“There are two kinds of people I don’t trust: people who don’t drink and people who collect stickers.” ~ Chelsea Handler
Make-Up and Mirtazapine is not my first attempt at writing a blog. A couple of years ago I slipped a disc in my back and was pretty much immobilised for about four months. At the time it was just another in long line of mishaps to have befallen me over the course of a year. I decided to write about them all in a blog as a way to keep myself occupied, and with some sort of idea that other people might find my exploits entertaining.
I took the blog offline shortly after I recovered from my injuries. I had cringed on looking back at most of what I’d posted on there. It was all written while I was high as a kite on pain medication, and it showed.
This morning I re-read that old blog to see if there’s anything on there worth keeping before I delete it all completely.
I found this post that I thought would be fitting to post here…
I should be perfectly happy.
But I’m not.
I’ve spent the day feeling like I’ve been poisoned after drinking a very large quantity of alcohol last night on top of the painkiller that space me out in any case.
And I have a hole in my memory of that night that leaves me with a nervous feeling that I did something terrible and should be contemplating leaving the country and changing my name.
The sum total of my missing memories can’t possibly be more than an hour, and yet it has cast a massive, looming shadow over the other one hundred and sixty-seven perfectly lovely hours of the week.
Part of this is clearly just the consequences of drinking large quantities of a depressant drug. However, it also isn’t unrealistic to assume that I said or did something stupid, or argued with someone I don’t really want to fall out with, as this is exactly what has happened every other time I thought it would be a good idea to mix booze with painkillers.
And indeed this is what usually happens when I drink full stop.
I know it wasn’t always like this, drinking used to be fun, but I cannot remember the last time I woke up having had alcohol the night before and thought, “Yeah, that was a really good idea.”
I have woken up on many occasions and had to ask friends to fill in the gaps in my memory of what happened the night before.
I have woken up having ruined the nice cream carpets in my flat. I have woken up and been horrified by the amount of the bills that I have found in my purse. I have woken up realising that I wasted most of a day in Paris after drinking a third bottle of wine that I don’t even remember over dinner.
And there have been many times when I have had to apologise for things I didn’t mean to say, and in fact in most cases didn’t even mean the night before. Most of the things that I say when I’m drunk are completely ridiculous, and they too often make people angry or upset.
Now I realise, reading this back, that I sound like a total lush. I don’t think I am. I hope I’m not.
But I have come to realise that my social life is becoming based increasingly upon the consumption of alcohol. This has happened gradually but the effects are beginning to scare me.
Unfortunately, I have never been able to drink in moderation, and so I’m worried about what I have done to my body over the last few weeks. The drinking is clearly not helping my eczema, and I’ve started smoking when I drink which is probably a contributing factor in the fact that I am now being referred to see a consultant for my worsening asthma.
I’m terrified by the gaps in my memory and wondering whether I can have done any long-term damage to my brain. Besides which life is just too short and nights out a waste of time if I’m not going to remember what I did the next day.
I’m fed up of the hangovers which are only getting worse with age; and I’m annoyed with myself for the amount of money I’ve spent with nothing to show for it.
I hate that each time I drink I spend increasing amounts of time afterwards feeling insecure and vaguely ashamed.
But most of all I’m concerned by the damage I foresee occurring to my relationships with other people if I don’t get a grip on this now.
This has happened before when I dealt with suffering with depression and other issues in my personal life by getting drunk every day for over a year, with disastrous consequences. And I cannot allow it to happen again now.
I love my friends, and I couldn’t have coped with my injuries over the past six months without them. I’d have gone mad holed up all alone in my flat, and then starved to death without all their efforts to take care of me. I don’t want them to start thinking about me as that women who’s just drunk all the time.
I can imagine that you are reading this and thinking something along the lines of – ‘stupid woman, just drink less’. I wish it was that simple.
I never understood why other people seemed to do this easily but I couldn’t. That was until I saw the episode of the West Wing where Leo McGarry explains his alcoholism to the attorney representing him when he appears before the Grand Jury. She asks him how he could be so stupid, and he tells her;
“That’s because you think it has something to do with smart and stupid. Do you have any idea how many alcoholics are in Mensa? You think it’s a lack of willpower? That’s like thinking somebody with anorexia nervosa has an overdeveloped sense of vanity… I don’t understand people who have one drink. I don’t understand people who leave half a glass of wine on the table. I don’t understand people who say they’ve had enough. How can you have enough of feeling like this? How can you not want to feel like this longer? My brain works differently.”
I watched that episode and then spent a lot of time worrying that I was also an alcoholic.
I don’t drink often enough; but that quote exactly sums up my relationship with alcohol. So resolving to just cut down is not enough.
Which is why, when I woke up this morning muttering gibberish to myself and completely unable to move because I’d done something else I don’t remember to damage my back, I decided that I have to end this abusive and self-destructive relationship.
I have collected up all the alcoholic drinks in my house. The gin, the rum, the Bailey’s, the wine, the sake, the port, the ouzo, the beer, the Pimm’s, and the sherry – before I was injured I used to throw a lot of parties – and given every drop away to my student friend who still does have a lot of parties, and will put it all to very good use I’m sure.
I’ve even thrown in all my chocolate
If I’m turning over a new leaf it may as well be a completely healthy leaf.
And my flat is now a completely dry zone. I won’t be drinking here and neither will anybody else.
People also seem to have been quite supportive of my asking them to kick me if I talk about drinking when I’m out. And hopefully if I give it up for good any damage I’ve done so far will gradually begin to be undone.
If not, I’m sure it will end being the subject of another calamity column, so I’ll let you know.