Since starting this blog it seems that I am thinking of little other than my drinking. In between entries I think of what the next post should be and I often do not post because there are so many potential posts that I end up writing nothing. In between posts I think about my drinking, I record what I am drinking, I contemplate future scenarios where I will be drinking – to be honest it’s enough to turn a man to drink! And that is a real worry- is my writing about, and focus on drinking actually making me drink more? To be honest I think I know the answer-NO IT’S NOT!
I think the writing and obsessing about it is making me realise just how bad things have become. Take the last few days. Since Friday I have had 4 days out of 5 where I have drunk at least 15 units of alcohol. The UK guidelines are that a safe level of drinking is no more than 14 units in a week- that means that in less than one week I have consumed a month’s worth. Before starting this blog and recording what I drink I would have gently reflected that I had had a few days of slightly excessive drinking and carried on. Now I see the amount in front of my eyes- 4 days out of 5 where I have exceeded a week’s safe drinking level. 68 units spread over 4 days.
Yesterday was supposed to be one of my first tests for moderation. I’d set myself a reasonable target of a few drinks – maybe a very generous 6-8 units.So how did this test of my resolve and moderation go? Crap! That’s how. Yet priceless in what it has shown me. Let me backtrack. Last night I went for a meal with 7 women that I had trained with last year. We are all volunteers for a charity and occasionally we like to get together and do a bit of social catching up. We had planned to meet at a cheap and cheerful restaurant. Everyone drove there, except me. This was a social occasion and I knew that meant I would have to drink. So one of the group kindly agreed to pick me up. All day yesterday I was looking ahead and feeling anxious; would I be able to moderate? Should I just drive and that way not drink at all? That seemed impossible. I knew if I did I would be sitting there all evening just thinking about the fact that I didn’t have a drink. As I contemplated this prior to going out, I felt depressed- is this what it has come to? A very ordinary get together on a Tuesday night has taken on massive proportions- all related to alcohol. I ditched the idea of driving.
I had an hour before being picked up. I knew most of the group would not be drinking and I dreaded both the prospect of drinking moderately (harder for me than not drinking at all) or drinking normally which would result in me being visibly the one with a drink problem. I didn’t want to go. It would be easier to stay home and not drink. That was scary- I would choose not going out and meeting friends because I was worried that I couldn’t drink in a normal way. I found a solution – an alcoholic solution.
I went to the fridge and poured a large glass of wine. Genius Jim! Pre-load! I ignored the sarcastic voice that was ringing in my ears. I had cracked. A second and third glass quickly followed. So this is it. The great plan? Get pissed before going out so that I can appear not to drink much when I get to the restaurant. I am guessing this is a common tactic for those who are alcohol dependent? Once the wine was flowing the voice stopped and I felt calm and relaxed and good. I enjoyed the evening and probably no-one guessed that I had already drunk nearly a bottle of wine. I had a beer and a large glass of wine with the meal and felt satisfied that I’d appeared to drink reasonably whilst at the same time tanked up with alcohol from my pre-loading at home.
I got home and felt good but of course I’d spent 3 hours drinking very little so on arriving home I had two large gin and tonics. I was starting to feel disgusted with myself. My first real test at moderation and I had ended up drinking nearly 20 units. The experience of yesterday shows me that my problem with alcohol is much bigger than I have previously admitted to myself and that the various factors that converge to make me feel compelled to drink are going to be difficult to overcome. There is a wedding coming up this weekend and I am now dreading it. I should of course be looking forward to it but all I am thinking is, “Will I drink too much, how can I disguise it, will I embarrass my girlfriend, will I make a complete dick of myself?” I dread these social occasions and that seems sad. I think I am slowly coming to the conclusion that if I cannot learn to moderate then I will have to consider giving up completely. Let’s see how this weekend goes?