It made me think about how I used to feel about drinking. How I would do anything to get a drink regardless of what things might be wrecked or left undone if I did. Or if it was wrong…
I’m not proud of how I was towards the end of the drinking road, but you kind of get sucked along. Alcohol just sugar coats everything that you do so that you don’t realise what you’re doing until its too late. Or almost too late. If you can catch yourself.
My ritual became normalised. Work, home, DRINK. After all, I deserved it. And everyone goes home and has a drink don’t they. Not a question you’ll notice – a statement of fact. What do you mean its a no-drink night? Fuck, how can I get round that one? And get around it I did.
Have you ever found yourself doing or thinking any of the following?
It’s an agreed dry night of the week at home with your significant other or house mates. Bugger that, I’ll have a drink before they get home, then hide the evidence, they’ll never know;
It’s an agreed drinking night at home (yay!) but one bottle might not be enough. How about I start one off, and put it at the back of the cupboard;
What about the one in the fridge that’s open. Let’s drink that and pretend it wasn’t there before anyone else gets back;
No I don’t really want to go (because I’ll have to drive and that would be unbearable);
Oh no! There’s no wine left apart from that quite expensive bottle we were saving. Well, it’s not that special, and I did do XX today, so I think its okay to open it;
Hmm, there won’t be much drink going on at that do when I get there, so I’ll just have a few now before I go;
I know that X and Y don’t really drink much, and I don’t want to seem abnormal, so I’ll just top up before I leave to get a head start ;
Glass watching others – I’ve been waiting so long for everyone else and their glasses are STILL half full. I’ll just do it, I can’t wait any longer, and its not my fault they drink too slowly;
Yep, I think you’ve got the picture now. Maybe you have other examples?
The thing is, even though I no longer drink, sometimes I get that voice nagging me at the back of my mind. “You weren’t really that bad when you were drinking were you?” it asks me, although it’s stated more then a question. “You didn’t wander round the streets with a bottle in a paper bag so you can’t have been an alcoholic can you!” it shouts at me.
Ok, well, I didn’t often get so drunk I couldn’t stand up. I didn’t vomit everywhere. Most people to be truthful probably didn’t even notice the hidden signs of my drinking too much. But look at what I was doing? What sane person would ever do that? If you were asked to define what an alcoholic person looked like, you’d probably describe someone who was almost always visibly drunk during the day, and their life was falling apart. Get this, that’s absolute bollocks! A more realistic definition might be to more about people who have an inability to manage drinking habits. Yeah, I think that rings more true. It doesn’t mean you are drinking a bottle of spirits or more a day starting at lunchtime, but it could include you if you are “no longer making conscious and mindful decisions about how and when you drink, and can stop or give it a miss anytime you decide to. Blimey, I hadn’t started writing this to say that, but I’m glad I have.
It’s very hard to admit that you have a problem. What astounds me most is that when you’re drinking like I was, its not visible enough for people in your daily circle to notice and comment on. Apart from maybe one or two close friends or family. The rest of your colleagues and friends have no idea. And now that I’ve stopped, I still have some shame in admitting just how bad things got to many of them. It seems that whilst no one gave a shit when I was drinking myself into an early grave without them knowing, once they do know, I feel judged. Which I know probably isn’t the case, but it does sometimes feel that way.
But you know what? That’s the stigma which is attached to those who can’t control their drinking, and we need to speak out about this. Maybe we should turn that statement around. It’s a stigma attached to people who are being controlled by a poisonous addictive substance, a substance that is pushed at us wholeheartedly by the drinks industry without proper warnings, and which is made to be a social norm by everyone else who drinks.
So was I really that bad when I was drinking? Yes I was. I mustn’t ever forget this and think that I can go backwards, moderate. It would start with just one or two drinks a week, hmm, maybe a few times a week, actually most evenings, well, started the bottle so might as well finish it….. I know where I’ve come from. I refuse to go back, and I refuse to be shamed for it.
Hi! I’m The Alcohol Dodger! I love analogies in case you hadn’t noticed! You can read about my wake-up call from binge and habitual drinking in one of my earlier blog posts here, and how I’ve developed since in my story by clicking here.