As I’ve mentioned before, I was never someone you’d probably describe as a classic alcoholic. I wasn’t a weekday drinker (or at least not for the last 6 or 7 years), and I’ve never ‘needed’ booze – not until I got started on a Friday night anyway. From that point I held it close right up until Sunday bedtime. But then I wouldn’t touch a drop until the following Friday.
(There was a period over 10 years ago when I did drink daily, but this was whilst I was a full-time barman – before I entered the world of stressful 9-5 office jobs. There are some very naughty stories about this period, but I’ll save them badboys for a future blog post…)
The problem with drinking all weekend is that, for me anyway, it HUGELY affected the working week. I would feel like absolute shit until Wednesday, and it would sometimes take until Friday for me to really be back in a healthy frame of mind. By that point it was time to start drinking again!
So, a weekend-only drinker doesn’t sound like a person with huge problems – until you consider the far-reaching impact of this lifestyle; the poor work performance, the lack of sleep (which translates into all sorts of other problems), the paranoia, the money spent, the bad diet, the calories, the bad decisions, the neglected loved-ones, the missed family visits (suddenly I want to visit my grandparents, and it’s too late) – all of this shit adds up. I’m just glad I realised how big the impact was before it got any worse. A lot of people wait until rock bottom before they make a change.
To understand the magnitude of the problem, all I need to do is compare my lifestyle THEN with my lifestyle NOW. The change in my attitude to life, and my general feeling of well-being, is fucking massive (fucking massive).
Despite never being homeless or arrested due to drinking, I still do look back on a lot of the daft things I did. They’re quite evenly-scattered throughout my drinking career too. For example:
- The first night I ever got drunk was when my parents (mum and step-dad) were hosting a bit of a dinner party with a few friends. I must have been about 15. I stole some bottles of San Miguel and got plastered in my room. I can’t remember what I did, but I remember my mum telling me I was ‘being an arsehole’. I woke up and I’d scrawled in massive letters on my bedroom wall ‘MUM CALED ME AN ASRE OLE’ or similar. I should have known right then that booze wasn’t for me.
- At around 18 years old I remember my then-girlfriend taking me to a party at her friend’s parent’s house in Batley. I can’t remember the occasion, but it I think it was meant to be a steady family do – and not the immense wreck-up I decided to approach it as. I just remember being the last to leave, and my girlfriend’s friend’s dad taking my beer off me and marching me out of the house. I woke up at home the next day (no idea how I got there) and I found a bottle of Bacardi in my jacket pocket. The memories slowly came flooding back. Fuck. I’d nicked it from their house. Might as well drink it then. What a bastard…
- In my early twenties I went to Amsterdam for the first time. I went with a lad from work, and we were hell-bent on taking that city for everything it had to offer. As it transpired, we drank too much on the ferry over. The other lad, Chris, got lost on the boat and was sent back to our cabin after trying to climb up onto the roof of a moving lift. This caused the lift to stop, and an alarm was raised. When he woke up the next morning he’d lost his trousers. I, on the other hand, did something more dangerous than I’ve ever done since. I drunkenly found myself out on one of the decks at around midnight, and climbed over the side. I must have been 200 foot above the dark cold water, hanging there drunkenly by just my cold, slippery hands. If I’d have slipped then my absence would have probably gone unnoticed until disembarkation the morning after, by which time I’d probably have perished in the North Sea. I still, to this day, have no idea what the fuck I was thinking.
- In my late twenties I remember going out drinking on a Saturday night with my good mate Ryu, after we’d spent Friday night and all day Saturday on the bottle. After a few Jagermeisters at my favourite rock bar I realised I’d had too much. I staggered outside to get a taxi and went down a side alley to have a quick cheeky wee. My head was spinning, and I fell backwards into a huge puddle of other people’s piss (it was a popular area for that type of thing). I ended up in A&E with a broken ankle, and covered in piss. What a dude.
This is all just to give a bit of further context to why me and booze needed to part ways. I have a hundred more stories like this, and I’m sure they’ll all come out in this blog at some point.
The original question was ‘Were you really that bad Jon?’ and I reckon that, compared to your average British male, I probably wasn’t that bad. I think I had the potential to get much worse though, and that’s why it was so important to end it when I did.