I am not an alcoholic. I don't excessively drink. I do, however, suffer from harmful drinking, and what this means simply that when I drink my behaviour changes in a detrimental way. Without getting into it, I turn into a bit of a prick - or more of a prick, I guess - with alcohol being the excerbating catalyst. I have lightly touched on my anger issues in the past and to put it mildly I have a temper and alcohol seems to not help.
Not at all.
Drinking and I have had an interesting and irresponsible relationship with each other. I've binged a lot when I was younger and found myself drinking alone when I lived in Texas. I used to drink the thing that would get me drunk the fastest and for the cheapest, like any good student, and certainly drank my fair share when I was a student and everything seemed like it was cheap.
When I first met Connie she explained she didn't really drink for her own reasons that I won't go into, and this rather naturally (slightly) reduced my own drinking. We have obviously still enjoyed having a drink together at times, but mostly the binging stopped - bar work nights out, Scouters weekends, and the odd trip to the pub with pals.
Actually that makes it sound like it didn't make a difference, huh.
Hwmowever, what came next definitely made a difference. Since Joni and Etta, and then the move to England, my drinking kind of abruptly stopped. Gone was a Saturday night bottle of red and in its place was tea and Irn Bru - okay, let me be honest, mostly loads of Irn Bru. And chips/crisps. This change would actually lead to one of the scariest moments in my life.
One night, after unusually drinking a bunch with friends at the house, I went to sleep. I woke in the morning to find Connie a bit worried and scared - that night after we had gone to bed I'd woken up, drunk, and slept-dream-woke (I'm not sure how else to characterise it), pulling at the power cords down under my side of the bed, and then in turn talking vaguely threateningly to her in my drunken confusion when she asked what was I doing.
I was appalled. And scared. As far as I knew this had never happened to me before. Not in the way she described it to me, and it frightened me. I stopped drinking a lot there and then, but have since drank a few times more, most notably a sharp uptick since relocation back to Glasgow what with friends again, baby sitters, and public transport.
We really missed Glasgow.
So after a few heavier than usual drinking periods recently it has become clear to me a few things, the first and most important one being I need to take care of myself. My physical and mental health is poor - I weigh too much and certainly don't do enough exercise, so drinking is especially bad for me. Secondly, I act like a pure dick when drinking and everyone else has to deal with it.
And thirdly, I actually don't really enjoy it anymore? I hate hangovers - I'd not get them at all when I was younger, much to the chagrin of my flat mates, but now I get a hangover even when we are out with other people drinking which is no fun. Beer has also became needlessly complicated and difficult to know what is "good", but that could be a whole other blog post.
I just think for me the benefits are none. Why should I keep putting myself through this cycle of shame and disaster, and for what cost? A day lost to feeling sorry for myself, and making stuff feel worse impacting my kids? It isn't worth it. Literally - it costs £30 to get drunk out these days anyway.
The ultimate answer is this - I am trying to be better and my temper is a key aspect I'd like to control at all times, and if at any point I lose it then I've already lost. So I've decided to go sober.
This isn't really an issue to be honest, day to day. Con doesn't drink so I don't either and we instead drink pop. This is, arguably, worse for you long term, maybe, but I don't feel like I'm losing control when I neck a pint of Bru. What it might do is make people feel like I am being not fun thanks to perceived bullshit social conventions, when they're out getting pished. That's on them, I gotta do me.
The only slight roadblock, regarding peer pressure, is a pair of long time best friend stags due this year, but I know what I want to do I just need to follow through.
Don't let this sound self righteous either - I'm not looking for sympathy or even agreement, just feel like writing this out might help me understand it, own it, and commit to it, and thusly help me on a slight road to change.
I just feel, ultimately, drinking is something I don't want to do anymore and these are all just justifications for me, and it is a decision I know will be better for me, and most importantly my family. That, in the end, will actually be the reason for it being easy to follow through on, because it is as much for them as it is for me.