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!