Not gonna lie. This one is some serious shit. I’ve been typing this motherfucker for four months, in various incarnations. This is not a ‘badge of honour’ post. This is not a ‘well done me’ post. This is an ‘I’ve fucked up massively’ post, is fuelled mainly by shame, and consists of more than one portion of humble pie.
An uncomfortable truth? I have a problem with alcohol.
People close to me know I've struggled with alcohol for a number of years, but to varying degrees. It's safe to say, I've abused it on a number of occasions. I have used it as a crutch, an enabler, a friend, and a coping mechanism. I've blacked out, I've hurt myself, I've destroyed relationships, and I've overstepped boundaries in droves. I have laughed it off, excused the habit, indulged in cultural normalising. I've encouraged others to drink, often to excess, and it has formed the backbone of many social occasions.
Recently, I started discussing my own dysfunctional relationship with alcohol with my clients, in an effort to provoke thought on their own drinking habits. It’s been really illuminating. And, I stopped drinking. Sadly, the reasons for this were that my consumption had become both dangerous, completely irresponsible and potentially lethal. What was once a cheeky few cocktails had become blackout chaos on a regular basis; not just socially, but even alone.
Every decision I make when drinking is completely stupid; a catalogue of terrible and irresponsible decisions, regrets and utter awfulness. I do things, for which I am so remorseful, it feels like my very soul actually cries. I cheated on my boyfriend. I damaged property. I've sustained head injuries. I try to hurt myself. I become depressed. I eat literally everything. I buy everything and spend money I don't have. I have no off switch. Every single consequence of drinking alcohol has become negative, desperate, riddled with utter disgust in my sober life. Every drink comes with at least one raised eyebrow from one corner of the room. It's not cool, or fun, or any of the things that Instagram tells me it will be. I become a mess, incoherent both physically and emotionally. I become something I don't want to be anymore.
In the time I have spent consistently sober, my life has been so different. No chaos, no terrible decisions, no fear on waking, no fuzzy days. Life has become manageable, optimistic, clear. I have a routine that doesn't involve being curled up all day in pain. I don't have to apologise for my behaviour in the aftermath of another blackout. I just get the day done in the way that I want to. Clarity, concentration and productivity. I enjoy it. It ends, and then I get another. It's so simple.
I'm not saying everyone should quit the booze in order to live their best life. But, everyone who regularly damages themselves or others, in any way, while drinking, should. It's not about quantity, or the units; it's about your quality of life. Your family, your friends, your partners: they all deserve the real, authentic, you. Your life is too short to waste inflicting pain in any direction. You are too precious to be wasted.