Sunday, 4 December 2011

It fades...

Since University I’ve always loved alcohol. But then again…part of me always rejected it. The sickness the following day, the paranoia during the hangover, the head-down-the-bog-talking-to-Jesus…it all was a counterweight to the brief and sometimes unrememberable euphoria of getting pissed.

I lost my virginity when steaming aged 19 to a fairly hideous 18 year old Irish girl. Freshers week at Polytechnic. The Charity Pyjama 3 Legged Pub Crawl. I had been sick over myself during the evening’s debauchery and was inside her for about 5 seconds as we lay in a bed containing puke fragments and the beers that I had spilled all over myself during the night. I didn’t even cum and the whole thing was not the adventure I’d been led to believe by reading Penthouse letters (which had such evocative prose as “her first orgasm welled up from the depths of her body, her lips grabbing at my meat”…etc). After expecting Superman to fly past and do a victory roll, for the mountains to crumble and the seas to roar I did not expect my first ever shag to feel like sticking my dick inside a warm turkey carcass while lying on top of a fat girl with a pudding bowl haircut and more rolls that Greggs.

Something about being THAT drunk always nagged at me as not quite being right. I would go out and drink as much as I could (record being 10 pints in a session…and as I’m skinny that was an achievement I was proud of). We thought that getting so hammered we could hardly stand up was something ace and that having spent sooo much money in order to lurch down the road stinking of ale and stale cigarettes was a mindset and status that bordered on the sublime.

Some of my worst experiences have been while drunk. I never drove while inebriated, or even if I thought I’d had one too many (although I did cycle across central London at night after a skinful. Won’t be doing that again) but for some reason, despite the negative after effects…being trousered on shots and Stella seemed to be a societally approved form of rebellion against the mundanity of existence that I could revel in.

I have recently discovered that I suffer from anxiety. While you’d think this should have been spotted decades ago it was always something I knew was there BUT assumed it was “just me” and that with a balanced diet, a reduction in booze and a positive mindset I could get over it. Turned out it’s tattooed into my DNA and getting drunk to the point where I was blacking out would leave me with hangovers that cranked the anxiety spasms up to 11. I would drive the 100 miles home after visiting my folks and getting hammered in Murphy’s Bar and get home sweating and paranoid and crawl into bed, regardless of what time I got back and simply wait for the feelings of guilt (about things I’d done when I was 4 if there was nothing real to feel guilty about), depression and paranoia to gradually subside.

I lost contact with someone I cared a great deal about (although if I’m honest she really didn’t care that much about me) due to getting stupid drunk and then ringing her up at quarter to eleven at night to find that she was asleep in bed next to her boyfriend. Woke up next morning with a honking hangover to find I had also sent her two incredibly sarcastic texts (that I have no memory of, but were for some reason spelled correctly) that took the piss out of her boring, stable, predictable, “why wasn’t he shagging you instead of sleeping at only 10.45pm” boyfriend). I never heard from her again.

Depression in 2008 had me seriously contemplating suicide and the only outlet I got was to get so plastered that I lost the desire to do anything but bask in the oblivion that spirits and beer temporarily gave me. I came in one night to a bar in Crete to settle my tab. I held out 50 Euros expecting change and the owner checked his lists and went “errr…88 Euros, you bought everyone in the bar a shot last night”.

Ahh, the financial joys of being so in love with the world that you buy 18 complete strangers a shot each at 2 Euros a pop.

I recently returned to England after 3 years travelling and I have stayed off booze as a goal to myself until I find a job (currently proving more difficult than trying to get my dick inside that Irish girl under the stinking, sodden sheets after the pub crawl). I joked it would be a dry couple of years but the thing is that I have now met a woman that holds up a mirror to my behaviour, without meaning or trying to and shows me that, far from being a funny or dashingly macho, witty warrior of Wetherspoon’s I am in fact burbling, monosyllabic, useless and flatulent when drunk.

I took my girlfriend to Crete in summer 2010 to visit my father who lives out there. I once attacked her in my sleep (I'll make that clear I was ASLEEP...NOT she woke me up) dreaming she was a burglar but luckily she knew what was going on and simply waited for me to wake up to find myself making threats at a coat rack in the corner of the room (this is apparently known as Phase 2 insomnia).

I also had a couple of bar fights in Crete and thought I was the business as I not only won the first one (which I didn't start) but made a mess of the other guy's face (who, a week later said he was sorry and we are now mates). Felt like a hero (despite no memory of said scrap) until the feedback from the witnesses and mates who tried to separate us was "you were rolling around on the floor like a couple of girls before standing up, hugging each other and saying 'love you mate, sorry mate, wanna beer'?"

Maybe I’ll drink at Christmas. Maybe I’ll feel good doing it, but I think now the time to drink so much just to prove I can be Khal Drogo is gone.

Depression and rage and resentment or even the desire to ignore reality take many forms. Mine was alcohol. I wasn’t an alcoholic in the traditional sense as I could go weeks or months without booze BUT when I drank I found it incredibly hard to stop. A friend of mine is an Alcohol Misuse counsellor and he said “that IS an alcoholic…just not the type you’re thinking of”.

Maybe, but now I don’t need it as a crutch any more.

I love my life.

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