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Is Getting Drunk Worth the Hangover?


At the tender age of 40 I like to pride myself on the fact that even as a woman I can comfortably hold my own when drinking amongst men. I might be very slight in build, but I can still down a fair few pints with the best of them, and usually end up behaving far more sensibly than my male counterparts to boot.

In my youth I was of course more than capable of socially drinking myself into a state that required at least half an hour of my head being buried inside the toilet bowl, not to mention virtually passing out on friend's floors and even in fields and gardens, (am I the only one to have done this, if so I am now truly worried??? !!!).

The difference is that when I was in my late teens and my 20/30's, I never experienced what they call a "hangover" the following day. Yes of course I woke up looking like my eyes were two "P**sholes in the snow", yes I was exhausted the following day, but did I get a headache?? No, never, and I was soon back to my usual lively self after an hour or two of being conscious again.


This enviable ability to cope with alcohol led me into a life where it was all too easy to enjoy drinking, after all, the consequences were minimal and I could still party and go to work the following day. The trouble began when I got to about 38 years old, and suddenly realised that my recovery was not so rapid as it used to be, and although I could still enjoy a night out with friends in our local bar, the time it took me to recover afterwards was growing noticeably longer. How annoying, I could now see my social life taking a serious downturn! I persevered however, and since I have no set time to be up each day I allowed myself to drift into the habit of enjoying the booze, safe in the knowledge I could get up when I liked, in fact I was now virtually nocturnal!

So I got to 39 and now 40, still drinking more than a healthy daily amount, but not really thinking it was too bad, especially as I didn't like spirits and seldom fancied a drink much before 7.00pm at night. What I had noticed was that I would become quite irritable after a couple of glasses of red wine and that I would end up not eating as I was enjoying the drink too much to feel hungry.

I think the wake up call happened over the last few weeks. Firstly I had to see the anaesthetist prior to my elbow operation, and when he asked me about my alcohol consumption I was totally honest and told him I consume about 8 units a day, (4 cans of cider), and seldom have any 'white' days. His next question was "are you getting any help with this?". This threw me slightly as I didn't really see it as a big problem, therefore my answer was "errrr no!". He then advised me to have a drink in the hospital after my surgery if I needed one to avoid my becoming agitated from the sudden withdrawal. Wow, now I felt really bad and like I should be smuggling brown paper bags containing bottles of alcohol into the hospital with me, (don't worry, I didn't!)


Having survived the hospital overnight stay without the need for alcohol, I realised I had enjoyed the best night's sleep in years whilst in the hospital bed, (in spite of it being a strange bed to me). I began to suspect this was because I was at last enjoying an alcohol free sleep and therefore getting quality sleep rather than "drug induced" poor quality sleep. I would like to say I stuck to this once I came home, but no, one night back at home and I soon enjoyed a couple of cans of cider and was rapidly back to normal drinking levels.

A few weeks has of course since gone by, and now we are on January 2nd 2010, and I have had yet another reminder of just how nasty a hangover can be for one who is not used to the experience. My Sister, two good friends, my Hubby and myself went to our local bar for New Year's Eve. A superb party with tonnes of great quality food and of course loads of free flowing alcohol. As I wasn't driving I pushed the boat out and consumed a good few pints of cider, washed down with a few glasses of champagne. I felt great apart from falling over briefly in the car park on the way out of the bar before we all walked home.

Having safely negotiated the rest of the way home I enjoyed a further can of cider upon our return and a small pizza as a snack. Eventually we all crawled off to bed and at this point I felt just fine. Sadly, this feeling was not to last, as about 10.30am my Mum phoned up to make arrangements to collect my Sister at lunchtime. It was all downhill from there as I lay in bed aware that I was feeling progressively more sick, plus I had the headache from hell for one of the first times in my drinking lifetime! It wasn't long before I was back in "head down toilet land", and after twenty minutes of that combined with the splitting headache I felt like death warmed up. Eventually the need to be sick subsided so I grabbed some Nurofen painkillers and headed back to bed. Perhaps now is a good time to advise you never to take painkillers on a queasy empty stomach and wash them down with Coca-Cola. It took about ten minutes before I was desperate to be sick again, but by now my Sister was in our one and only toilet. Due to the urgency of the situation I bolted downstairs, removed the washing up bowl of dishes from our kitchen sink, and brought up the tablets and the Cola I had only just consumed. Having rinsed the sink thoroughly I crawled back up to bed, still stuck with the most horrific headache.

To cut a long story short I did finally get off to sleep, although unable to face any kind of fluids. By the time I did finally wake up properly and felt a bit human again it was nearly 7.00pm at night, meaning I had wasted an entire day in bed, and New Year's Day at that! At least by then I no longer felt sick, and the headache was virtually gone, although still lingering in the background as if to act as a reminder that I simply can't "cut it" like I used to.

Still, I hauled myself out of bed, walked back to the pub to retrieve my car, and guess what, I found my Hubby was already in the bar enjoying a few pints. End result, we stayed until about 11.00pm before coming home, at which point he went to bed, I had two more ciders and then I started to write this hub! I sure hope the hangover is better in the morning than it was this morning, and it is my full intention to have a serious detox and a good few booze free weeks during the month of January!

Was it worth it you might ask? You bet it was! (Although I still know I seriously need to start a healthier lifestyle booze-wise if I am to survive into old age without liver or kidney failure!)


Cindy Lawson (author) from Guernsey (Channel Islands) on January 24, 2011:

Cheers Evvy_09, you are lucky not to get hangovers. I find I am left feeling like rubbish the next day, even though I don't get the headaches. I too usually fall asleep first, but even then I am exhausted the following day.

Glad you liked the pictures and thanks for commenting :)

evvy_09 from Athens, AL on January 23, 2011:

I love mixed drinks and wine coolers. I drink a good bit and I've never had a hang over, I usually fall asleep before I get to the point of getting sick. Exceptfor 1 time when I made myself stay up and keep drinking. I don't remember about 6 hours of the night :P thank goodness my husband took care of me.

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I like the pictures you included.

Cindy Lawson (author) from Guernsey (Channel Islands) on July 25, 2010:

Hi Brian, I have often wondered about that myself LOL.

Brian on July 24, 2010:

I like to drink like the rest of them, but it seems like you may be an alcoholic.

Cindy Lawson (author) from Guernsey (Channel Islands) on January 04, 2010:

Thanks for the encouragement najeemm :)

najeemm on January 04, 2010:

Dear, ofcourse you can cutdown your alcohol consupmtion, only thing required is determination..

Cindy Lawson (author) from Guernsey (Channel Islands) on January 03, 2010:

Yes, I think you are right Paradise, and thanks for caring :)

Paradise7 from Upstate New York on January 03, 2010:

Whoa, Misty, take a good hard look honey. You seem very functional but you don't want to ruin your health with partying too much.

Honestly, I think your New's Year's Day hangover is a wake-up call, please listen.

Cindy Lawson (author) from Guernsey (Channel Islands) on January 03, 2010:

Hi again Hypnodude, I too thinks pubs are a fab invention and also think your English is great :)

Hi Shazwellyn, Yep, I am the same if I open a bottle of wine, have to finish the bottle and suffer the consequences the next day. I am going to have a good break in the next week or so in order to give my liver a fighting chance :)

shazwellyn on January 03, 2010:

Nah... I think I am done with the drinking thing for a while! Im fed up with being zombiefied, headachey and lazy. Im not the sort of person that can just have A GLASS of wine! No... I have to guzzle the bleading bottle! So, I think it is either all or nothing with me and I need to do the nothing for a while on the drink front!

I know what you mean by the change at 38... lots of women experience this sort of mid life scenario. Their fertility reduces by half at this age as well! So I think the drink intolerance has a lot to do with hormones!

Anyway, good hub my friend x

Andrew from Italy on January 02, 2010:

Lol, it might be that it's for teaching us equilibrium. You know, like not too much of this, not too much of that. My English doesn't allow me a better explanation. :)

Btw Pubs are one of the greatest inventions ever.

Cindy Lawson (author) from Guernsey (Channel Islands) on January 02, 2010:

Thanks Paintdec, what a wonderful and insightful comment, and yes, the governement banning smoking in pubs was a great thing as here in Guernsey the smoking ban came in even earlier than the UK. My trouble is that I love my friends in the pub, and although I drink at home too I would miss the friends I socialise with and I would not enjoy having a night out drinking orange juice.

I might well write that hub you suggest, but bear with me !! :)

PS, thanks for enquiring about my depression. It never goes away, you just get good days and bad days. That is life I reckon, well, at least if you have depression, but thanks for caring !

paintdec on January 02, 2010:

I had the same problem from my youth, playing rugby for nine years, Night clubbing Then i sort of knocked the mental social life on the Head when i was 40. Still went into the local ,and shifted a fair few pints in the evening.Like you never had a problem with hangovers, still had a mouth like an arabs jockstrap though.

When i was about 47, i decided enough was enough, and went on the bandwagon. It was terrible could,nt sleep properly

for about 3 days.So i went back on it, but only having a couple a night, still had it in my mind to pack up though.

Then the British Government did me the best favour ever. They banned smoking in the pubs in June 2008. I have never stepped inside a pub since, and as i have never drank at home, well i have been teetotal for over a year and a half.

Do i sleep better at nights, yep like a baby. Problem now is, where i have saved a lot of money not drinking, i now smoke like a trooper. Was it a good thing to ban smoking in pubs.For me yes, but with over 30 pubs in Britain closing every week,not very good for the landlords, but that's another story. Maybe you could do a Hub about that subject.

Do it myself, but your a better writer than me, just a thought. P.s. Hope your better with your depression now, and have a great New year. All the best steve.

Cindy Lawson (author) from Guernsey (Channel Islands) on January 02, 2010:

Shame Jess, even tonight I confess to having enjoyed 3 pints of cider plus a can I am on now!!

Jess Killmenow from Nowheresville, Eastern United States on January 02, 2010:

Ah, an ale or two a week is enough for this old cartoon anymore. I guess I'm just too fond of my illusion of control these days :)

Cindy Lawson (author) from Guernsey (Channel Islands) on January 02, 2010:

LOL Gus, quite probably, but you would know better than me ;)

Gustave Kilthau from USA on January 02, 2010:

Hi Misty - I had a friend who once told me that "anyone who likes alcohol would love beer, wine, bourbon, scotch, brandy, vermouth, rum, gin, saki, and that weird stuff they first chew-then spit into a clay jug-then drink to a stupor later on-but I can't remember its name- probably because I drink too much - you think? Gus :-)))

Cindy Lawson (author) from Guernsey (Channel Islands) on January 02, 2010:

Hi Bob, Happy New Year and thanks for your feedback too. Glad you managed to stop drinking altogether. I don't want to completely stop myself, just drink a healthy amount without risk of liver damage. Very glad I kicked the cigarette habit completely though.

Hi Hypnodude, glad you enjoyed the hub. I like Wine and Cider pretty much exclusively, but think the champagne added into the mix was a really bad idea. Not keen on beers sadly (not even Guinness), so in general I stay with the cider and wine, (not at the same time though). Why is it I wonder that everything we really enjoy in life seems to be bad for you, e.g. alcohol, full cream milk, butter, mayonnaise, cream cakes, chocolate, cannabis etc etc.

Cindy Lawson (author) from Guernsey (Channel Islands) on January 02, 2010:

Hi Suiiki thanks for the feedback and I certainly intend to have a good break from the booze in the next week or so and try to stick to more sensible levels in the future.

Hi VioletSun, thanks for the feedback and I remember the tip about milk thistle from somewhere else. I must invest in some I reckon, and soon hope to enjoy a life where I keep my alcohol intake to healthy levels only.

Andrew from Italy on January 02, 2010:

Wonderful hub mistyhorizon. A great reading. I'm around forty now, and like you I like some alcohol, even if usually I prefer beer instead of wine (not good for an Italian). Beside the obvious comment of drinking slightly less there are two things to consider when talking about alcohol:

1 it's not anymore the alcohol we drunk when in our 20s, now almost everything has additives and conservatives or food colourings and these are, beside quantity, the main causes for headache.

2 never mix different kind of alcohols, like beer and wine and/or whiskey, this is guaranteed to hit your stomach like a punch. And makes you sick when you have yet to realize having drunk too much.

As regards spirits the two with less additives are vodka and sake.

For beer quality instead the best in the world is the one from Bavaria, a region of Germany where beer is at most six months old with no additives under the Purity Law. My choice goes to Guinness though, as regards taste. :)

diogenes on January 02, 2010:

Hi sweetie: I'm sure your New Year's experience was copied by many; some much worse, dead in the local morgue. I was a heavy drinker for many years and finally saw the light. Now, I enjoy an alcohol-free life. Sounds smug I know but life is hard enough without accelerants like booze adding to the woes. I think you get x number of years to be foolish, if you don't quit after that there's no turning back and your life will be ruined. Same for "nicotineacs," my word for tobacco addicts...Happy New Yrar...Bob

VioletSun from Oregon/ Name: Marie on January 01, 2010:

Cindy: I hardly drink nowadays, perhaps some wine now and then, with lunch or dinner when I go out; I love an alcohol free life. When its occasional, oddly, the wine is enjoyed more as I know its not an addiction or doing me any harm. I had a few hangovers in my youth, I was a little wild then. BDW, its good to take Milk Thistle for the liver, especially if a person drinks too much. I do encourage you to simply cut down on the drinking, one can be sociable without overdoing it.

Happy New Year!

Suiiki from City of the Newly Wed and Nearly Dead on January 01, 2010:

I do hope that you are successful in cutting down your alcohol intake, my grandfather-in-law was an alcoholic for years and it wound up giving him pancreatitis in his old age. The first thing the doctor asked was "When was your last drink, Mel?"

"30 years ago."

His pancreas and liver were so bad, the doctor thought that Grandpa was still drinking heavily! Now he is classed as a diabetic because of his pancreatitis, not to mention what Amy and I like to call "food intolerant" He can't eat Cheese, Beef, anything with Sage in it, milk...the list is big enough to fill our living room!

I was told at the physical assessment for my residency here in Canada that the cut off for alcoholism in a cisgender (that is, non-trans) woman is about 9 units per month, after that, it can cause severe liver damage. The limit is much lower for women with such conditions as polycycstic ovarian syndrome, uterine fibroids, family history of kidney or liver disease, and a few others that I can't remember right now. Women with cancer and transwomen should really not drink drink at all, but anything as high as 5 units a month shouldn't be too dangerous as long as drunkeness doesn't occur.

The sooner you start taking care of yourself the better. *hugs*

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