Well Jim, did you pass your test?

Ah the big test, the Saturday BBQ set within a difficult context. I was going with a plan; count the units, record the drinks on my app, set limits, alternate alcohol with soft drinks. Jim you are marvellous, with a plan like that you cannot fail, you are a beacon of hope to all the failed moderators out there! So… how did it go?

Well on one level…. oh stop prevaricating. How did it go? Did you succeed?

Short answer, No. Longer answer, sort of, and yet overall I feel very positive and optimistic if I take the weekend as a whole. Rewind to Friday night.

Fridays I drink; always. It’s Friday and the powerful association kicks in. My son and his girlfriend were staying in preparation for Saturday’s BBQ. By the time they arrived it was 9pm and I hadn’t had a drink. They both fancied a few beers after a long trip but I decided that because I would be drinking the next day, I would refrain from having a drink that evening. It worked. I drank a non alcoholic beer, we chatted and I was fine. I think I was fine because I knew that the next day I would be drinking, so no need to overdo it.

On the Saturday I went to the BBQ with my girlfriend. Mistake number 1, I took spirits and made a punch, I realised (naughty sub conscious probably knew) that I had no real idea how many units were in a glass of my punch. Then I switched to beer. I didn’t record my drinks on my phone app as planned and I realised that that was a stupid plan. How do you record each drink on a phone when in a social gathering? I learned a lesson, counting drinks needs to be done in a discrete way and not involving pulling out my phone. What I did do was to be aware of generally how much I was drinking so I started to drink water between some of my drinks. I also made a point of eating well so that I didn’t become drunk. I did end up drinking the equivalent of 2 bottles of wine but I did get to a point where I stopped drinking and I also left around 9.30 so I wouldn’t be tempted to resume.

I was dropped off home and whereas a few months ago I would have poured a large G and T, this time I didn’t. I knew I had drunk a fair bit but I was not drunk and I had stopped. I also congratulated myself on not having had any alcohol the night before. The next day I did have a few drinks later in the evening just to take the edge off a mild hangover.  Overall the amount of alcohol I had consumed over the week was one of the smallest totals since I had started logging all my drinks.

I was never going to suddenly crack this moderation thing. It is a process and it will take time but I feel very positive about how things are going generally. Probably the single most important area of progress is my commitment to alcohol free days. I have managed to maintain 3 alcohol free days a week for the past month and it feels relatively easy.I know I will be having a drink at certain points in the week and this makes it easier to manage the alcohol free days. In fact I enjoy the alcohol free days. I enjoy cutting down and knowing that this will be good for my body. For me the equation is simple; if I want to continue drinking, then I have to cut down my overall intake.

Saturday didn’t work out quite as planned but then I will use that as a learning opportunity. Already I am thinking how to do the counting of alcohol units when drinking and socialising. I think I might use counters which I keep in one pocket and transfer a small counter to my other pocket every time I have a drink. Could work?

In the meantime I feel good about not drinking on Friday night and three other nights last week. I feel good about reducing the overall number of units consumed in a week. I feel good that I stopped drinking on Saturday and didn’t get drunk. Small but positive steps.

I also need to remind myself of something. For me alcohol is not the problem. It is my tendency to overindulge, to gorge myself whether that be alcohol or food. I fill myself, I stuff myself. That I need to understand and change. One thing I am determined to stop doing is giving myself a hard time over it. OK so I sometimes drink too much, I’ll make efforts to tackle that, I’m doing that. I’m doing OK. I also do really well at other things. I taught a pretty good set of lessons today, I beat my friend at table tennis yesterday and I sat and listened last night as  a woman told me how she drank because she saw it a slow way to kill herself. Her life had become unbearable. My drinking is nothing like that and my life is thankfully one that still has possibilities. For that I am grateful.

This week I intend drinking very little and then next week comes the mother of all tests; a few days in Germany!

Prost!

Posted in Alcohol, alcohol and health, cutting back on alcohol, moderation, Uncategorized | Tagged , , | 2 Comments

One surprise test done, another big one to come.

I now feel well on my way with my moderation journey and I feel quietly optimistic about my prospects. I am clear in my mind that I do NOT want to give up alcohol which means that in order enjoy it without putting my health and self esteem at risk I need to start changing my habits and behaviour around alcohol. That is going to be a long term process as making changes to long term patterns of behaviour is always notoriously difficult.  

What is also becoming clear to me is that the old dichotomy of alcoholic or abstainer is of little help to me and many others. There is a continuum of alcohol dependency and I see myself as quite different in my alcohol dependency to some of the people I have worked with and also to some of the sober bloggers out there. I completely accept that there are some drinkers who are at that end of the alcohol spectrum who have to go the abstainenance route. Equally there are those who have developed bad habits around alcohol and have alllowed a harmful dependency to develop but who are capable of changing those habits. My motivation to make moderation succeed is that I enjoy drinking alcohol; the change in consciousness, the mellow feelings, the camaraderie, the enjoyment and appreciation of fine beers, wines and spirits. I want to carry on enjoying these and to do so I need to change my habits.

I started this process by recording how much  and when I drink. It has been an important step. I used to drink oblivious to how much I was drinking and developed bad habits of drinking quickly and with  a crazy enthusiasm. Sometimes I was drinking for the wrong reasons. The relationship to alcohol for me and many others is complex. Key to succeeding with moderation will be adopting a vigilance with alcohol, specifically how much I drink and setting limits both in terms of units consumed in any one session and over the course of a week. I’m going to do this gradually and I am going to go easy on myself. The motivation is there so if I fail to meet targets it is because the process is one of gradual change in the right direction over time.

This week I have been very moderate in my drinking, having 4 alcohol free days Sunday to Wednesday. Yesterday I was intending not to drink but a surprise test sprang up. My friend turned up for a quick music rehearsal and very unusually he brought with him a third of a bottle of wine. I was also due to tutor a student later that day. My instinct was to say no thanks but sharing that third of a bottle would mean having one small glass of wine. This could be the test I needed. I hate drinking one glass of wine. My habit is to have one then immediately want a second. But then this is one of the habits I need to change. We drank the wine. It was gorgeous. The alcohol went straight to my brain and I felt that lovely subtle change in consciousness. I monitored myself. I tried to drink slowly. My friend knows my drinking pattern and said to me that he could tell I wanted another glass. It was easy to resist. I had a student coming round in a couple of hours and I never drink just before teaching. This small glass wouldn’t count. We went back inside and rehearsed. That was moderation in practice. One small glass and stop. It was different, felt slightly strange but this is the landscape within which I must now operate. A small unexpected test and I had passed. Later on after my teaching I had an alcohol free beer and recorded my first ever one and a half units of alcohol day, ever!

Tomorrow will be a proper test. A family BBQ at my ex wife’s house with my grown up sons, she with her new husband and me with my girlfriend, coming together to commemorate the 9th anniversary of my middle son’s death from cancer. It would normally have been an ocassion difficult on a number of fronts and I would probably drink excessively. I will drink tomorrow but I shall go with a plan. I will record drinks on my app as I drink them. I will alternate with soft drinks and I will drink slowly. I am fully aware that despite this plan I may just revert to old habits. I’m determined not to, and I am strangely looking forward to the challenge. It seems the right thing to do as well as showing respect for my son. When he was ill, I often didn’t cope well and on one ocassion turned up with a terrible hangover and was sick after a two day feeling sorry for myself bender in London.My son got angry with me and pointed out that he couldn’t do anything about his cancer whereas my “illness” was entirely self inflicted. He pointed out I had the power to make myself well which he did not have. It was humbling and I felt like a jerk. Nine years later I hope I can finally redeem myself.

Any change needs motivation and I think I have found mine.

Posted in Alcohol dependency, cutting back on alcohol, moderation, sobriety, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , | 14 Comments

Now they are even putting alcohol into ice lollies!

From today's i newspaper

Unbelievable. Alcohol in lollies. Won’t be long before kids discover these

Posted in Alcolollies, Uncategorized | 5 Comments

At last- A definitive breakthrough in the alcohol and health debate!

We have all read  the conflicting  articles. We pick up of the paper only to read that a scientist somewhere has made a startling discovery that drinking a glass of red wine a day protects you against heart disease only to pick up the paper the next day and discover that another scientist has done research that shows that the very same glass of wine a day gives you an increased risk of dementia. The messages are confusing. The world needs to know one way or another – is alcohol good for you or will it kill you?

In order to cut through this confusing array of research I decided, in the spirit of scientific research, to use my own body in order to definitively answer the question; is alcohol good or bad for your health? Today, on this very blog page, I am going to share with you the answer to this question.(Intake of breath)

Some of you will be wondering why I have chosen to share this groundbreaking research on my blog rather than in scientific or medical journal? The answer is that it’s too important to wait for scientists and medical professionals to sift through my research, to test the data, to make sure I have used rigorous methods. This research is so groundbreaking that I need to get it out there now. So what if I don’t win the Nobel Prize because my research has not been peer reviewed? Some things are worth more than glory and a big cheque. But I prevaricate, I am wasting time; you want to know what this groundbreaking research tells us about alcohol and its relation to our health. Sit tight, strap yourself in, and be prepared to be shocked and enlightened. This is it, the definitive answer, The answer based on real research, the conclusion that could save lives, and without wishing to sound too self important, could save mankind and change the course of human history.

Here it is:

“ALCOHOL IS BAD FOR YOUR HEALTH”

Groundbreaking eh? Enlightening?

Oh you already knew this? Old news you say?

Well I didn’t know it. I am one of those that only read the research that legitimised my drinking. I would read, paraphrase and pass on all the research that shows that drinking wine was good for your heart,could lower blood pressure and even protect against dementia. Whilst this research is often disputed  the one thing that I would forget to mention about all the positive research done on alcohol was that  all these positive messages came with the proviso that you only got health benefits if you drank very moderately. Every bit of research had one thing in common; there were only ever benefits if you drank very moderately (and we are talking here about maybe one or two glasses of wine a week). The sad fact is that those, like me, who can drink a bottle and a half of wine in one sitting have no allies on the medical front. Once you start drinking in the 50+ units a week range you are almost certainly going to encounter adverse health consequences. (For those of us trying to fool ourselves “adverse health consequences” is clever, gentle code for “death”)

Irony aside I have been recording one measure of my health against the amount of alcohol I’ve been consuming over the last four months. So yes, actual data recording and research! Before starting to address moderating  my alcohol intake I wanted to know exactly how much alcohol I was consuming and when. I’ve been logging this information for the past 15 weeks alongside the record of my blood pressure as this is something that I take medication for and is being monitored by my doctor. I always had a sense that my blood pressure was related to my alcohol consumption and often this was very apparent if I took my blood pressure after a particularly heavy weekend. But even when I was not drinking, my blood pressure was becoming very high. My doctor put me on medication, I’ve bought myself a snazzy blood pressure monitor and started recording my blood pressure on a weekly basis. When I started to record how much alcohol I was consuming each week I decided to put the two sets of data together to see if there was a correlation over time between my blood pressure and my alcohol consumption. A screenshot of the graph is below:


It’s pretty conclusive and probably to anyone else, pretty obvious and no surprise. But when it’s your own data and the correlation is that stark it becomes real wake-up call.

Drinking alcohol at the level I am doing is adversely affecting my blood pressure. More units= higher blood pressure. The blood pressure medication is keeping it in check but already my doctor is thinking my dosage needs to be increased. I know that’s not the answer. The answer is in the graph; lower your alcohol intake and your blood pressure will go down. It’s so bloody obvious, and contrary to my over the top introduction, not groundbreaking at all.

What about other health effects there have been on my body? I suffer from semi permanent flushed face which could be rosacea but eases off when I don’t drink excessively, obesity which is caused by overeating the day after a binge plus the wasted high number of calories in alcohol, episodes of gastritis brought on by alcohol, and the most worrying one of all, possible alcoholic cardiomyopathy.

This last condition (not proven as yet) was picked up after a trip abroad where I partied and drank continuously for 7 days in March. I returned and had tightness of the chest and problems breathing. My girlfriend rang the helpline, a paramedic turned up and I was transferred to hospital. A slightly irregular ECG was inconclusive but they could rule out heart attack. Instead an x ray showed an enlarged heart. They asked me about my alcohol consumption as this can be linked to an enlarged heart and is a symptom of AC. I lied and said I drank moderately. Oh, they said, because the symptoms I was displaying were consistent with alcoholic cardiomyopathy. They suggested going to my doctor. I didn’t. Instead for the next few days  I drank very moderately. Things seemed OK and I went back to my old ways. Writing this down here, I can’t believe how stupid this all seems. Intelligent guy gets stark health warnings, intelligent guy ignores warnings, puts head in sand and continues to put his health at risk. Conclusion: intelligent guy may not be as smart as he thinks he is. In fact he appears to be intellectually challenged. I haven’t  even mentioned possible damage to liver, brain, mental health etc.  Scary stuff.

Anyway, there we have it. Alcohol in excess is not good for you.

Not groundbreaking. Bleeding obvious really.

 

Question is Jim; what are you going to do about it?  Good question.

Understand, plan and change, that’s what! Things staying as they are is not an option.

Here’s one little thing I do. Below is a selection of my very low alcoholic drinks.  I like these. I can drink these and get the feeling that I’m having a drink.  They help me cut down.  That is good.

A  selection of low and non alcoholic beer and wine (non-alcoholic can legally contain 0.5% alcohol). Helps provide the association without the grief. All helps in cutting down the units.File 11-07-2017, 15 37 48

Now for something completely different…

On a different note, I want to add that although I am writing about alcohol, I do not want to give the impression that that is all there is in my life.  I haven’ t had a drink since Saturday, I have been teaching, playing sport and writing songs. I go shopping, see people and tomorrow I’ll be working with people with mental health problems including a few alcoholics.  Some of them wake up and reach for the bottle. I never do that. But I have developed a dependency and I have to change my drinking habits.  I have seen the effects and I do not want to end up like some that I have worked with.  You don’t necessarily have to reach bottom before starting to climb.There is also much more to us than just alcohol.

Jim x

Posted in Alcohol, alcohol and health, Alcohol dependency, alcoholic, moderation, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , | 9 Comments

The Good, The Bad and the Extremely UGLY

First of all I want to make a request. There are many awards given to bloggers. Bloggers can be nominated for best health blog, funniest blog, most life  affirming blog, the list seems endless. If anyone reading this is familiar with the different awards on offer, then please, please nominate me in the category,”Worst start to a self help campaign-EVER.” I’m really sure I could win.  The evidence is overwhelming.  6 weeks since starting a blog whose sole intention was to document my attempt at moderating my alcohol consumption I have had some spectacular benders. Days of overindulgence where moderation was seen flying out the window fast than you could say,”Fill it up again please bartender.”

In the litany of my recent failings, yesterday now takes pride of place.  I need to document this day now, the day after,just so I get everything recorded correctly because I need to see it in front of me and to return to it one day to remind myself as to why I need to succeed in my attempt to moderate my drinking.

THE GOOD

Yesterday I went with my girlfriend to a wedding.  We were camping and it was the first gay wedding I had attended.  A gay wedding on Pride day- brilliant.  Really looking forward to it.  The sun was shining, the English countryside was beautiful, the couple gorgeous and there was a free bar. This wasn’t just good, this was heaven. The bar opened before the service, barrels of fine English ale from a local brewery.  I said to myself that I needed to remember that I was trying to moderate, cut down.  I had 2 pints then switched to a soft drink.  Good boy, Jim.  The service started.  As I said in a previous blog, I don’t get emotional about me but I do when I watch other people, be it in real life or on film. The service was beautiful.  I blubbed.  The two women getting married said the most amazing things to each other.  The love they had for each other was so tangible you could almost touch it. Just the right amount of alcohol to feel relaxed and chilled, wonderful setting, love filling the air , my girlfriend holding my hand, great company- Jim saw that it was GOOD!

THE BAD

Service over, the band playing, drinking beer with a famous sportsman who I did not recognise till someone pointed it out later, I was getting into the swing of things.  The moderation voice became inaudible.  My girlfriend made a comment about not drinking too much and I talked about not spoiling the fun. When I drink,I drink fast.  It was a help yourself bar. People were taking my glass and refilling it.  I didn’t object.  Beer, cider, bubbly for the toast. I was getting tipsy. We sat down to eat and next to me was a woman with a huge laugh and an even bigger capacity for alcohol. We were kindred spirits.  My girlfriend did try telling me to slow down but it was past the point of logic or reasoning.  It was getting BAD. I reached for the red wine and knocked a glass of red wine over me and the woman sat next to me.  VERY BAD. I staggered to my tent to change my clothes. Whilst I was gone several people spoke to my girlfriend to ask if I was OK and if she was OK. BAD but not quite UGLY…..Yet.

The VERY UGLY

Most of this comes from my girlfriend who told me about events this morning.  I remember very little. I was covering my ears and saying,”Stop! I don’t want to hear any more”. And …. “Oh no I didn’t, did I?”

I got back to the main tent, I drank more, I danced, I asked the drinking woman to marry me.  Very oddly I accidentally burped during one of the speeches.  My dancing cleared the dancefloor.  I was the epitome of the embarrassing drunk at the wedding. My behaviour was boorish and objectionable (why didn’t someone just hit me?). I went back to the tent and slumped across the air bed. My girlfriend tried to move me but I was out cold.  She said that she was worried I might have alcohol poisoning.  She went back and I’m glad that she had a couple of hours without me embarrassing her.When she came back I woke, sorted myself out and we went to bed. My drunken antics had been very UGLY.
This morning as my girlfriend told me of how I was yesterday I felt ashamed of myself.  I wanted to pack up and go. I did not want to see or face anyone.  The drinking woman came over and she said I had been great fun and had started speaking Spanish at one point.  I can’t remember but I was just thinking, “I need to get away from here.” My girlfriend said that I was not nasty to her or anything like that.  If I was the kind of drunk that became aggressive or nasty I would definitely never want to drink again. Nevertheless,  my behaviour had been terrible and I felt for my girlfriend.  She will have friends saying that she should stop seeing me.  They would have a point.  I think I would stop seeing me. 
So that was the wedding; the question remains; why did I drink like that? I’m not a great fan of weddings, talking to people you don’t know; a drink or two definitely helps to lubricate the social gears.  But that excessive drinking, what is that all about? Partly habit, partly my excessive nature.  Could I have been trying to disgust myself, show myself that I will never be able to moderate my drinking?  Could I have been trying to disgust my girlfriend so that she does give up on me?  I don’t know.  What I do know is that  this is not the first time I have got this way at a social function.  July was always going to be a tricky month and with a family BBQ reunion next weekend and a trip to Germany the week after that the testing times are still here.  But I am not going to subject my girlfriend again to what she had to put up with yesterday. For next week I need a plan, a strategy.  I have one or two ideas and I shall have a few alcohol free days this week and really start going to  social events with more than just a vague intention to drink less.  That clearly does not work. 

Now where’s that award, I must have won!

Jim x

Posted in Alcohol dependency, Drunkenness, moderation, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , | 6 Comments

Just what is your problem Jim?

Saturday morning.  Last night was supposed to be the third of my no drinking days this week and also my first attempt at not having a drink on Friday since the dawn of time.  I cracked and wrote a blog post full of anger and indignation. It was at best insensitive to those bloggers who have taken the abstinence route but there was a truth there that I needed to put down.

I now need to unpick last night.  Wednesday and Thursday were two of my designated no drinking days. No real problem.  Certainly made me realise that I am not physiologically addicted to alcohol as I had no cravings or shakes etc.  In fact I felt really good.  I also did some more research and decided that for me, in the future I should aim to drink no more than 40 units a week.  That is quite high but it seems the real damage happens when you drink 50 + units and my average has been 55 units a week although this last week, despite 2 non alcohol days I have managed to consume a ridiculous 70+ units.

I knew my girlfriend was coming round, I was cooking and the power of association, not addiction got the better of me.  It was Friday night. Friday. The end of the week;release and enjoyment time.  The sun was shining.  It was a warm evening In England.  Friday, warm evening; THAT EQUALS WINE! Looking back I should have realised that I should not have tackled this powerful association so soon in my “trying to moderate”phase.  So I opened the wine.  I drank  three-quarters of the bottle. It felt good.  I was at peace with the world. My girlfriend left early as we are off to a wedding tomorrow and she needed to get home and pack etc.

I knew at that point that I should not have any more, but I did. Half a bottle of a nice red, a large vodka and bitter lemon. I was going for it. With the food too. Crackers and cheese.Why was I doing this? I suppose it was that thing of making a promise to yourself, breaking it and then saying,”Fuck it,” if I’ve screwed up I may as well do it big time.  But then I wrote last night’s blog post, almost taking out my anger on the sober bloggers. (I can be the most annoying tit sometimes).  But there was a truth there for me anyway.  That’s all any of us can do.  Reflect our reality.  My relationship to alcohol is unique, it shares features with others’ journeys but the elements are unique and my way out of it must be mine to figure out.  I have to do what’s right for me, and that means stop looking at alcohol as the problem. If I focus on alcohol I’m missing the crucial point – why do I crave/need/abuse/enjoy/celebrate/despise alcohol? What is it about my unique make-up and history that makes me drink far more than most of the people I know?

Going back to last night I think there were a couple of clues.  I shall put to one side the “I cracked and then went the whole hog” argument.  Of course that came into play but there was something else going on. I felt sad that I lacked the control over not just drinking but also food and relationships. I tend to do everything in excess.  There is a voraciousness there; a need to consume.  Consuming to feel the void maybe? To make myself feel a little less sad? I know last night that as I was chatting over dinner, the wedding of my former girlfriend came up.  She is getting married in two weeks and a family member who maintained her friendship with my former girlfriend is coming over to England for that wedding. Would I be meeting up with this family member? I said that was unlikely as I did not accidentally want to bump into my ex girlfriend. Simple enough but why was I feeling knotted up inside?  Did I still have feelings for her.  My life has been full of failed relationships; is it me? Do I have what it takes to maintain an intimate relationship? Intimacy. Now we are digging into it. I find true intimacy difficult, drink covers it up; allows the sense of intimacy to emerge or maybe alcohol gives me permission to be intimate.  I usually only tell my sons I love them when I have had a few. Why’s that?

This to me is now interesting (probably not to anyone else but then this is my attempt to understand myself), am I getting to some of the real reasons I drink? Intimacy, the lack of it, the fear of it. I could add emotions generally.  When I drink, one of the benefits is that it allows emotions to surface. Last night I felt anger and sadness, but at least I felt something.  I cry in two situations, firstly if I am watching someone else’s emotions/story from a viewpoint such as television,film or opera and secondly when I have a drink.  With a drink I can lament or feel sorry for the losses I have experienced or the things I have never experienced. When I am with people whether with or without  a drink I am happy-go-lucky Jim, always a smile on his face, in control and willing to help others. Today when I go to the wedding I shall be the life and soul.  I’ll drink,chat,dance, maybe play guitar,sing, tell jokes, drink and be merry. Hopefully I won’t get drunk and fall over (that’s not really my style).

But right now, writing these words, I can almost touch the pain that is lurking under the surface.  The pain of losing my son and only brother within a year of each other nearly 9 years ago, the pain of knowing that the anniversary of my son’s death is only a week away, the pain of knowing that someone I did love but we were just too fucked up to ever be able to live together is getting married in two weeks time. The pain of not having the emotional capacity to share these feelings with my current girlfriend.  Scary. Setting it out like this. This is the stuff I need to explore I think.  No wonder I am clinging onto alcohol.  It might be the one thing that has kept me going, that has allowed me to feel and cry on occasion.  Alcohol has helped but I have allowed it to move from help to hindrance.  I think I do have to confront some issues and maybe in turn that could mean me being less dependent on alcohol.

In typical Jim spirit, I shall now put these uncomfortable thought to one side and get ready for my first camping wedding. I shall forget my problems, have a great day and maybe just have a little cry later on together with telling everyone how much I love them.

To the sober bloggers, particularly the wonderful Wendy,  I want to say sorry for being unnecessarily opinionated and insensitive. I do admire those that give up and I completely get that for some people it can be the only way to go. For me, if I give up I may never understand what drove me into drinking unheathily in the first place.  I want to be able to drink but drink moderately and at peace with myself.

Jim x

Posted in Alcohol dependency, Influences on drinking, moderation, sobriety, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , | 6 Comments

Alcohol is not the problem, we are! 

This is the controversial post;the one that could alienate. But what the hell. I have read so many posts from sober bloggers, demonising alcohol and although I know I have a problem, it’s not alcohol’s fault. Alcohol in its myriad magical forms is merely a drug. It lacks consciousness; it doesn’t target, it doesn’t manipulate. It just is. It’s how we use or abuse that is the issue. I’ve heard the same thing said about so many things; Facebook, the internet, junk food, pornography. They are not the problem. We are the problem. We have choices, we can choose to destroy ourselves with alcohol or equally with cocaine, motorcycles, climbing mountains. I have seen friends die from alcohol abuse yet I never once blamed alcohol. Alcohol was merely their chosen suicide vehicle.

I never want to spend my life counting days since my last drink, floating in some no man’s land of denial, shame and desire. If I give up alcohol I have failed. I’ve lost control and I have lost something I love. No way. Alcohol is not the problem; it’s our shame, anxiety, excess, whatever. It’s rooted in the person not some neutral substance. Sure the way it’s so available, so acceptable doesn’t help but at the end of the day it’s a  choice. I can’t control my food intake, is food to blame? Clearly not.

If I do end up giving up alcohol then for me it means I have failed. Failed to control my intake of a substance I enjoy but which I allowed to dominate. If it’s harmful then I have a choice. But abstinence that’s a failure. It’s saying I can’t control an aspect of my life. It means a miserable future of counting bloody days like some sad endgame. Not for me. If I drink too much then I have to work on me. I’m the problem. I need to sort that. Giving up alcohol will not only deny me a pleasure but also signify a failure of will. For me alcohol is a drug, sure, but it is also something that I have allowed to be associated with times and events that mean it has taken on the appearance of being in control. Nonsense. I am the cognisant one. With thought, planning and resolve I can be in control. if I can’t succeed then I am at fault, not alcohol.

Someone needs to put the other point of view.

Jim

Posted in Uncategorized | 4 Comments