How Running Helped Me Overcome My Harmful Weekend Binge Drinking
It’s 8am here and I’m wide awake and I’m in a great mood. The sun is shining, the birds are singing and your mother is on line 1.
It wasn’t always this way for me on Saturday mornings.
For most of my early 20’s I’d get wasted every weekend.
I’d drink to get drunk. I used to pre-load a lot in the house with spirits to try to save some money. Then it got to the point where I was pre-loading for some Dutch courage.
I’d start out friendly. I’d repress all negative sentiment. Then I’d drink some more and start to hurt inside a little.
Then something inside my head would switch and I’d typically become very depressed. I could never understand where the mood came from and assumed it was someone else’s fault.
I simply didn’t know when to stop drinking. I was always chasing peace of mind through the bottle thinking that I’d eventually hit a sweet spot where I’d see the light, my life would come in clear focus and I’d find the answers.
This could end in a number of ways and it’d never be good.
- I’d take to Twitter or Facebook and start on some rants. Religion and politics were my favourite topics. I used to take pride in alienating as many people as possible.
- I wouldn’t wake until about 1pm the next day as I knew I’d have a lot of clearing up to do on Facebook, Twitter and via SMS. It was exhausting trying to cover my tracks. The hangover paranoia was dreadful and absurd ideas would enter my brain.
“Oh fuck, I didn’t piss in the wardrobe, did I?”
- If I was out at a bar I’d typically fall asleep at our table and be escorted off the premises. During the height of my drinking days in 2006-07 this happened every other week. Fortunately the bouncer at my local the time was one of my best friends at school and would just walk me out.
- I used to be sick a lot and I mean a fucking lot. Every Saturday morning my dad would pop his head around my door and ask ‘All you alright Son?’ which really meant ‘I hope you aren’t fucking dead you derelict!’. I regret not getting my shit together whilst he was still around. Fuck.
- I’d be so depressed the next day that the only way I could feel better would be with shit tons of junk food. My personal favourite was a large lamb doner kebab with BBQ sauce.
Why was I drinking so much?
Well the truth is that I wasn’t very happy with who I was at the time. I had no other outlet for my frustrations so I just took to a drug to open up.
How I drink now
My drinking as a runner has changed quite a bit for the better.
I try not to exceed any more than a bottle of wine and a 500ml bottle of Weston’s cider at the weekends.
Any more than that and my chances of shitting myself on the run quadruple.
There have been a few occasions at office parties where I’ve drank more than this and I guess it’s OK once in a while, but I’m wary of it turning into a habit.
The important point is that I always need to be in a state where I can run the next day.
Even if I do have a little bit of a hangover I can run it off if I haven’t drank to excess.
I’m still not 100% perfect
There was an awful period between my first and second marathons where my drinking became a problem again and I wouldn’t be able to run because of the pain inside my head.
I think I am susceptible to problems like this. When I took my first drink I remember thinking “wow, everything is so much better now, my mind is still!”. That should have set off serious fucking warning signals in my head.
If any drug immediately provides a solution for you then it will come back and become a bigger problem.
What’s my point with all of this? Running has helped me overcome my binge drinking to a large extent. I no longer create anymore unnecessary emotional pain in my life.
I’m now in a position to work through all of the old shit.
Without becoming a runner this wouldn’t have been possible.