Tuesday, January 11, 2022

Thoughts Inspired By Dry January

I stopped drinking before I was 50. 
Booze is a great cushion, a great drug. 
It enters your life with an air of sophistication, guilt, daring, promise, and exits with shame and humiliation.
I stopped because I realised that it had halted my life (and that of others) in a very dark place, and that escaping from that and making changes that would protect people that I am responsible for, was more important than carrying on with a pretence that a situation that looked safe to outside observers, did not feel at all safe from the inside.
I caught myself drinking the dregs of some particularly delicious wine when I was tidying up alone after a party. 'What a terrible waste', I told myself. But halfway through it, I started wondering if there was a problem with what I was doing.
Very soon after that, I stopped completely. I learned how to surreptitiously tip a glass of wine down the sink, and I learned that it was better to accept an alcoholic drink and not drink it, than to try to explain what had changed. 
I have never been sure whether to categorise myself as an alcoholic. I sometimes yearn on a hot day for a Spanish beer with a slice of lime in the top. I like the taste of alcohol in stews and baked things. But the idea of re-learning how to drink wine escapes me, and the idea of changing my conscious thoughts by drinking alcohol has completely vanished.
I can never bring myself to moralise about this, because I know how much I loved getting pissed. Personally, I don't miss it, and I still enjoy the company of drinkers until they get to that point where they are so drunk that they repeat themselves over and over again: but that happens very rarely. 
In general, drinking company is convivial company.
I have met two recovering alcoholics who never completed the 12-step programme, and who pretend that they have. Alcohol makes sly people of us all. 
I could indeed by lying now, couldn't I?

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