Hangover anxiety can be brutal… it’s why I stopped drinking


hangover anxiety

Written by Meg Kant

Hangover anxiety can be brutal… it’s why I stopped drinking

If you have been following this blog for a while, then you know that I am a super sensitive human who has a fair amount of anxiety (lol, okay, a lot of anxiety).  It was actually that combination of sensitivity and anxiety that led me to stop drinking.

When I used to imagine not drinking it sent me into a panic. What would I do at gatherings? What if people think I’m not fun anymore? What would others think of me? How would I say no? These were a few thoughts that ran through my brain. But more than anything, at the time I didn’t want to stop drinking, which is where this story begins.

Drinking in high school

I started drinking in high school and it had become a significant part of my social relationships during an important phase of development. I enjoyed it, and loved how much fun I had when I was drinking with friends. I was young and unbothered so I didn’t see much of a problem with it.

However, by my second year of university I started piecing together that drinking alcohol made me pretty anxious,or perhaps more so it was “fear” of the next day. (Hat tip to my good friend Derek + Marge Byrne who taught me about “the fear”).

It is the fear/panic/shame/guilt you feel a day after drinking. The experience of not wanting to talk to anyone in fear of them telling you something embarrassing you did the night before. It’s the hum of anxiety when you’re hungover that makes you panic and sweaty and stressed.

Sensitive to alcohol

I continued to drink because it felt like such a big part of my life and who I was. Being super sensitive to alcohol, I almost always forgot what happened when I was drinking, regardless of how much I drank.

After having kids I started really paying attention to how drinking made me feel. On the rare times I was able to drink, I started noticing that while I was drinking I was worrying about how anxious I was going to be the next day. It got to the point where just having a drink led me to feel uncomfortably anxious, which led me to asking whether or not it even made sense anymore. I was no longer having fun and it just felt like something I had to do because everyone else was doing it.

The final straw

Then one summer day in 2019 I had my first sip of alcohol in a few months and assumed that it was going to be a nice little treat. Within minutes I was in a panic. I actually couldn’t believe how bad it got so quickly. I realized/decided that drinking was not for me and I have been alcohol-free ever since. 

Not being hungover is the best thing ever

I used to think that sobriety only happened to individuals who were dependent on alcohol but I think there is much more to it than that. When I tell people I don’t drink there is often curiosity or confusion in their faces, sometimes even disappointment. But I am just as fun, if not more so, now than when I was drinking. I am happier, less anxious, NEVER hungover, and honestly there are so many Sundays when I wake up thinking, oh my gosh this day is already amazing because I’m not hungover.
Check Sunday anxiety is also a common experience.

It took me a long time to get to the point of wanting to stop drinking, but it’s been a really awesome ride!

Ps. if you want to check out some incredible resources about this topic, run, don’t walk, over to HOL + WELL’s instagram!

Have you ever experienced hangover anxiety? Share away in the comments, it might help someone else reading this!

Hangover anxiety can be brutal… it’s why I stopped drinking

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Meg Kant

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