Boo's To Too Much Booze, Jeers To Not Enough Cheers.

Anyone who has read a fair amount of my posts will know that, historically, I have enjoyed the odd alcoholic beverage. As in ‘the odd bottle of rum’. As in ‘the odd ten pints of Old Rosie’. As in ‘too much’. So, it was quite disturbing to be told, after a nice bout of pancreatitis last Christmas, that I might not be able to handle the booze as well as I previously had. Not that I handled it brilliantly before. I could drink – by golly I could drink - but I’d regularly lose large chunks of an evening and spend the following day squeezing bile out of my body like an ineffective and poorly conceived tube of toothpaste, while I pondered what the hell I’d actually done. You could safely describe my relationship with alcohol as unhealthy. Abusive, even.

After the debilitating pain, the ride in the ambulance (not as glamorous as I’d imagined), the stay in hospital and the tests, I was quite ready to listen to the medical professionals. The specialist was pretty clear when she said, ‘your body’s been telling you not to drink for a while’. It seemed obvious when it was pointed out, and I felt like a fool. Of course it had, that’s why it blacked out so much, why it felt so dreadful, why it was a kind of greyish colour. There followed a period of several months in which I didn’t drink and stuck to a very strict diet. I was recovering, my body was fucked, and I didn’t want to risk a relapse. Eventually I started feeling normal, and the halo slipped ever so slightly. The occasional whisky and water would occur, but I achieved a very healthy balance. Then dad died.

Obviously, that was my cue to self-destruct. Which, after the initial phase of phoning up and notifying, I dutifully did. It started at the wake and escalated quickly. I drank – not as heartily as before P Day (Pancreatitis Day) – but heartily enough. I ate pizza and burgers and sweets and cheese. I did everything I was expressly advised not to do. It was brilliant. It was also brilliantly corrosive, and soon my body started to revolt. It was dreadful and it was entirely my own stupid fault, but it did knock some sense into me. Since then I have only had two small drinks, and the diet has stuck. Crucially, I haven’t felt the desire to get shit faced. This, however, has thrown up a whole host of other problems. It turns out that almost all of my social life revolved around punishing my liver. Finding people who want to hang out without a drink in their hand has been tricky and chatting to drunk people isn’t all that. Suddenly I know what it must have been like for everyone I slurred at.

Mmmm, overdramatic.

I don’t know if we actually have a problem with booze as a country (we probably do though), but I’m coming round to the idea that we have a problem with non-booze related night time activities. There aren’t any. At least, there aren’t many, and where I live there are very few for people of my age with my interests. It’s also a me problem. I’m so used to relying on my drunkenness to make me more relaxed, confident and (misguidedly) funny, that I now struggle to know how to be in situations where I would previously have been wankered. I’m essentially teetotal now, and it’s mildly terrifying. That in itself is a concern, because it shouldn’t be scary to not be drunk when interacting with other people, be they friends or strangers. It is though. It’s weird and new and makes me feel Other, like I’m the odd one for not staggering around like a tit and talking bollocks at a too loud volume. It will get easier, of course, and my first few nights out sans sangria have been increasingly ok, so eventually it will become my new Normal.

I’m not saying don’t drink, but maybe drink less. Or consciously don’t drink on a Friday night and still go out. Or come and have a chat with me and we’ll just have a squash and some crisps. Basically, I’m now one of those preachy arseholes that bangs on about how everyone drinks too much. Except at least I’m aware it’s mostly because I’m jealous.

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