Starting Out - 1st of October

My reasoning for taking part in Stoptober is due to my lack of interest in alcohol and my greater appreciation for my physical and mental health. Throughout my adult life I have been a social drinker, however when I was undergoing my MA (2018-2019), drinking became a regular occurrence and was slowly developing into a bad habit. To add some context, the year of my MA was a plethora of ups and downs, so drinking became a form of escapism from everything.

During the end of my MA I got my act together and started acknowledging that I needed to take more responsibility for my own actions. So, I decided the drinking had to stop. I went sober for a few months and it was brilliant. It’s hard to explain, but when all the alcohol was out of my system, I felt like how I should feel normally. I could think clearly, I did not feel as anxious or sad anymore, and I was far more optimistic than ever before. It was truly an eye-opener for me.

Since my MA concluded in mid-September, I moved back home. My family drinks a few times a week and it’s not a strange occurrence for a can (or two) of cider to be offered on the weekend. As I was in a celebratory mood – since university had finished – I drank far more than usual. After a short time, my confidence dropped, and I became more doubtful and discouraged, with a continual irritable mood. This was bad news especially because as a freelance Illustrator you need all the confidence and motivation you can get to stay focused and optimistic. Also, ever since my drinking increased, my overall work ethic deteriorated noticeably.

My relationship with alcohol is not what it used to be. I once craved and needed that form of escapism. Now, I want to avoid it. After drinking a few drinks, I feel this immense weight and sadness ready to pounce at the opportune moment. It’s the feeling of wanting to ball up and cry for no apparent reason, even in a crowd of family and friends. In all honesty, I’m tired of feeling that way. I’ve spent many years trying to deal with my mental health and it pains me to see myself move back into that state of mind that I have tried so hard to improve.

I want to go back to that sobriety and feel more myself again. I am currently exercising a lot more and I am trying to improve my physical health, so this is a perfect time to quit the drink for a while. I miss those feelings of waking up and feeling refreshed, actually wanting to get out of bed and being productive. I am hoping that taking a needed break from alcohol will help me regulate my mind, so I can focus on my life and work a bit more clearly.


Grant’s blog will continue at the middle of the month, for a ‘midway’ reflection, and then again at the end of October to share his final thoughts on how abstinence has effected his mental and physical health, social life and productivity.

Grant is a freelance illustrator. You can find his artwork at or grant.hickman.illustration