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BRONNY'S STORY

"I realised I’d been relying on alcohol for confidence that was always there without it."

As I hit my forties, I’ve realised that I don’t bounce back after a big night like I used to.

Quite some time ago when I began frequenting the gay bars, I could’ve started on a Thursday night and ended on a Sunday. That lifestyle seemed socially acceptable as a student, especially a queer one. I found myself recently single again and, on the lookout, to meet some new ladies. At my age attempting a big night out leaves me with a hangover from hell and a dose of anxiety to boot. I’m generally not an anxious person, but when I’m hungover…I can barely leave the house! I’ve found myself forgetting the second half of the night out or how I managed to navigate my way home. That’s when my old friend shame comes to hang out.

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I wake up still drunk sometimes and think that drinking the pain away, hair of the dog is a fab idea – until Monday rolls around and I’m beginning my work week feeling shaky and regretful. Recently I felt like all of the drinking had caught up with me so decided to take a week off, this decision was for my physical and mental health.

"I’m generally not an anxious person, but when I’m hungover…I can barely leave the house!"

I had the realisation that I was smoking more because I was drinking more frequently. What started as a social habit had creeped in to my everyday life. Abstaining from alcohol for an entire week was much harder than I had anticipated, but I came up with strategies of my own to prevent me from drinking. Instead of going out to bars to meet women, I would use other avenues – such as going to classes at the gym or taking my dog to the dog park. I felt fresh after just a week off the drink and cigarettes, being active was giving me more energy and confidence. I realised I’d been relying on alcohol for confidence that was always there without it.

Bronny – 40, Ballarat

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Sharing your story is a great way to get your thoughts out there and it also helps others see they are not alone. Whether you’d like to tell us about your experiences with drinking or you’d like to share strategies you have used to help you reduce your drinking – we’d love to hear from you.

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Supported by VicHealth

The ReThink the Drink project is part of VicHealth's Alcohol Culture Change Initiative.