“If you are trying to control something, it is already out of control!”
I have maybe shown my cards too early with the above quote but the concept of controlled drinking fascinates me.
I tried everything to control my drinking; Changing drinks quite often. Drinking spirits only. Not drinking spirits. Only drinking spirits when I had no room for beer. Getting stoned before I went to the pub. Drinking before I went to the pub. Not drinking before I went to the pub. Drinking at home. Not drinking at home. Whatever I thought would stop me drinking to excess I tried it. Everything except not drinking of course. The thought of not drinking was too radical. Too incomprehensible to even imagine. So I continued to fight on. Day after day. Week after week. Year after year. Trying to control the uncontrollable.
I have a love-hate relationship with AA but credit where credit is due. It was them who taught me “the first drink does the damage!” If I don’t have the first I can’t have the tenth. If I don’t have the first I don’t have to worry about controlling my drinking. Simple… now. Wasn’t so simple for a long time. A long time of regret, guilt and shame. Of blackouts and lost time. Of fighting myself and losing each round. Waking up time after time, dumbfounded and downtrodden. Wondering how the fuck it had happened again. What magic was at play? How did it keep happening? “I got talking!” that’s what I would say. Or “I was having a good time!” Just excuses.
If anyone who is showing inability to control his drinking can do the right- about-face and drink like a gentleman, our hats are off to him. Heaven knows, we have tried hard enough and long enough to drink like other people!
For me, moderation isn’t possible. I tried. Numerous times. It took HARD lessons and rock bottoms to drive it into my thick skull that it wasn’t possible. I remember relapsing on the belief that I had addiction beaten. That I was back in control. I wasn’t. That relapse lasted two years and nearly killed me. But you’re not me are you. You are not an alcoholic fool. You are strong. You don’t have a problem. But then why are you here reading this?
If you’re curious passer-by then welcome. If you’re starting to question why you can’t stop drinking once you start then I am talking to you. STOP before it is too late. It is scary. It is hard. But if you are waiting for drinking to fix the problem of drinking, you are in for a rough time. Some people get to the rock bottom and start drilling deeper. If it is becoming a problem STOP. It only gets worse. More of a bad thing doesn’t make a situation better. It makes it worse. If you start drinking to only have a couple but then wake the next day with a blank memory like an alien abductee then STOP DRINKING. If it happens often then definitely STOP DRINKING. Ask yourself this question “Do I still want to be making the same mistakes in five years? One year? One month?” If the answer is no then there is only one option QUIT.
It took me years to learn this lesson. I blamed everything and everyone before accepting reality. I am a reasonably well-educated man. I couldn’t fall foul of such a thing. Could I? OH YES I COULD. Addiction doesn’t discriminate. It doesn’t pick victims based on social standing. But it quickly relegates. It will strip you of everything, whilst you are distracted, trying to figure out what the fuck keeps happening. Why do you keep getting into these states? Pouring another drink to ponder the problem over. Meanwhile, your life is burning down. Where does all my money go? Why is my loved one angry all the time? Why are my kids scared of me? Why do people no longer want to drink with me? Fuck em all I’ll drink on my own!!
You might not be there yet. And you are strong-willed so you won’t end up getting there. I thought the same once. I hope you don’t. I hope it doesn’t come to that. I would prefer a stable future for you much more than I would prefer to say “I told you so!”
If it is a struggle to control your drinking. If it is a problem then the question becomes “How bad does the problem have to become?” What do you have to lose before making a change? Your driving licence? Your partner? Your job? Your house? Your kids? Your life? All those are possible if you have them to lose. All those happen more often than is talked about. This cloak and dagger approach coupled with the stigma of having a drinking problem makes it difficult to quit. Plus, not being able to control your drinking habit is seen as a failing. A weakness of character. It becomes shameful. So people start to hide the fact. They suffer in silence. Eventually the need to suppress the feeling increases as does the amount of alcohol needed to do so. It begins to spiral downwards. Rock bottom is ready and braced for impact. We, unfortunately, don’t see it coming.
The rock bottom is a wake-up call for the fortunate. The unfortunate carry on believing it to not be real. Or too painful to face. Either way, it is ignored until the slap across the face has more power and can’t be ignored.
Maybe moderation is possible. I used to open a packet of sweets and have to eat the lot. Now I can leave them. Maybe some people could moderate their alcohol consumption. In all honesty, I am too scared to find out if I can. The loss is far greater than the reward. Experience tells me to drink again is to get back into an unnecessary fight. To try to convince myself that I am “strong enough” to beat it. Fuck that. Life’s too short and I’ve already had enough of a beating to go again. That is evidence enough that abstinence is the right choice for me.
Hopefully, you don’t keep punching yourself in the face for too long before you figure out why your nose is bleeding.
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