It took a while to pluck up the courage to write this but a conversation with a friend of mine unwittingly saying how they hated alcoholics added an extra push to get back to writing.
The strides I thought I had made in my fight with addiction and my naivety, that with minimal work it would be controlled, inevitably I took my eye went off the ball! There it was staring me down like a hungry dog to a prime steak. It never truly leaves you, something I only really understand after several years of battling it.
Right now it is manageable, I do still drink but try to keep it to twice a week. This way its like throwing the beast a bone to calm it, lest it get loose and wreak havoc. The overall goal is of course to fully control it rather than it control me.
Small steps, that’s the way forward, no rushing off before you can walk without the aid of a crutch. Of course one of the steps is to learn how to handle my anxiety and depression in a more efficient way than turning to alcohol to self medicate, as thats the temptation; it can rapidly block out the pain and misery you feel, what could be wrong with that?
As it turns out, a hell of a lot as you spiral down into the vicious circle of addiction and convincing yourself that this is the only way to help; that nothing else will work. That is the most devious thing it does to you, that little voice that convinces you that nothing else works, no one can help you but alcohol. You know in your head that you need to do something different, anything, easier said than done when your mind is awash with “I need to drink” “when will I get a drink” “How will I pay for it?” and so on and so forth.
It’s a maddening mess of dependence on self medication and withdrawing from the world to limit the pain that you could possibly receive. However this is to miss the point that while avoiding that hurt, you cut yourself off from the potential relief, the help, the way forward. Without that you forget how to live and your mind concentrates on the one thing that can nullify this painful existence, the very thing that put you in that position in the first place; alcohol.
This is made all the more difficult if you suffer with any type of mental health condition. in my case I have anxiety/depression and Asperger syndrome as well as a physical disease; type 1 diabetes. The constant vigilance over maintaining blood sugar levels and working on my social phobias/contacts/skills etc all while trying to maintain a sense of normalcy and keeping another watchful eye on the addiction. Something is bound to give if you don’t have these all in order.
Forgetfulness, thinking that I don’t need to eat yet or clean or whatever always felt, and still does to a degree, that some of that normal every day stuff is not important. When of course it is, it’s a part of the basic foundation of learning to live. A lesson I am still learning. A lesson that I’ll never stop learning but will never give up.
That’s all anyone really wants, to be able to “live”. We are all at different stages, different levels, our own set of complications, road blocks and obstacles. To respect each other and the difficulties we go through is what I have learnt from this whole experience.
And I hope from reading this you might have a better idea of what it is like and realise the feckless lazy drunk image peddled by alot of the media is overly simplistic and quite often downright false, it’s actually a complicated, painful and messy business.
I hope people will remember that.