You read a lot about seemingly staunch, fully ‘converted’, solidly-grounded non-drinkers with three, four, five years of sobriety under their belts that suddenly go POP and fall off the wagon. Sometimes this can be a spectacular Gascoigne-esque fall, where the booze-victim finds themselves staggering around an off licence in a dressing gown with their tackle hanging out, and other times this can just mean a couple of wines or beers at home, before a fitful sleep and a fleeting return to the world of abstinence with the counter zero’d (or not – depending whether you view relapse as an expected part of recovery).
This latter example, where it’s no more than a short detour before rejoining the intended path, is something which seems to happen more than I expected – and to the people that I wouldn’t expect it to happen to; people whose journeys I’ve followed closely on blogs and social media as they proudly hold the torch aloft – front and centre of the ‘sober revolution’. BLAM! They’re waking up with a rough head and starting again. No serious damage done, except for maybe a slightly bruised sense of self-control.
We all know that alcohol is a devious bastard, and with that in mind I think it would be massively unfair and hypocritical of me to accuse anyone of being weak-willed or not fully committed to the cause – after-all, everyone is on their own journey, and it’s no business of mine what someone’s reasons for getting sober are, or even ‘how sober’ they plan on getting. That’s not what this blog is about. Rather, what I’m mulling over in today’s wanky booze blog is just how EASY it seems to be for ex-drinkers to be enticed back into that world. Or in other words: how HARD it is to fully escape the clutches of the demon beer. I mean, some people have been really fucked by the booze; they’ve lost jobs, husbands and wives, homes, they’ve killed people with their cars, they’ve got huge health problems, they’ve alienated family and friends, they’ve pissed themselves in public, they’ve made inappropriate comments at work events, they’ve smashed a whole bottle of Aftershock and then tried to fight their nan, they’ve lost their trousers and slept in a bush (oops), and they’ve drunk-spent money on eBay that they couldn’t afford to spend.
So why, after making such headway into ditching the booze, would you ever go back?
As I write this I’m at 970 days sober, and I’m the happiest I’ve ever been. Not just a bit happier than usual today because it’s a nice sunny day (nice as FUK – 25c in Milton Keynes), but I mean in general, and in all areas of life. I make no bones about the fact that getting off the booze has saved me, and so jumping off the wagon just seems ridiculous to me. It’d be like cutting my own nob off with a breadknife; idiotic and painful, and hard to explain to my parents.
And yet sometimes, for half a second, I think about it (drinking I mean, not the penis removal. Although I am having a vasectomy in two weeks which I assume is the same thing?).
So, I wonder to myself, what would happen if I picked up a pack of beers this weekend, and afforded myself a blowout for old times’ sake? I reckon it’d go something like this:
Day 1, 6pm – Holy mother of God it’s a nice day! Back in the drinking days I’d have spent days like today having a BBQ and getting twatted in the back garden. Hmm maybe I should stop being a killjoy dickhead and just allow myself a couple of beers eh? I’ve done nearly three years without one so I DEFINITELY know that I can control it. Yeah fuck it. Tesco’s beer aisle here I come! May as well get a bit of wine too just in case.
Day 1, 8pm – The loud music is pumping in the back garden and I’m feeling good. Why did I ever think it was a good idea denying myself all of this fun?? This is the real me. I’ve missed this. The beer has gone and the wine is running low. Back to the shop? Or into town for a gig or whatever? Fuck it, taxi to town.
Day 1, 11pm – What a shit band! Luckily I’ve had enough sambuca to drown a goat (?). I was once in a cool band (lies. It was rubbish) and those guys definitely want to hear all about it when they get off the stage. Slur slur slur. They’re driving back to London tonight for a house party? Sure I’ll tag along. Can we stop at the 24hr offy for some vodka on the way? Milkybars are on me!
Day 2, 12:30am – Driver turn the radio up! This is a fucking RIGHT TUNE! You’re alright you are man. Go on! Ave some vodka! I’ll take the wheel whilst you swig it. Oops I’m seeing double! Fuuuuuuuuuck! SMASH! Car is fucked. Wall is fucked. Run away! I’ll hide in that garden over there, with my voddy.
Day 2, 12:50am – Hang on a minute. Aren’t you that guy off the telly? Fucking Martin Clunes! Duuuude, what are the chances that I ended up hiding in your garden! Want to share my vodka? Sound. What’s that? You’re flying to LA for an audition in the morning for a new movie called Elephant Man 2050, and you need someone to carry your bags? I’m your man! TAXI! Airport please. Let’s pick up some more booze for the journey…
Day 2, 5am – Woohoo free champagne in first class! I need to phone my boss and let him know I won’t be in work tomorrow coz I’m too busy hanging out in first class with Martin Clunes and travelling to LA. Aw shit where’s my phone? Fuck it. More champers!
Day 2, 9:15am – Listen you fat baldy twat! I just want a go doing loop-the-loops and that! Just let me try and fly the plane for a bit! I take a swig from the champagne bottle and BLAM! Smash it over the pilot’s head. Co-pilot dives on me, plane goes into a nosedive into the Atlantic Ocean, everybody screaming.
Day 16, 7pm – I’ve been on this tiny island for two weeks now. Nothing to eat but sand. Nothing to drink but rainwater. Luckily a case of export strength rum also washed up from the wreckage. Party! Starting to feel a bit lonely though. Also this diet of sand is giving me the shits.
Day 47, 7:20am – Woohoo a boat has rescued me! I’m saved! It’s a very fancy luxury liner and the guests of honour include The Queen, and Brian May of Queen. Good timing, as I’ve just run out of rum. It’s an all-inclusive cruise so I’m going to hit the Stella at lunchtime and then go exploring on the bridge, see if the Captain will let me steer for a bit.
Day 49, 2am – Oops. Gone slightly off-course and pranged Dover. Abandon shiiiiiiip! Guess I’ll have to swim to shore, and then hitch-hike back (after a Wetherspoons all-day breakfast obvz).
Day 52, 3pm – Finally back in MK. What do you mean you’re leaving me? Well I would have called but I lost my mobile! Oh shit what are the cops doing here? Oof! Arrested for the murder of 782 people, including Martin Clunes, Brian May, and The Queen. Fuck!
Day 1148, 12:30pm – The food in here is shit. Oh well, only twenty-five more years of my sentence to serve. Good news is that I’m back off the pop, since there’s nowt to drink in prison except that antiseptic gel for washing your hands – and that’s MINGING. I hit my 3-years sober yesterday, so I’m pretty much back where I started. Except I killed a load of people and my wife left me. Shit, I still need to phone my boss. He’ll be wondering why I never turned up for work! I’ll say I have a tummy bug or something.
Very very slightly exaggerated, but basically that summarises why I’m best steering clear of the beer for good, and also steering clear of Martin Clunes (bad influence).
I think it’s only human to have weak moments whether we’re quitting alcohol, or on a diet or whatever, but what makes us strong and successful is the ability to recognise those urges as soon as they arise, and then to know how to deal with them before they become a threat. My 3-step programme for success is as follows:
- Be prepared – Research the various ways of dealing with the weak moments, so that when they arise you already have a plan.
- Take the necessary action – This could be as severe as getting up and walking out of an establishment serving beer, or it could mean making a phone call to your sponsor. For me, it’s all about ‘playing the tape forwards’, which is explained fully in my dainty advice blog here.
- Avoid Martin Clunes – obviously.
I hope this blog has been helpful and informative. The heat has got to me a little bit today, so apologies if I’ve rambled.
Quick update on the Manchester SoberPunks event – I’m looking at venues this weekend and so should be able to announce a date and location soon! (woo)
Enjoy the lovely weather, and try not to be a dick 🙂
Wanna read my big wanky blog from the start? Click here.
Show us some fuckin’ love by buying yourself a lovely SoberPunks T-shirt here.