How did it happen again? 

 Early in the Evening:

Phone Rings

“Hello”

“Hello mate its how’s it going?”

“Alright Tim not too bad what you up to?”

“You fancy coming out tonight? Everyone’s going down the club,

been ages since we last saw you”

 

“No not tonight mate I think I’ll stay in  and have a quiet one”

(I’d love to go out but I promised myself I wouldn’t drink this week)

 

“Oh come on mate you got to come out everyone’s going

at least say you’ll come for one, its Sarah’s birthday

you got to come celebrate you got no excuse”

 

(I don’t know if I should go last time I got wrecked and made a fool of myself….but he did say just a couple I’ll

go for one just to be social It’d be rude not to)

“All right mate I’ll come but just for one and to wish Sarah a

happy Birthday, but cant stay for long”

“Excellent mate I’ll pick you up in an hour”

“Alright see you in a bit”

“See you in a bit, tonight gonna be great just  you wait

 got the whole gang back together again”

 

(Did I make the right decision? its been three weeks and my family finally

starting to trust me again after last time……

but I’m only going for one there’s no harm in that……

and it has been a while since I’ve seen Tim, Sarah and my friends,

It wont happen this time, I’ll only have one…..

It’ll be okay………)

 

Later that Night in the club:

“I thought you said you were just gonna have one”

“I was but it’s a party mate and a couple beers

never hurt anyone”

(Laughs)

“New you couldn’t just have one, I’m glad you decided

to stay out tonight, I’ve missed you the past few weeks”

 

“Yeah It’s great to be back don’t remember why I left…….”

 (I don’t know what I was so worried about, ok so I’ve had three beers

but I’m still standing, the world  hasn’t come crashing down,

why did I make such a big deal about this?)

A little later on that night at the Club: 

“Mate seriously are you okay?”

“Yeah I’m fine”

 

“Look mate I don’t want to tell you what to do but I think you should take it easy a bit

have some water and sober up a bit, the bouncer’s already warned you once

and if you keep stumbling all over the place

he’s gonna kick you out mate”

 

“Look you don’t have to worry I’m fine the bouncer was over reacting

I’m not drunk I’m just enjoying myself”

(I don’t know what the big deal is, why is everyone making such a fuss?

The bouncer needs to relax and Tim needs to get off my back,

I’ve seen him in and everyone else here just as bad as me if not worse

so how can you stand there and tell me what to do?…..)

 

Early The Next Day:

 

“Great five miss calls and two voicemails

How did I get home last night?

Last thing I remember was going to the bar for a drink and then…….”

 

Voicemail 1

“Mate I cant believe what you did last night you’re so out of order

you ruined Sarah’s birthday

how could you do that she’s meant to be your close friend I just hope you’ve apologised to her……”

 

(Fuck what happened?

I don’t remember doing anything wrong…)

 

Voicemail 2: Tim

Mate I wish I’d never invited you out now

I told you to take it easy but you wouldn’t listen, how could you do that

her parents spent a fortune on that party last night and you embarrassed her in front of her family.

Look mate you’re my best mate and I care about you a lot

but I cant be around you when you act the way you did last night, the things you did and said

are going to take a lot to forgive…..”

 

(Fuck what happened???)

“What happened?

How did I end up back here?”

I ONLY went for ONE.

The above story is based on my own personal experience and I deliberately left out what it was that actually happened at the club as a result of my drinking, as it was my pattern of behaviour and the thought process that I think was more important.

Its strange I that I have lived that above scenario more times than I can remember, but what you learn in AA is that Alcoholism is a progressive disease and what used to be antics I would joke about with my friends days after, soon escalated into the above situation, even more so towards the end of my drinking as my behaviour had become more and more unpredictable.

Long gone were the days where you I would sit in the common room on Monday morning and joke with my friends about the crazy events of the weekend before, I was now having to ring around different people who were still talking to me the day after and try to piece together what had happened and what I had done and who I had to yet once again apologise to.

You could substitute any reason as to why I picked up that first drink, it didn’t have to be a friend inviting me out during one of my many dry spells as eventually I would pick up that first drink.

“The alcoholic cannot recall at certain times with sufficient force

The memory and suffering and humiliation of out last encounter”

It’s what was going through my mind written in the brackets above, a past shameful consequence would be enough to stop me from drinking for even a few weeks, but eventually something would come up, some trivial excuse and the strength of that memory which my mind had been eroding away like the cliffs on the shore, that “sufficient force” for why I had stopped drinking held little the weight it once had and I would convince myself that this time it would be different.

I never truly considered myself to be an alcoholic, I joked about it many times as I didn’t understand what it meant to be an alcoholic, as I would have considered myself a binge drinker. I would have a heavy drinking session on a Friday or Saturday night and then would not drink again initially until the following weekend or sometimes longer.

Eventually those nights here and there got closer and closer, only Fridays was now Friday and Saturday until I got to the point where I would be drinking everyday and could go on a drinking spell that would last sometimes a few weeks. I would only stay sober (or sober enough) for a long enough period to get through whatever menial task I needed to, be that work or college or anything that was going on in my life at that moment in time and as soon as I had finished I would pick up a drink and start up right where I left off.

When I drank even from a young age I never had anything in me that would say “stop” or “maybe you’ve had too much“. One of two things either happened, the place that I was in would shut and I had to go home or I ran out of money, both of which as an alcoholic with an obsession with alcohol I can now clearly see looking back, I learned ways to work around as my illness progressed.

I don’t think I understood until I came to AA it was that first drink that sets off what we alcoholics call the ‘Phenomenon of Craving’.

I would barely be through my first drink and I would be heading back up to the bar for my next; then with the pints after I would start adding a shot while I was up at the bar waiting for my drink to be poured, and with the money I would have in my pocket I’d already worked out how many pints I can get and how long I have to get them in before last orders.

To me that was normal behaviour, that was just the way I drank right from the beginning, but I didn’t always blackout. I’m 24 and its scary thinking back now about the amount of gaps in my memory which were not always at the end of the night, sometimes I would be in a pub or a club and an hour or two would have passed and I wouldn’t honestly be able to tell you what happened during that time.

When I first came into the rooms and heard “Just don’t pick up that first drink” I thought that sounded too simple, but when I went home that night and thought hard about it I realised as illustrated in the story above that I could never have just one drink I always wanted more.

That first drink would be the match that lit the fire inside of me and eventually I would stop poking and prodding it, trying to manage it as I did so often trying not to let it get out of control, eventually I would give in and let the fire burn firmly believing that this time I would not get burnt. But as I’ve seen more often than not it was those closest to me who were the one’s who got burnt by my actions.

I would once again be waking up back in that room wondering how I got home and how I had done this again.

Like I said I’m only 24 and my drinking career (if I can call it that) only lasted 10yrs. You may be thinking that’s too short, surely you have a few more good years left in you, why don’t you go back out for a while and maybe come back when your 30, I know I certainly did when I first came in.

But one of the things I’ve come to learn in AA is that being an alcoholic is not dependant on what age you are, when I was finally ready to admit to myself that I was “powerless over alcohol and my life had become unmanageable” I often wondered how some of the people in those rooms had managed to keep it up for so long.

But that’s the nature of this disease as I see it, as it’s the one disease I believe that convinces the sufferer that they haven’t got it.

I know I am an alcoholic and I will be an alcoholic for the rest of my life, but I’m not ashamed of that fact anymore as I used to be when I was still drinking, as even I could see that my drinking was not normal but I would never have admitted that to you.

I wrote this story to share a snap shot of what my life was like before AA which I have been coming to now as I write this for eleven months and even this early in I can see I’m not that person I used to be anymore as described in the story. I have a program now in my life which I work daily, not always to the best of my ability I can honestly admit, but I’m only human and that’s okay.

I guess what I really wanted to share was my experience not only with alcoholics who are in recovery, who openly welcomed me into AA and didn’t judge me but showed me through their experiences that there is a better way of life and for that I will be forever grateful. But those who are still suffering and even those who may not even think that they are a ‘real alcoholic’. Like me you may think that you only have a “drink problem” or “it’s not that bad yet”.

But if you can’t honestly say that you don’t find it hard or impossible to stop drinking once you’ve started and find yourself drinking when you don’t want to be, then you may be like me and how I used to be.

But believe me its not as scary as you may think, I always thought I was alone in the world no matter how many friends and family surrounded me, I never felt as if I quite fit in. I never felt more at ease than when I had a drink inside me as I used to think that that person I would become was who I wanted to be.

That care free confident person I can see now was really just a scared and lonely little boy putting on a mask because I was too full of fear to show the real me, for fear I may be rejected by everyone around me.

I was so wrapped up in trying to be the person I thought people would like that eventually the real person underneath got slowly enveloped by this person I had created. I wore so many personalities in front of so many different people that I couldn’t tell what was real anymore and what I had created.

Which is something I am now discovering in recovery who I really am without the drink inside of me, What do I really like? Who am I really? How to deal with life both the ups and down? All of these things I couldn’t honestly tell you because I drank on every emotion be it happy or sad, that little boy that once was had long since gone.

I’m not gonna call you an alcoholic, nobody said that to me when I first walked through the doors of AA on a whim trying to learn how to control my drinking.

All I will say is that I’ve lived that scenario above more times than I can remember, the details may have changed slightly with each incident but the pattern was the same and so was the outcome. Maybe not at first but eventually I would live from one disaster to the next with the occasional sober period in between promising myself this time it would be different.

But today things are different today

There is a Solution

How did it happen again? That was the title I chose for this story, hopefully by reading my words and some of my experiences you will realise that it doesn’t have to happen again.

I can honestly say now that I don’t wake up each day with that sense of dread anymore wondering not only what I’ve done but who I have to apologise to or who I have to avoid because of my behaviour during my last drinking spell.

I’ve shared some of my experience to show that there is hope, you don’t have to live in that destructive cycle that I felt so trapped in for so long and couldn’t see a way out of.

All I needed to do was finally find the courage to ask for help and be truly be honest with myself and from that moment on

It hasn’t happened again.