In this post I interview an anonymous person dealing with alcoholism. You can see my previous post on my Darkness Into Light experience here.
The demon drink. A term used to refer to the unpleasant side effects of one too many. Let’s go one step further than the typical hangover, into the extreme. Violence, depression, marriage and family issues, numerous health problems, suicide. These issues all present themselves in problem drinking, or alcoholism.
In fact, according to a study from Ulster University, alcohol was present in the system of 56 per cent of 1,600 suicide cases over a six-year period.
Statistics are all well and good, but there’s nothing like a real life case, sat there before you, telling their story.
I had some questions, and *Tom was only too willing to answer them. *Tom is a self confessed alcoholic of 15 years. He is, needless to say, fond of a few pints, and can be regularly found in his local. I spoke to him about his relationship with alcohol, and when it dawned on him that his drinking was problematic. Read on for a full and frank interview with him.
*Tom’s identity has been protected under a different name.
So Tom, why do you drink?
I’d like to say it’s a coping mechanism, to help my escape all my troubles. I’d like to say that it makes me feel better, less shy. But most of all, I drink because I love getting drunk. I love the feeling of it, those first few drinks when that lovely glow forms on your cheeks. You feel the world just slipping by. I love drink, absolutely love it.
What effect does a few drinks have on you?
That depends on what mood I’m in. If I’m in a bad mood going out, I’ll be left in a bad mood. In a good mood though, I’ll go crazy. I will go nuts after six or seven drinks. I’ll be dancing on tables, chatting up women, all kinds of crazy. Which leads on to more crazy stuff, like waking up in some stranger’s room the next day when I should be in college.
When did you realize you had a problem with alcohol?
About 18 or 19, I think. I had been drinking a while by then. I come from a family of drinkers. They do say it’s hereditary and I totally agree. My father drank, and his father, and so on. I knew it was a problem from that age, but not a problem I particularly cared about, especially not so young. I was certainly aware of it.
Any one occasion that served as a wake up call?
I’m sure there was one time…. But I’m just a dipso. And I’ve been honest. The rest won’t be… they will tell you how hard it is and how the 12 steps are changing their lives. I took “12 steps” to the bar !
What steps have you taken to help yourself?
I’ve been giving up and going back on drink the past 10 – 15 years. I went to AA (Alcoholics Anonymous) meetings. For me, it’s way too cult – like, and God-y, it actually made me want to drink more. As soon as I left a meeting, I went straight to the pub after. Too much holy prayers and praising Jesus. I know it works for some, and fair play, just not for me.
What does work for me is that I wake up and cop myself on. I’m like ”don’t kill yourself here”.
What is your relationship with alcohol like right now?
It’s an on and off kind of situation. I’d describe it like this – you know when you’re going out with a girl, and you break up, but you don’t break up? You still meet up the odd time, friends with benefits kinda thing. I go off the drink a long while, then when I go back, I hit it hard for two or three days. Then I get bored of it. It goes in cycles.
I used to be one of those drinkers who’d need drink, a can first thing in the morning. I realized I was killing myself. I would describe myself as a functioning alcoholic.
What advice would you give to others in the same situation?
You know yourselves. What works for you. Don’t start panicking, worrying that you’re gonna end up on the streets. That could happen easily, it’s a thin line. The more you panic, the more you’ll start drinking, and you’ll be panicked because you’re drinking and it’s a never-ending vicious cycle of panic – guilt – drink. It’s an Irish thing with guilt as well.
Keep going with the AA if it works for you. Talk to your friends. Talk to your family. They’ll see it before you do, the drinking. If they don’t see a problem, I wouldn’t be too worried but you know, everything in moderation.
Enjoy it, it’s not meant to be crutch, it’s meant to be enjoyed. And remember that it is a poison. It’s a depressant. So pick your poison wisely.
I hope you found this piece informative. I try. And *Tom was great too.
Alcohol Action Ireland : http://alcoholireland.ie/
Alcoholics Anonymous : http://www.alcoholicsanonymous.ie/