Being Different: On Saying No To Alcohol – Ellie-Louise Des Baux

Featured, Lifestyle, Mental Health

Hi, I’m Ellie-Louise, a freelance writer and self-love advocate! When I’m not writing articles for my clients, you can find me writing for my blog, Ellie’s Entries, or practising yoga! Over on my Instagram (@ellie_desbaux), I talk a lot about self-love, body confidence and mental health, and what I want to talk about today ties into exactly that!

If you would like to see more from me you can check out my links here: https://linktr.ee/elliedesbaux

Before I dive into this article, I want to say a huge thank you to Chloe for this series and letting me tell my story! I can’t wait to read everyone else’s.

What makes you different?

Growing up I struggled a lot with my mental health and fitting in, so when my teenage years came about and everyone started drinking, I saw it as a safe haven for friendship and unity. I was finally deemed cool enough to be invited to parties. Unfortunately, a poor mental state and alcohol didn’t mix very well for me.

It’s like mixing red wine with vodka, been there, done that, I don’t recommend it! 

As the years went by I was labelled the ’emotional drunk’ and really didn’t understand what limits were. I didn’t know what to do. If I got drunk people, who didn’t know me very well, would complain about me being a wreck, but if I didn’t they would call me boring. It may sound crazy, but the latter scared me the most. I have always been the boring one, the one who didn’t dance, the one who didn’t take risks, I couldn’t chance it.

So, after years of regretting every night out and torturing myself mentally for the things I did or said when I was drunk – I decided to try and cut back on drinking. It didn’t happen all at once. I found it hard to visit old friends because it was easy to fall back into old habits and trips to the pub seemed alien without alcohol.

As I have grown and began to transform my mindset, I realised saying no to alcohol was the best decision I’ve ever made. It’s still a journey and some people don’t understand but it was a big part of me starting to love myself and forgiving my past.

What is bad about why you are different?

From growing up in London and working in Soho, you quickly learn that everything revolves around booze. The drinking culture was out of control and sometimes I still crumble under the pressure. I couldn’t keep up with the drinking, as soon as the words left my mouth, ‘I don’t drink’ their faces paled and any chance of friendship was lost. I ended up leaving my dream job in London because of my anxiety and fear that I didn’t fit in.

Working there was great and I’ll always be grateful for the experience but the mainstream culture around drinking just wasn’t for me and you had to participate to survive in the industry I was in.

Soon I realised it wasn’t just London, but it was a human trait to enjoy drinking. At first, I thought maybe there’s something wrong with me, but I soon learned it’s okay to be different.

Something I’ve struggled with is that people find it hard to relate to me when they find out I don’t like getting drunk. Even though I don’t drink, I don’t hold any negative feelings towards people who do! It’s fun for many people and I hope my sobriety doesn’t make anyone feel uncomfortable. I know a lot of people who like to drink but it doesn’t alter my opinion of them, there is so much more to us than if we like a drink or not.

The other struggle I have faced is sending mixed messages. If I go to the pub or it’s a special occasion, I might choose to have one drink. However, when I choose not to have a second or third, people think there’s something wrong with me and question me throughout the evening. They ask if ‘I’m sure?’ and say ‘I’ll have more fun’ if I drink.

What is good about why you are different?

Over the process of cutting alcohol out of my life, it has helped me practice keeping my boundaries. I feel healthier, I have a better relationship with myself and the things I consume.

When I go out, I know I have a choice and saying no is okay. I can now enjoy being my true self, without the regrets, self-hatred, and 2-day hangovers.

What is one thing you want someone to take away from this article the most?

My advice would be to do what makes you feel good! If following the crowd is not serving you, it’s ok to do your own thing! If drinking is something you’re struggling with, my biggest piece of advice is to remember you’re worthy without the alcohol.

You’re not boring, you’re a wonderful person and if anyone tells you otherwise, they probably just don’t understand. Stay true to who you are and what you want.

I also want to say, there is so much more to people than their drinking habits – we are all fantastic the way we are, alcohol or not.

 

A note from Clo

After a week break we’re back with a bang! A really interesting and insightful article from Ellie-Louise Des Baux! A huge thank you for writing this piece, I have really enjoyed it and hope others can learn from it too!

 

BEING DIFFERENT: MY DIVORCED PARENTS – MEGAN JENKINS

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Hey, I’m Meg. I am a 20-year-old theatre student and part-time Instagram blogger. (My Instagram is @megrosex). I also have a blog that I am currently in the works of reopening, you can follow it here https://megrosex.wordpress.com . I just want to thank Chloe for giving me this opportunity to be a part of this amazing series, I cannot wait to read everybody’s stories.

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WHAT MAKES YOU DIFFERENT?

Thankfully, I was born into a perfect family. I had a roof over my head, food at the table and the best mum, dad and brother a little girl could ask for. Growing up felt like a dream, from what I can remember anyway. But it wasn’t until I was about 6/7 that I realised things were different in my family. My mum had her own house and my dad had his. Growing up I thought this was the norm. I spent weekdays with my mum, with the acceptation of going to my dad’s on Wednesdays, and every other weekend I swapped between houses. I thought everyone did this, until I started going to friends’ houses, and seeing that their parents lived together. Then I realised, maybe that’s why I was the only kid in the class that got given two letters instead of one. I was confused, upset and uncertain about what was going on and so I started to question my parents. I found out that my parents had divorced when I was 4. I didn’t know what divorced meant at first, I thought it was something to do with me, but after my mum told me, that’s when things got different. I struggled with the idea of my parents not being in love, not being friends’ and not even wanting to talk to one another. At my mums, I would cry because I missed my dad and vice versa. I couldn’t come to terms with it. And then, the stepparents came along. It was nice seeing my parents with new people, but it didn’t feel right at first. I hated it in all honesty, I just wanted my family to be perfect like all my friends’. As the years went on, I struggled with it massively, but it was never something I brought up with my parents because they were happy in their new relationships, I wasn’t going to upset them and make them feel uncomfortable.

I was around 10/11 when the reoccurring nightmares started, it was constant, the arguments, the moving across the world, only being able to see one parent for the rest of my life. The dreams affected how I lived, I become a shy kid who didn’t want to put any feelings or emotions into the world. I hunched into myself, and although I had my friends’ I was the least enjoyable one of the friend group. As I got older and started to understand the world more, I discovered that people fall out of love. Although I know it still affects me to this day, my life wouldn’t be the way it is right now. Sometimes I do sit there and think about what life would be like if my parents were still married.

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WHAT IS BAD ABOUT WHY YOU’RE DIFFERENT?

I guess the worst thing about this is seeing my friends’ parents in love and together. It’s the anniversary’s, the wedding reunions’, the one house and one house only. People often say to me “but you get two birthdays and two Christmas’s I would love that!”. Well you know it’s great if you would love that, but I would much rather my parents still like each other. They can’t even be in a room with each other without the awkward tension. Imagine how my parents’ evenings, birthday parties and performances went. I sometimes wonder whether they’re going to sit on the same table as each other at my wedding, who will hold my children first and although depressing, I do question if they would go to the funeral of whoever passes first. I constantly feel like the middleman, they talk horridly about each other all the time, I don’t think they realise it affects me. It’s hard. Especially during this pandemic.

I came home before lockdown, my mum picked me up from university, I was over the moon I hadn’t seen her since Christmas. But then again, I haven’t seen my dad since Christmas… not knowing when I’m going to see him again is painful. My mum moved out of my home city to be with her new partner. I can’t exactly pop round to see my dad. And my brother, he moved in permanently with my dad about 10 years ago now, I miss him, he is like a best friend to me. In times like this, I want to see both parents. It’s a time we all reflect on the people we have lost over the years. My stepdad and my step mum. Both my parents first love after the divorce. both passed due to medical reasons. And I know they both miss them, but they’ve moved on. They’ve found new people and are happy again. I don’t think they realise it still hurts for me, I felt like I lost my second set of parents. I grew up with them from a young age and loved them both as though they were blood-related.
I don’t want to make this question to depressing but it’s my life, it has always been and always will be.

WHAT IS GOOD ABOUT WHY YOU’RE DIFFERENT?

I am not going to lie to you all, this is probably the hardest question to answer. I grew up fortunate, I had the life some children would dream of. I got two birthdays, two Christmas’s, two holidays a year. Some would call it spoiled but that’s what happens when you live at two different houses, celebrations must go on in each. I have also learnt that everything happens for a reason, and I am thankful for the life I have been given, I have made so many memories and met some amazing people who I will cherish for life. I have stepsisters and stepbrothers, stepparents and step-grandparents. But to answer a few people’s questions, no this doesn’t mean I have two of everything. I usually take things with me from one house to the other. But that’s it. That’s really the only good things that has come out of being different for me. I am 20, knowing what love feels like, knowing what it feels like to get your heartbroken. I know how the world works. Yet there is and will always be something inside of me wishing my parents never got divorced.

WHAT IS ONE THING YOU WANT SOMEONE TO TAKE FROM THIS ARTICLE THE MOST?

FullSizeRender.jpegRealise that it is hard for us. Whether it happened years ago or whether it happened recently. A child growing up with divorced parents is still hard. Many times I have had people say to me “at least you had both figures in the home”. Don’t compare your upbringing to mine. I had a moment where a friend who didn’t grow up with a father figure told me I was lucky; told me I am not allowed to be upset about this. It’s wrong. Life affects everyone in different ways. I don’t go telling people with non-divorced parents that they aren’t allowed to talk badly about a parent or talk about their perfect life. Like I said previously, there is a reason for everything. It’s okay to feel down about something that happened so long ago. Regardless of the issue. I just want people to know that they shouldn’t let people bring them down for their emotions. Everyone is different. no one knows your life except you.

 

A Note From Clo

Thank you so much to meg for this piece, it has been super insightful and I am so grateful for you!

Stay tuned next week for another Being Different article, and if you would like to be involved please do contact me!

All the love,

Queen Clo x