Tuesday, July 27, 2010
Here it is, I feel wretched enough right now that it is time to finally admit it.
I have a drinking problem.
I have told myself many things to comfort myself that my drinking is not THAT out of control. I don't drink in the morning, I'm never drunk at work. I can, and occasionally do, go without alcohol for days without any physical side effects. I can, well, sometimes anyway, have a glass or two of wine without the need to get drunk. I enjoy wine-tasting without drunkeness. I drink with other social drinkers and normally, or at least often, I am no drunker than those around me.
Drinking started as a game. The first time I got drunk, at the age of fifteen, I giggled myself silly and felt no ill-effects the next day. I occasionally drank with friends and it was a fun diversion. In my early 20s in London, I built up my tolerance for alcohol and enjoyed out-drinking people. I received praise for being fun and bold. When drinking I had the confidence to dance and flirt and sleep ith people. Recounting drunken stories, including of sexual conquests, was fun and made me feel popular. Hangovers were a fun time to relax at work and eat junk-food. I've felt close to both sides of my extended family, English and Australian, even recaptured something from childhood, by drinking with them. Back home, the best nights of fun and interesting conversation with friends were always alcohol fuelled. When I met my love, we drank together. Our love was based on endless, exciting conversation, not booze, but there was always red wine around. We've had some awful nights and dreadful hangovers, our only yelling-matches have been fuelled by alcohol, but also we've had a lot of fun times with the drink.
Alcohol is part of our culture, a part I enjoy. It has become part of my identity too. But I can no longer pretend that it is a all good.
Here are some facts that I am ashamed of, but which I can no longer hide from.
- I regularly take sick days from work after excessive drinking.
- I regularly drink a bottle of wine or more every day.
- I regularly vomit and waste an entire day after a night of drinking.
- I prefer the company of other drinkers. I rarely go out unless I can get drunk.
- I have had blackouts from too much alcohol.
- I have been abusive under the influence of alcohol.
- I have had police take me home because I was too drunk to walk.
- I have been refused entry and kicked out of pubs for being too drunk.
- I have injured myself by being literally falling-down drunk.
- I have embarrassed people I love when drunk.
- I have said hurtful things to people I love when drunk.
- I have been promiscuous in dangersou ways when drinking.
- I have lost my license for driving under the influence of alcohol.
- I am obese largely due to how much I drink.
- We spend more than we can afford on alcohol.
- Last night I had seizure-like episodes due to dehydration from drinking.
These are my fears. I fear that I am boring and painfully shy without alcohol. I fear that if I fully admit to a drinking problem, I will be forced to be teetotal for the rest of my life. I fear that many of my relationships are intimately connected with alcohol. I love my home life and my friends, but the outside world often intimidates me. I fear that I need a way to escape reality, escape work, escape responsibility, and occasionally escape myself.
I also fear that I am destroying my body and wasting my life.
If I am dependent on alcohol, then I am not an independent person. If independence is my aim, then I must overcome my reliance on this drug.
I don't know what I am going to do, but for now, I am NOT going to have a drink.