Gravy, Butter, Biscuits…

“Gravy, butter, biscuits, stuffing balls”

“Gravy, butter, biscuits, stuffing balls”

“Gravy, butter, biscuits, stuffing balls …alcohol”

Day 353: I found myself reciting back to myself the things I needed to remember at the supermarket yet suddenly as I was repeating it again and again I started saying ‘alcohol’ without even thinking. When I realised I was doing it I stopped for a moment and questioned why I was saying alcohol. I’ve been sober for close to a year and I never buy alcohol. Occasionally my wife has a glass of wine but we are a drink free zone at home so appearances on the shopping list are rare.

Have I been craving alcohol? No

Have I been thinking about alcohol? No

But that said I spend time writing about recovery, listen to sobriety podcasts and read books about abstinence so maybe it was just in my subconscious mind.

It has made me think though about letting down your guard and the dangers of becoming complacent. I was listening to a podcast last week where somebody in recovery from alcohol dependency was out with friends a few years later and without thinking a shot was put down in front of her as part of this celebration the group were all attending. She said that despite not drinking for years and having little desire to do so she just shrugged her shoulders and did the shot. It didn’t lead to a complete breakdown but she does now drink again albeit ‘responsibly’.

I’ve not been in a situation where somebody has stuck a tequila slammer under my nose yet but I sure as hell hope I push it away as opposed to pushing it into my mouth.

I don’t see myself ever drinking again because to do so I’d have to be confident enough that I could do so responsibly and I don’t think I’ve ever had a responsible relationship with alcohol since I first tried it. At 14 years old my first experience with booze was on a football trip to Belgium with my friends. It was a local Saturday morning team and we were invited to a competition against other European teams. We stopped on a cheap version of a Center Parcs style site with small lodges and a communal centre with bar, food outlets, etc.

All I remember is that we had a large plastic bottle with us that was full of vodka and god knows what else but it was lethal whatever it was. I had a few swigs of it as it was passed around under the table and then somebody dared me to down the bottle. It was a long time ago but I vaguely remember heading outside soon after and the fresh air hitting me. I was unable to walk, I was spewing and spent the rest of the evening back in the lodge with one of the adults from the footy team (my parents weren’t with us) .

I was on the periphery of the football group and thinking back I did it to try and fit in and be accepted. For the rest of the weekend I was ‘the mad one’ and I loved the attention. They weren’t laughing with me though were they? They were laughing at the fact I was 14 and got smashed. It probably meant in my young mind that alcohol was the gateway to being included. As I got older through my teens and went into Sixth Form College it was about socialising, house parties, trying to get served in pubs and of course if you were not boozing you were seen as a freak.

I could tell you tonnes of stories about drunken and regrettable events that have happened to me. Trips to hospital, run ins with the law, falling out with and fighting with family and friends, scrapping with strangers, verbally abusing people, driving after a drink, losing valuables, ruining clothes, deep depression, suicidal thoughts and so many bad judgements.

And it never stopped me from picking up again. Time and time again. Hangovers at work, on my daughter’s birthday, at Christmas and when I was meant to be driving long distances. Blackouts from nights before and the anxiety of trying to piece it all back together.

Drinking responsibly isn’t a route I care to attempt because the above still petrifies me.

Author: Happy Daddy

A married thirtysomething Dad of two young daughters navigating my way through life a day at a time

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