Friday, 7 July 2017

Alcohol and Me.


I feel like I could sum up this whole post in advance by just saying "alcohol makes me even more of a dick than I normally am", but I'm not sure you can really call one sentence a blog post.

TW: Self harm

As a Scot, the fact I barely drink can raise an eyebrow or two. I'm not completely teetotal, but on the rare occasion that I do have a bevvy (maybe once every couple of months) I'll sit and nurse two drinks over the course of the evening while those around me happily make their way through eight or nine each. Part of the problem is that since I turned 20 my hangovers have felt like slow and painful journeys to hell, but the other issue is that Drunk Me is an absolute bloody nightmare.

I started drinking when I was 13 years old. I'd drink three-litre bottles of cider or a quarter bottle of vodka (straight, no way was I shelling out extra for mixers) and although I'd be drunk I wouldn't be too out of control. I mean, there was that one time where I got kicked out of an under-18s club and sat under a bridge for hours, being approached by five separate drivers who were concerned about my health. That was a pretty bad night. But for the most part, I could remember everything I did, I wasn't overly obnoxious, and I really just had a good time.

I think that's what got me addicted to the feeling of being drunk. I want to make it clear, I didn't and do not have a drinking problem, but I did have a problem with chasing the feeling drinking gave me. I wasn't using alcohol to cope, but I was using being drunk to justify other reckless acts and a general lack of concern for myself.

I did really stupid shit when I was a drunk teenager, like purposefully burning my hand with cigarettes, kissing boys I really shouldn't have been, and lied to my parents about numerous things for around three years straight. That was all very well when I was 14 and could just about get away with it, but by the time I was in university it wasn't so cute.

I started university aged 17, and in that weird in-between stage: I'd stopped going to under-18s nights, but I couldn't get served at bars and clubs like my now legal friends. When I did turn 18, I was struggling with depression, anxiety, and borderline personality disorder. Adding alcohol, and the freedom of being 100 miles away from my family, into that mix was a pretty disastrous combination.


I get it, everyone does stupid shit when they're drunk. But for my university friends, the stupid shit were things like the boys downstairs discovering their front door key also worked in our door, leading them to break in at 3am and steal all our kitchen appliances - including the worktop cookers. For me, it was definitely more destructive: being the centre of rumours and gossip about two boys at the same time (they were best friends, awkward), not to mention kissing my now husband's flatmate in front of him and then 'coming to' later that night in the bathroom with his other flatmate. I wasn't with my husband at the time but we both knew we liked each other - I did it because I could, not because I wanted to. I did these things because I felt so shit about myself that purposefully upsetting people with my actions seemed fine, as long as I could get a little bit of attention. And, like, who cares, right?! I was drunk!

As university progressed, and my mental health got worse, so did my alcohol-fueled behaviour. When my relationship was in the very beginning stages, we were due to meet at my friend's flat before a night out. When he didn't turn up, I drank two bottles of prosecco by myself and ruined absolutely everyone's night. I'd got into such a state that people would be plying me with glasses of water, and the only way I'd drink them is if I was told they were vodka and lemonade. I was so drunk I nearly slapped my friend's manager, I fell over numerous times, and when my incredibly patient pal finally lost her shit and told me to stop being a tit, I secretly stormed out of her flat, leaving my keys at hers in the process - she had to find me, sitting pathetically in the snow-covered street.

I realised that I just couldn't control my impulse to get drunk anymore. I could never just have one drink - if I started, I had to get drunk. Even now, I still find myself buying an entire crate of cider for one night, even though I'll only drink two. It's this voice at the back of my head that says "You can't have fun and be confident if you don't get obliterated".

But I wasn't confident, and I definitely wasn't having fun. My mental health was awful, and alcohol made my 'symptoms' - particularly my BPD symptoms - even worse. My black-and-white thinking made me argumentative. My fear of abandonment made me hysterical. If my husband and I went on a night out during university, it would inevitably end in the most bitter fights imaginable. I'd storm out of clubs in a rage about nothing, screaming at him to leave me alone when he'd diligently follow behind to make sure I was okay, and then screaming at him not to leave me if he did. I'd kick my partner out of the flat in the middle of the night, and then sob down the phone that he'd "left me".

I was still doing impulsive, stupid shit when I was drunk, even though I knew it'd fuck things up. One night I was drinking with my partner and our friends before work (I worked in a club so it wasn't that bad), got into work, walked behind the bar and immediately ended up kissing a co-worker. Like, while working. In front of a four-deep crowd of people waiting to be served. In front of all my co-workers. The worst thing about it is I wasn't actually that drunk - I just didn't think about the consequences of anything I was doing. I craved attention and acceptance, and I'd do anything to get it. I didn't believe I deserved my relationship, so I was sabotaging it. And alcohol was my trump card, my way of avoiding all responsibility.



Now, I'm not one to judge anyone's sex life - what you do is your own business - but mine became something I wasn't comfortable with. I'd have sex on nights out, in my work toilet that was right next to my manager's office. I'd have unprotected sex, which was very unlike me. I've even had sex I don't remember - not just like, blurred memory, literally no memory at all. I wouldn't have even known if I hadn't been told. Thankfully this only happened once, and it was with my own partner, but this complete disregard for any consequence is scary - especially when I know Drunk Me is the one who initiates these situations.

If the nights out weren't bad enough, the mornings after were horrific. Not only would I be hungover in ways I didn't think possible, I'd have immeasurably fucked up my relationships, made everyone I know think I was an arsehole, and I'd feel lonelier than ever. All that Drunk Me confidence would disappear and I'd feel nothing but hatred for myself. I'd read through my texts and piece together what happened, and I'd spend the day burning with embarrassment and usually end up self-harming. This was such a Catch-22, I'd hate myself so much that only alcohol could stop me feeling worthless. And then I'd drink, get drunk, act impulsively, ruin everything, and hate myself again.

I was a fucking nightmare. It wasn't that I was drinking all that regularly, probably not even every week. It was that I knew, I knew full well, that if I drank I'd fuck the whole night up for everyone involved, and I didn't care. And although I didn't drink that often, this kind of thing happened every. single. time. that I drank.

It came to a head, where I was losing people and I was at risk of losing my partner. My mental health was rock bottom, and I needed help. It was during this period that I finally addressed my issues, and was prescribed medication for anxiety and depression. Dealing with this root cause was crucial in helping me think about my behaviours, and what I was doing to myself.

So I stopped. It took a lot of effort at first to resist drinking to extremes. Gaining back my willpower and self-control took a lot of hard work, but I truly believe my excessive drinking was just another form of self-harm, and so I knew it was worth it to be free of it. Now when I drink, it's because the drink tastes nice. My family and friends laugh at how long it takes me to finish an alcoholic drink. I very rarely ever get to the end of my second glass. I don't miss it, I don't crave it. I don't even want to get drunk anymore. If I had to go the rest of my life without a drink, I wouldn't bat an eyelid. And I'd be thankful that I get to wake up without fear, panic and shame.
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2 comments

  1. Beth, this speaks to me so much. I also started drinking at age 13, and by the time I got to uni, I pretty much out-drank myself. I now drink once every few months, and I also sip on a drink or two throughout the whole night.
    Doing stupid shit feels easy when you're drunk. I ruined relationships with friends and boys in high school because I would get trashed and sabotage all my relationships. I'm so much healthier now, and at such a better spot. I hope you are as well <3

    Lovely post!

    xoxo
    Srna (acrushonlife)

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    Replies
    1. I'm so glad that you could relate to this, I sometimes cringe thinking of everything I've done but knowing it wasn't just me does help haha! xx

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