of self-loathing that left her feeling deflated for the rest of the day.
Nowadays, when Joey rolls out of bed after a sober night out, or one where she only had a tipple, she feels like a different person. “I actually wake up and go, ‘Wow, this is amazing.’ It’s a really good feeling.”
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