I doubt this post will come as any surprise to anyone. I’ve alluded to it in the past, made vague references and justified it until I’m purple. It’s a post I don’t want to make. A confession, in a life filled with confessions and I’m sick of them. I’m sick of being different, and feeling like I’m weak.
The first confession was years ago, 14 to be exact, when I finally gave away the worst kept secret in history and told everyone and their dog I was gay. I was the only person who got a surprise out of that situation. Everyone already knew. Apparently the strut and the drunken out bursts weren’t so easily hidden as I had thought.
The second confession came about 6 or so years ago, when in a drunken, slurring phone call to a friend of mine I admitted I could no longer handle my life. That I was stuck in an ever tightening spiral of depression that I couldn’t break. Again, no one was surprised. I guess that secret wasn’t as well hidden as I had thought it was either.
Today is the third confession in my life and I feel like it’s going to come as no great shock to those who know me, nor to whoever reads this blog. As I said, I’ve alluded to it in the past, justified it as not possible despite the cost to my life it has brought. I don’t want to write the words. I don’t want to push publish on this post. I don’t want today, and frankly would have been happy to wake up on Monday and go to work, skipping this day, and this confession altogether.
I’ve always used the justification that I don’t drink every day to “hide” the truth. I know I can go a week, or in the case of Dry July a whole month without drinking. It’s that justification that has held me back – along with a gut clenching fear – from saying anything beyond I binge drink.
That is true by the way. I do binge drink. It’s the damn binge drinking that allowed me to lie to myself for so long. By going all week and drinking only once a week, I couldn’t possibly be what I feared the most. In the past drinking has cost me friends, it has cost me jobs but I’m twice damned if I’m going to allow it to cost me my life.
One of my biggest fears in life was being an alcoholic. I saw it first hand in my childhood, the damage it caused to families, friends and the drinkers life. My family – on both sides – is bloody riddled with it. I don’t know if addiction is genetic or a fatal flaw in the design of some people, but each generation has had an alcoholic in it.
My grandmothers father was apparently a violent alcoholic. I never met him. He died not long after my Great Grandmother boarded a ship for Australia with three small children, leaving Ireland and her husband behind to rot. My Grandmother used to tell me stories though. There was not a single happy story about her father. Her mother she idolised but her father she rarely mentioned, and if she did it was never to say anything nice.
My Grandmother never so much as drank a glass of wine that I know of. Towards the end of her life she used to like a Shandy, you know a teaspoon of beer mixed with several litres of lemonade lol. Her brother was an alcoholic. She idolised him too. Whenever I was younger and hungover – which seemed to be from 18 to 23 when the hangovers stopped altogether – she used to tell the story of her brother and the dentist. In a drunken stupor one night her brother bet his drinking buddy – a dentist – that the dentist would be able to pull out all her brothers teeth without any drugs. The following morning he woke up with not a tooth in his head, all of them in a jar by the bed, but he was 1 pound richer.
She also had a cousin whose name was Lily. Lily was another cautionary tale in my world. The story of a beautiful young woman who fell in with the wrong crowd, became a raging alcoholic who passed out one night while smoking a cigarette and burnt to death in her sleep.
My taste of the viciousness and pain caused by alcoholics was my paternal Grandfather. I’ll never forget him that day I went to stay at my Grandparents house before I started school. I’ll never forget the terror as he raged and screamed in a drunken fury as my father drove away because Dad wouldn’t take him back to the pub. He was a big man my grandfather. Big and strong. I will always remember watching him tear a piece of sandstone out of a garden bed and hurl it down the street. I’ll remember him passing out in his chair as my aunts, uncle and grandmother sat around me like bodyguards and we watched The Sullivans on the TV. I’ll remember him waking up, seeing me still there and him flying towards me across the room and my Uncle stepping in between us and dragging him to his room to sleep it off. I’ll always remember his utter confusion the following morning when I ran screaming from him when he walked into the lounge room and didn’t know why I refused to watch cartoons with him. When he was sober he was a nice man. When he was drunk he was a bastard.
This morning I woke up to find 3 empty bottles of wine on my cupboard, and a fourth one opened, with about a glass out of it. I remember that glass of wine. I wore it. I dropped the glass in my lap and it poured down my front, down my pants and onto my bed. My sheets and bed cover are currently sitting in the laundry waiting to get washed.
There have been many nights like that. Mostly Saturday nights. If I drink on a Friday it’s usually out of the house and I wake up in bed glad I didn’t end up in Newcastle on the train.
I woke up at 6am this morning. Bright eyed, bushy tailed and ready for the day. I have work to do for tomorrow. I’ve been trying to work on it all morning. I can’t get my brain to focus. I keep hearing a voice in my head. It’s a whisper. It’s vile and I want it to go away. I hate that voice. It makes me feel like a loser.
I wrote this post three times in my head before I gave in and sat down to write the post in reality. I don’t want to write this. I don’t want to make it real. I don’t want to belittle other people’s experiences and seem like a drama queen with morning after remorse. Other people have a much bigger struggle with alcohol than I do. I’ve seen it in my extended family. Besides, writing this and pressing publish makes it real and I don’t want that either.
Sometimes I sit and wish that my life was different. That I hadn’t thrown away so many years in the closet, thrown away so many years pretending there was nothing wrong with me and it was everyone else who had a problem, ignoring the depression until it got to the point I almost wiped myself out. Now I’m sitting here and I have another badly kept secret that will surprise no one, and I’m just sick of it. I’m sick of the confessions, of always being different, no matter what I try and do.
I wrote a post the other day that talked about how my creative recovery got derailed. It did. It ended up in the bottom of a bloody wine bottle, along with about 90% of the money I have left over after I’ve paid all my bills.
I don’t know if I am an alcoholic, but I know I could easily be one. I could easily let go, and fall and I know if I do I’ll never come up for air again. I’ll keep falling and falling and eventually I’ll land in a nice comfy coffin dead too young with some alcohol related disease. Maybe if I got hangovers I wouldn’t drink so much, but I don’t and frankly that’s a justification, because I know me better than I want to. I would keep drinking. Regardless of the hangover.
Regardless of the terminology I use, I have a problem with alcohol. If I don’t drink it, I don’t think about it. If I do drink it, the first glass is one too many, and the hundredth glass isn’t enough. Prior to undergoing Dry July I wrote about the battle with the bottle and promised myself a year without alcohol. I even created a blog about it. I then pretended to be a camel and drank enough alcohol to fill my hump and get me through the desert.
I did Dry July. I was proud of that. The minute August arrived I even had a bottle or wine to celebrate my month long victory. Awesome isn’t it. Part of me wants to laugh, part of me wants to curl up in the fetal position and cry for a month. Part of me wants to press delete on this post and part of me wants to promote it everywhere.
I guess the point to this rather long post is part cathartic, part confession and part my desire to find a way out of this shitful mess I’ve made of my life. I don’t know what comes next, and that quite frankly terrifies me. I don’t know how my life will be different. Will it be different? The only way to find out is to do it.
I wonder if there is a binge drinkers anonymous. I feel like I’d be belittling everyone in the meeting if I went to an alcoholics anonymous meeting. Still I’m not even comfortable thinking about that yet.
Alcohol was my friend, during a time I felt I had nothing and no one else. I guess I stayed to long at the party again. I feel sort of empty right now. But at least I’ve made my brain focus. I really want to swear. A lot. Loudly. It won’t help though. Time to hang out the laundry. The washing machine has been beeping for the last 15 minutes. Who knows; maybe I’ll find whatever the hell it is I’m looking for and get myself back on the road to creative recovery. I hope so.
If you made it this far, thank you for staying with me. I get a real buzz out of it when I see someone has read my post, and found it worthy of their time. I won’t be writing about drinking again, nor binges or my fear I’ll end up a homeless, drunk wandering the Sydney city streets begging for change. I’ll keep those posts where they belong. My other blog. So I’m 12 days late for my year without drinking but frankly I’m about 15 years late to be honest.
Wish me luck, I have a feeling I’m going to need it.