Germany- A lifestyle to Die for!

I have been delaying writing this post for a couple of days and felt confused as to why. I arrived back from Germany late Friday night but felt lethargic, tired and avoided THE BLOG. Why? It could be because moderation went out the window big time but that was no great surprise. It could be the general physical weariness I experienced after a week of food and drink excess, and yet ….I threw myself into other distracting activities (I even washed and ironed my curtains which I never do). No, something deeper was troubling me and the more I reflect on alcohol the more I realise I am focusing on symptoms rather than causes.  As I look deeper I start to find things that are uncomfortable, unpleasant; things I would not rather confront or admit to.  Yes, I want and need to moderate my alcohol consumption but it’s a smokescreen; a convenient and identifiable target that moves my attention from the unpalatable.

First things first; Germany

I love Germany.  My mother was German and I am going to actively see if I can get a German passport as a way of semi-dealing with the madness and self-inflicted destruction we know as Brexit. That’s another post for sure. Germany; great people, lovely towns, beautiful countryside and earthy, no-nonsense food and drink. It was a holiday, which in my book means forget everything you should do and do what you want to do.  In my case that meant completely forgetting about my own moderation advice and indulging in a week-long, “How much can I stuff into a 60 year old body?”bingefest. The answer is, quite a lot. I drank wine, beer, various types of schnapps and complemented this with sausage, cheese, bread,black pudding, cakes, fruit, more sausage and cheese; you can see why I say it’s a lifestyle to die for. But of course most Germans do not consume the way I do, and if I lived there as I did last week I do not think I would make it to 61.  In the moment I enjoyed it but I was also aware that I was slightly out of control and eating and drinking far more than was good for me. I worked out that I was drinking an average of 15-20 units of alcohol a day (roughly a bottle and a half to two bottles of wine a day.)  Although I enjoyed myself at the time I was also yearning to get back home where I could get back control and reestablish some healthier patterns of eating and drinking.

Some dark truths

I felt deflated and somewhat depressed on my return. I was so full of food and drink that I had to gradually ween myself off over the weekend and spent yesterday feeling disgusted with myself. A thought kept reoccurring, why was my default holiday position, eat and drink to excess? I know it’s common to overindulge on holiday but I seem to take it to another level. I looked back at my week, why was I going for it like I was?  This is where I could feel things emerging that I did not want to give a name to, but I have to if I am truly going to change my mind state so that excessive eating and drinking do not remain my default position.

GREED

We can all admit to feeling down or being unfair to a partner but there’s nothing redeeming about greed. Very seldom do you hear someone admit,”You know, I’m a really greedy bastard.” It’s a character flaw, a sin in some people’s eyes, an unpleasant and unlikable characteristic.  It may just be another symptom, another layer of the onion that hides a yet more unpalatable truth, but it’s there and I have to confront it. I’m greedy. Put food out, it’s there, it’s free, I will eat it.  I’m no longer hungry, but I eat it.  I might be greedy because I grew up with an older brother and the first to finish their food got seconds. Food was scarce when I was younger, rationed almost. Excuses Jim. You are a greedy pig. At home I am not so greedy, but where the food is free or I have paid for it and there’s no limit, greed takes over.  The wedding a few weeks ago; free bar, the greed takes over; get as much of that free beer down your neck as you can.  It’s actually disgusting me writing this down. It links to another horrible truth and characteristic of mine.

MEANNESS

I tend to be mean with money, I think about every pound I spend.  My father was very mean and constantly spoke about wasting money and how bad that was; “switch off the lights”, “Do you know how much that costs…” on and on.  He passed on that parsimony to me.  I force myself to fight it and friends would probably say I am not mean, I buy my drinks, pay extra on restaurant bills due to drinking more, give my kids money, but every parting with money does not come easily for some inexplicable reason.  I check my money regularly. I am not rich but I am certainly not poor.  So when free food and drink is set before me the meanness and greed result in a horror show. The parsimony has its good elements. I am also mean spending money on myself so I am not materialistic or a massive consumer of the world’s limited resources.  I never get into debt and I do force myself to be generous to friends and charities which I can do because I am such a cautious spender.

SELF CENTREDNESS

God, I had no idea how depressing this post would be.  If I were reading this I would not want to know Jim Simmonds. Self-centredness, let’s see. I suppose this is me tending to put myself first and not really ever being able to intimately connect with others.  I feel like my life has been one long drama where I have had to pretend to be loving, concerned for others because I do not really feel it. Maybe that explains my holiday antics. Far from it being a week of freedom, it’s a week where I have to be with others, listening to them, taking account of what they want to do.  Maybe I just want to be by myself, but then I would suddenly yearn for companionship. No wonder I drink. Just as with the meanness I actively fight my selfishness by forcing myself to help others. I volunteer for a local and national charity and partly I do this so that I do not judge myself too harshly as a selfish man.

Not dark but true

The other things I experience most of the time are anxiety and boredom. I get anxious about how I will be perceived, will people who I am meeting like me? Will I be able to park my car? Will it cost much money? Added to that is the fact that I get bored easily.  Sitting around talking and doing nothing bores me. Sometimes people bore me, I can even bore myself.

AH, relief

Drink.  There; its OK now.  My medication, my solace, where would I be now without it’s soothing and ameliorating properties. When I drink the dark clouds lift for a while. The boredom goes, the anxiety disappears. I feel unburdened.  I am no longer mean, “More drinks anyone? Come on have a chaser, it’s on me.”  Meanness goes away. I buy presents, I feel warm towards others. I tell them I love them and I really do.  The world and I are in a good place.  Maybe that’s why I can avoid drinking fairly easily when I am at home alone. NO interaction, no meanness or greed, no negatives to confront, no real anxiety and I can do things I want to do, so no boredom.  In a way this reflection is a good and timely thing. It makes me even more determined to uncover the real reasons as to why I am like I am.  I have some idea, but then again maybe that is the wrong path.  Maybe I should focus on how to be the person I want to be, live differently, have therapy, meditate; anything to break free of some of these negative mind states that hold me back and lead to some of the excesses with drink and food.  If I am less greedy,selfish, anxious and bored maybe my need for drink will naturally diminish.  Germany was a trial too soon on my journey.  I enjoyed it at the time but it is not a good or sustainable way to live.

I didn’t drink yesterday or today.  I feel better when I don’t drink. It reminds me of something I once read along the lines of “not drinking is easy, drinking too much is easier still, it’s the middle path that is so hard”.  It’s the middle path I am seeking and alcohol is not my enemy; I am.

Jim x

About dealingwithalcoholdependency

Semi retired professional working in education and social work. Exploring how I became alcohol dependent and hoping I can find a way to moderate rather than abstain. It may be a losing battle but reluctant at this stage to lose this constant companion.
This entry was posted in Alcohol dependency, anxiety, Germany, Influences on drinking, moderation, Uncategorized and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

8 Responses to Germany- A lifestyle to Die for!

  1. Ad dy says:

    I’m glad you liked Germany. I am half German too and I lived there as an adult in total for 4 years so know all about the delights of their wine, beer, cake and sausages. But, as I’ve said before, you need therapy to get to the root of why you need to consume so much alcohol, because 15-20 units a day is abnormally insane. Look at the PROGNOSIS tab on the top of my blog to remind yourself what you are heading for if you continue drinking in that quantity and read my posts dated March 2010 to see what an alcoholic death looks like. If you are serious about giving up (sorry “moderating” as you selectively call it), then that should surely shock you.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi Addy I agree 15-20 units is mad but 1 it’s not all the time,2 with that I’m not getting overly drunk or objectionable and 3 other than raised BP I seem quite well. Having said all that denial stuff I know that if I did drink anything like that for a long period it would be suicidal. In some ways that’s why I was glad to come back. Holiday in Germany was not the time or place to try and moderate. I’ve had three days without a drink and have to say my body is thanking me. Was your husband able to stop for days or was it it daily drinking? I’m grateful for your interest , I will look at your blog entries. I have seen a friend wither and die from alcoholism but never really see myself in that category. I’m excessive I know but my fear of illness and death will help curb my drinking. I was the same with smoking and quit that completely. Drinking is different, I really do want to be a “normal” drinker again and am determined to get there. I know a lot of the sober community would call it denial but as I explore my reasons for drinking excessively I am sure that that combined with discipline around drinking will see a marked reduction. Vielen Dank.
      ( I am missing the coffee and kuche more than the beer btw!)

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      • Ad dy says:

        Sadly my husband drank every day once the alcoholism took hold. He was fine up until he retired and could take it or leave it, but once retired, he spiralled down (i think in depression) and was drinking a bottle of whisky every day. He would wake in the morning shaking and needing more to calm his shaking. After each detox, he firmly believed he could have the occasional drink as and when he chose, but within days it grabbed him by the nose and led him back down to emptying a full whisky bottle a day again. Hence my worry that you cannot moderate it. I believe it’s all or nothing.

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      • That’s really sad Addy and I feel for you and understand why you would see things the way you do. My friend got into a similar spiral and near the end was drinking 4 cans of strong lager for breakfast just to stop the shakes. He was using drink as a slow suicide and I will never reach that point. When one gets to the bottle of whiskey a day stage it has got to be a full stop to drinking. I really feel now that I have an added incentive to make this work, I want to prove to you that it can be done. Thanks for your comments, I really do appreciate them.

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  2. Dana Pescrilo says:

    I’m hugely impressed with your “tell all”, a very brave and insightful post. You express yourself well; wish I was as open and honest with myself on my blog, maybe one day I will be. For now, all you can do, is “do you.” American expression to be yourself. I believe in your determination. dp

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi Dana, I went back over your previous comments and at last found your blog and had to create a google account so I could follow it. That’s done. First thing: HAPPY BIRTHDAY!, secondly it seems we both have similar goals of cutting down which is not an easy option so good on you, it feels like I have a travelling companion. Thirdly, your holiday. Like you I am at the start of looking at my relationship to alcohol; origins etc. But a holiday is never going to be an easy time to make big changes. I did drink a lot in Germany, I knew I would an I decided I wasn’t going to beat myself up about it and hey presto since I got back I’ve given my body a rest and feel great. Friday I will have a drink with an old friend and I am ok with that too. You deserve your holiday and to have it how ever you want. If you give yourself permission you may find it’s easier to still be fairly moderate because you will be cutting out the failure and disappointment of not having avoided drinking.Enjoy it, take it easy and let’s compare notes when you are back.
      Jim

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      • Dana Pescrilo says:

        Thanks for making a google account just to view my blog! An unexpected birthday present which makes me joyous! And there is something about your story, which speaks to what I’m going through. Although I’m taking a different course, I’d like to be on yours, but for now I’m doing it my way (Sinatra song, hehehe). And yes, I am your travelling companion, thanks for letting join your ride.

        Lastly, thanks for saying I deserve my holiday and I may have it however I want. We shall see how it goes! dp

        Liked by 1 person

      • Dana, We each have to do it our way! Strangely enough I haven’t had a drink since Sunday just to give my liver a rest and today met up with an old friend. We enjoyed a few drinks and I was a bit squiffy(English phrase sorry) . I then had a meal with different friends tonight but unexpectedly tried a drink and didn’t want to finish it. So instead I went upstairs and saw your comment and here I am replying. I say this because this is how I would like it to be, not stopping a session because I have to but because I don’t want any more to drink. A small but hopefully a significant moment. Now where was I ? Oh yes ” regrets, I’ve had a few but then again too few……….”

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