During my time as an alcoholic, there was no way in the world that I could begin to imagine my life without alcohol.
I used to view the endless press articles with some distain and if a news item about the dangers of drinking appeared on the TV or the radio, I would turn it off; I just didn’t want to know.
Alcohol was part of the way that I ‘managed’ my life, I was under the quite common illusion that alcohol ‘gave’ me confidence, made social events more fun and that somehow I was immune to being an alcoholic.
It just wasn’t going to happen to me.
But it did, and in reality it had been ‘happening’ for longer than I was prepared to admit to. In my opinion, I was a ‘heavy drinker’ being alcoholic was something that other people did. I thought that it was all way below me, I didn’t really need it and that I could stop any time that I wanted to.
The truth was very different and I realised as I was putting a full bottle of gin into my briefcase whilst preparing for a business trip it occurred to me that something might actually be wrong after all.
I had certainly fallen for the cliché image of an alcoholic. A person in a shambolic state, drinking alcohol first thing in the morning, sleeping rough, existing from day to day and in a state of mental and physical decline.
That wasn’t me, I rarely drank in the morning. I lived in a very nice house, dressed well, shaved every day and drove around in an expensive car. I was however addicted to alcohol. I was starting to plan my day around it, to ensure that at a certain point during the day, usually around five o’clock; I would be in a place where I was able to start drinking.
Alcoholism doesn’t require you to drink certain amount of alcohol to qualify, and if it did where would the line be? Would it be set at one unit over the suggested guidelines? Or is it actually about WHY you are drinking alcohol and whether or not you can really live without it.
My irritation with people like me banging on about the dangers of alcohol and how easy it is to become addicted to it was actually a clue that I was in trouble.
Do you want me to just ‘go away’?