Well I’m sorry,but yes,this is another blog about alcohol. I hope though that it will be a different type of blog as well, in that I am starting this blog at the exact point that I start on a journey to change my relationship with alcohol. It will be a real-time diary of my attempt to make this change and if I fail to change then I think the outlook for me will be pretty grim.
All pretty serious stuff which is not how I present to friends and family. To them I am the loud, jovial Jim. Always cracking jokes and being fairly positive about life. They see me as a heavy drinker but also someone who leads a fairly normal life and not a life disrupted by alcohol. I have never missed a day at work due to alcohol, I don’t drink and drive, I function well in society. People who know me know I like a drink and that’s it. The only person who knows how bad my drinking has become is my partner. She worries about my drinking and the effect it will have on my health and life expectancy.
So a change has to happen but I feel I cannot share this change with friends and family. That is why this blog is being written anonymously. I want to share my story and my journey but I do not want to worry or concern those close to me. Writing my blog this way will help me to write openly and honestly about what has happened to me, hopefully it may help others who are also dealing with similar issues. I have blogged before in my own name and I know how supportive members of the blogging community can be and in the absence of that support from family and friends (my choice really to protect them and escape their inevitable pressure) I hope people out there will help me on this difficult journey. If it becomes mutually supportive so much the better.
Blogging anonymously was a reluctant choice but I knew that if I wanted to be honest about my relationship with alcohol then I had to do this using a pseudonym. Being open about my identity risked my relationship with employers, clients, family and friends or it would mean me down playing the real issues.
I hope you will understand my reasons for anonymity but I can promise that what I say will be true, honest and real; no pretence.
I can tell you that I am in my early sixties, semi-retired and have worked at a high level in education. I will say much more in future posts about my complex relationship to alcohol but as an introduction I can tell you that I have always been an enthusiastic drinker. Since the age of 17 I have enjoyed drinking and its been at the heart of my social life. When working full-time my heavy drinking was mainly restricted to weekends and holidays but as I have got older and stopped full-time work, two things have happened. Firstly I am drinking more often and secondly when I drink the effects last for much longer. I also have found I now crave drink in a way I never used to before and I think about drink in a way that troubles me; it dominates my thinking and that is not how I want things to be. And yet….. I love drinking. I like wine, beer, gin; I love the conviviality of pubs and other drinkers. I have had some fantastic experiences where drink has been present. But now the drinking is harming me and something has to change.
Some would say just give it up but that feels a step too far. I want, no, I need to find a way to change my relationship to alcohol so that it’s me that is control of the alcohol and not the other way round. If I cannot make that change then complete abstinence may have to be a consideration.
This then is my challenge; to cut down my alcohol consumption, to be in control of my behaviour around alcohol and to minimize the harmful effects it has had on me.
It starts today with this blog. I have already written too much for one post and apologies if this has been a dull opener. I had to make this start. In my next post I will say a little more about the pattern of drinking, the forces that maybe created this pattern and how I am planning to make the changes that I know I have to make. If you join me on this journey I will count that as a huge privilege.