I read a lot of stuff about quitting drinking, especially blog posts and stuff shared on social media about people’s own experiences of trying to quit. One thing that pops up quite a lot seems to be negative pressure; friends and family trying to convince the quitter that their problem isn’t really that bad, and that they should stop all this silliness and just have a drink like everyone else. This has NEVER happened to me, which must be a testament to the awesome company I keep. Man, if a friend tried to convince me that I was in the wrong for choosing to dodge the booze, or tried to guilt me in to getting drunk with them, I would have no choice but to stand tall and do the manly thing. I’d secretly pay someone to hit them for me.
Last week I had a gig up in Leeds with my uncouth and ungentlemanly techno-punk band Petrol Bastard. It was at a 3-day punk festival called Nepotism Fest, and was a coming-together of some of the loudest, messiest, sweariest, and most innovative (in my opinion) British bands currently out there. It’s the kind of thing I fucking lived for back in my drinking days – beers, shots, loud music, a lot of good mates, and a chance to get up and charge around onstage like a stolen drunk bulldozer.
The problem is, though, that I’m nearly 2 years sober, and this kind of event becomes a worry more than anything these days. Not a worry because I might give into temptation and hit the beers like Oliver Reed at a disco, that won’t happen, but more the worry that I might come across as a boring bastard, or as some elitist wanker sat at the back sipping my Evian whilst everyone else gets twatted on Strongbow and Jagermeister like PROPER BRITISH PUNKS. I’m painfully conscious of coming across as a tool, because I’ve known people in the past who love to push their ‘unconventional lifestyle choices’ on anyone who’ll listen, and they generally do come across like tools. I’m not in it for that, I’m in it to sort my life out and hopefully help a few others out along the way. Only if they need it, mind.
Anyway, I needn’t have worried, and in fact I’m a bit annoyed at myself for letting it even cross my mind that these awesome people might be too small-minded to understand my plight and my position. These are punks after all – the most liberal and open-minded species on the planet (David Attenborough, Kingdom Of Punks, BBC 2009). It turns out that this here blog has resonated with a good few people in that crowd, and it was ace to be able to sit and chat about something that isn’t as taboo as maybe it once was. It was also cool for me to be a person that people felt comfortable approaching, and openly talking to, about their own struggles with alcohol. Maybe more people worry about their booze habits than I’d realised?
After the gig was done, and me and the missus were 150 miles away back in Milton Keynes (via a much-needed visit to my supercool nephews in Mirfield), I received a lovely message from a friend of mine who’s band also played at Nepotism Fest – just a small note on Facebook which said “…it’s good to know other people have been brave enough to talk about alcohol problems, like your blog. It’s quite appreciated”. It’s this kind of stuff which blows my mind a bit, and reminds me why it’s important to keep this blog going. You just never know who might be out there struggling, and could benefit from a friendly bit of support, or an arm around the shoulder.
Our gig was fucking messy though, and one thing that I feel a lot more these days is pre-show nerves. Alcohol was great for blotting that out. I had to have 3 pre-show poos cause of the nerves, and on the third one I ran out of bog paper. That’s a story for another blog though.
Big ups to Lee and Alan for sorting such an awesome festival. If it happens again next year I’d recommend getting on that shit yo, regardless of your drinking habits.