I’d be dead

There is one certainty. Drinking would have killed me in one of three ways. I’d have either had an accident (I’ve lost count of the amount of times I ended up in hospital after trips and falls pissed), I’d have drank myself to death over time or I’d have completed suicide. My mental health was at rock bottom and once I drank to excess the guilt cycle sped up and I wanted to end the misery I was causing my family and myself.

So with that in mind as I sit here this morning – sun shining through the French Doors, my youngest daughter watching and laughing at ‘Ben & Holly’ on the iPad , me sitting with my glass of Mango & Apple Juice – is it worth returning to alcohol?

Is that bottle of beer in the garden worth it? Is that pint of Guinness down the pub worth it? Is that bottle of red wine with my wife in the house tonight worth it? Next time I’m flying home from working away on my own is that mid flight gin and tonic worth it? Is the pint of cider at the cricket worth it? The glass of champagne at my daughter’s wedding? The pint of real ale when holidaying in the countryside?

The short term pleasure of having an alcoholic drink in exchange for my death. Would you, in my shoes?

No thanks. That’s why I have put in place my Big Plan using AVRT (Addictive Voice Recognition Technique) which gives me complete control over my addiction – Today, tomorrow and next year.

I have too much to lose to pick up again. I didn’t apply this mindset when I succumbed to whisky after 458 days of abstinence, I’d largely winged it. It has made me realise that relapse is very real and very dangerous. It’s not part of recovery because recovery doesn’t involve drinking again so I had to take it on the chin and make some changes to my approach to alcohol. I will never be able to moderate and have accepted that. There is no maybe about it, I won’t consume again in my lifetime because it will kill me. A death sentence. Extreme? No, not at all.

Dr George Sheehan once said “We are all an experiment of one”. I’ll leave you with that.

Alcohol would kill me

I’ve been listing all of the ‘great’ things that have happened to me in my adult life when intoxicated. I say ‘great’ with a substantial amount of sarcasm.

1. Spent the night in police cells

2. Had a fight with my brother in a pub

3. Head butted somebody in a night club and was then jumped by a a group of his friends

4. Punched a wall and still have a damaged finger years later

5. Fell over and split head open / ended up in hospital

6. Passed out in the toilets of a pub, ended up in an ambulance

7. Jumped out of a moving taxi and did a runner because I though the driver was going to assault me

8. Slipped in a bar, hit head on a shelf and woke up in hospital

9. Lost multiple mobile phones

10. Lost multiple bank cards

11. Restrained by the police for trying to talk to an ex-girlfriend (that one is going back a long time!)

12. Tripped at a Bus Station and still have a damaged elbow years later

13. Got locked out of my hotel room on a trip away and in only my underwear

14. Ejected from a pub by the bouncers after arguing with bad staff over something trivial

15. Turned up at my Parents pissed on Christmas Day and was an arsehole about the presents my Mam had bought me. Really upset her

I’ve purposely tried not to justify or explain the above incidents in more detail because it is irrelevant whether it was my fault or not, whether it was self defence, me sticking up for somebody or purely an accident. Some are safely 100% my own drunken arrogant behaviour. The theme is that in all of those moments in my life I was pissed.

Now for a similar list from when I wasn’t intoxicated…

1. Road rage incident where I followed the other driver for a few miles (off my route) – but then thought better of it and turned around

2. I’m really struggling to be honest…

I suppose the point I’m trying to make to myself is that no matter how bad things get for me in life going forward, I have a track record of screwing up my own life and hurting others when I drink. I mentioned 15 stand out examples for the purpose of this post but I could sit here all day and reel off the many more times I upset somebody, scared somebody, hurt somebody, made a bad decision, took an unnecessary risk or just let somebody down. My wife more than most has endured all of that and I owe it not only to me but to my family not to put them through that worry, fear and frustration again.

I’m still moody at times and I can be a sarcastic arsehole when I want to be but there is no malice there. At least in a constant sober state I can remember every word and action. I’m not perfect and pretty sure that nobody is but I can work on being the best version of me when I’m sober.

Those drunken incidents that I shared above are reminders that on another day it could have been even worse. I could have died, I could have killed somebody, I could have caused irreversible damage to a relationship. Thankfully nothing happened – and I didn’t even include the night I was sectioned. I seemed determined on ending things that night.

Given another chance, alcohol would kill me. No, I would kill me. With alcohol. My choice.