So I have been asked to keep an account or a diary of my progress. I don’t mind doing this otherwise I would not have even started a blog let alone written one about my struggle with alcohol. I would like to point out though that I am not quitting, merely trying to regain control of my life, time, thoughts and emotions instead of blanketing them all with booze in a hope that I can numb my way to deaths final destiny. The objective is not to drink during the week. Saturday will be ok but I want to avoid binge drinking. Sunday is a bit of a grey area which I will come to presently. This diary will be done on a weekly basis. So here we go then, this is how it’s been for me so far.
Booze provided me with escapism but now I wanted to escape from it. On the Sunday I rested and had a few cans plus a nice bottle of red wine and settled down to an early night. That night I was restless and worried that I would not have the willpower or the inclination the next evening to go through with it. This wasn’t the first time I had tried to get a hold of this particular tigers tail and the first few attempts had not succeeded beyond 24hrs. I focused on work on Monday, determined not to let any upset, no matter how major or minor, give me an excuse to have a drink after work. Thankfully the day flew by and before I knew it I was on my way home.
There was a moment of frisson as I passed the local shop where I’d normally stock up for a night of drinking, at this point in my life that would be a couple of cans of beer and a three litre bottle of cider, there was money in my pocket and a want to drink but greater than this was the desire to resist, to abstain, to remain away from the booze. The actual Monday evening was fine though. I had in doors, and still have, two cans of beer, a bottle of red wine and a bottle of 40yr old whiskey. When without alcohol I normally suffer from anxiety and succumb to buying some and then drink it on the way home out of a sense of relief but actually having booze to hand alleviated this anxiety. It was there if I wanted it but I didn’t, not at all.
I focused on how I had felt and behaved when last seriously drunk and the risk I had run to a dear friendship simply because I had drunk too much. Grabbing my book I buried my head inside it, when that no longer held my attention I wrote, when that waned I simply put on the gaming console and escaped that way. Before I knew it it was time for bed and off I went. Happy and a little proud that I had made it, sleep didn’t come easy that night and my sleep was restless and full of fragmented dreams.
Tuesday morning, bright, energetic and confident. Completely fine. Just the start of another day but without the alcohol lag that comes with drinking. Not the hangover, no, the lag. A hangover is alcohol poisoning. Pounding headache, watery bowels etc etc etc the lag is different. When drinking on a daily basis, for me, the body is reticent to start a new day, the alcohol is still in the system and gets sweated out, the mind has to clear and get going the body and needs to reset and readjust before the toil of day can commence. This morning I didn’t exactly spring out of bed (too old for that, I’m not in my 20’s anymore) but I did flow into the day rather than having to fight the current to get going.
Work was fine, a few minor hiccups but nothing of real interest. The work day ended, I didn’t even think when I passed the shop, just went home ate, read, wrote went to bed. Drank loads of water as I also did on the Monday but that was more out of habit, muscle memory I guess. This habitual movement was something I was accustomed to when I gave up smoking. My fingers needed something to do back then so I dabbled in origami, badly, and found other things for my fingers to do. In the same respect for over twenty years my muscles and psyche had the ingrained behaviour of raising a vessel to my lips and drinking, to stop doing that I think would have been discommodious. It would have upset my settled mind and made me fidgety and anxious. Not something that I wanted to happen so water, water and more water. Must have urinated more on these evenings than if I’d been on a pub crawl.
At this point I didn’t even miss being drunk, didn’t miss the slurred words, the short attention span. I was able to think coherently and string complex thoughts together and remember where I had started and follow how I’d reach the conclusion of these thoughts. Normally I would have been a rambling incoherent mess gibbering on about god knows what by around 9pm with no understanding or memory of how I’d mentally or emotionally got anywhere. Still a bit hard getting to sleep and the dreams were slightly lurid and disturbing.
Much the same as days 1 and 2 truth be told. Nothing new to report. Spoke to my brother who was supportive and encouraged him to read my blog, so far he still hasn’t but he has a busy life.
Had friends around in the evening. One remarked on how I was only drinking water and asked if I wanted some beer. I declined and told him that I hadn’t had a drink since Sunday night. His response was to ask if I was ill or had something happened to me? “No,” I told him “just want to stop drinking during the week.” He looked at me askance as if he hadn’t heard correctly. We have known each other for over 30 years and nothing more was said. Thanks for the moral encouragement and support my friend, I don’t think he thinks I’ll make it and I will have great joy in showing him that I can. My housemate has continued drinking throughout all this and seems incredulous that I have stopped so suddenly and so simply. Didn’t take long to nod off this night and I slept soundly throughout the night, the first time since Saturday night.
Friday! Just started work. I am looking forward to seeing my son and letting him know I haven’t been drinking, I know he will be happy and proud of me. We talked about me cutting back on booze much the same as we discuss everything. When I gave up smoking he was the only person I didn’t want to let down when I was quitting. I still get the odd craving for a cigarette and it’s his disappointment that ensures that I will never light up again. I know that with the drinking it will be the same. I won’t let my son down, I won’t let myself down. I’m not exactly looking forward to the weekend. I know I will drink and that’s ok, as I’ve always said I’m not quitting, just regaining control but I’m now not so sure I want a drink in case the flood gates open. I have no craving for it, well mentally I wouldn’t mind getting tipsy but physically my biological body doesn’t seem to have any want, desire or need for it. I’ve not got the shakes or anything like that. I’m enjoying turning up to work not drenched in an alcoholic sweat and also appreciate the ease of getting up and about first thing in the morning. If I do drink this weekend then it will be a little, if at all, at least that’s the plan. Guess you and I will find out how it goes, I’ll keep you informed and up to date.