...But what had happened in the lost time, the dead time of drinking? What awful thing?...

...The fears came. How much noise, did I talk to myself the way I did in Cromwell Road, did I go out of the room or let anyone in? Or was it all quiet, sitting in my chair, oversleeping, medicinal drink to help me sleep?...

Brian Moore, The Lonely Passion of Judith Hearne

The biggest drawback when it comes to alcohol for me has always been the associated loss of control, specifically loss of control of my consciousness. Right from the start, as a teen, I found myself doing and saying things that consciously were embarrassing or humiliating to me. I suppose this might suggest to me that I was embarrassed about some of my natural drives or inclinations, that I habitually repressed them, and in continuing to seek out alcohol after embarrassing incidents had occurred as a result of excessive consumption that perhaps my unconscious wanted me to relax my control somewhat, or that I become better acquainted with the me that I couldn't consciously accept.

I am not sure to what extent I am brainwashed by society's view of alcoholism or 'excessive' alcohol consumption. If I try to go without alcohol, I find it difficult. I can occasionally manage a run of 5-6 weeks (in 2010 I managed 10), but those runs include fantasies of when I will drink again. More commonly I manage a run of 2 weeks or so when left alone in the house, but very often, even when I think I want to give it up for significantly longer I find I am unable.

Alcohol is now a bigger issue in my life than bulimia, and my priority/preference is now for alcohol over food. However, the alcohol has (very similar) effects on my weight/body and body image, as well as on how I feel physiologically and psychologically in regards to going out.

If I am trying to work on a project, for example, a new extension to my website, I find that having breaks in which I get drunk and recover seem to help me cope with the ongoing relentless stress of wondering if I can manage to tie my ideas together. It very often does seem to me that having breaks is somewhat beneficial. Between coffee and chocolate and getting totally plastered a couple days a week, the need to binge is greatly reduced, and sometimes completely replaced for a time. When I do attempt to work on something, having caffeine seems to help me focus.

To feel drunk 'enough', I usually need from 10-14 standard units of alcohol within a period of a few hours. If it is stretched out over a longer period, I have managed considerably more, but this is rare.

It has occurred to me upon waking up hungover that perhaps alcohol would help the problem. A few times it has, but on others it has not, and I still tend to avoid drinking the next day. Instead, I concentrate on getting some food into my system, along with some caffeine. If I get the timing, proportions and types of food right (usually I will have pre-prepared an individual portion of pasta with tomato-based sauce that I can microwave - I find this particular type of food works well for me), I usually feel better, but I think it does require that I pay attention to my body's signals. As for hydration: no matter how drunk I am, even if I have drunk to the point of blackout, I seem to remember to drink 500 ml of water before going to bed. I put another 500 ml beside the bed and sip whenever I wake. I often need paracetamol, but if I can get caffeine into my system early enough I may not develop a headache that requires paracetamol.

However, as the day draggles on, I will often notice that I feel depressed, and my tendency tends to be to binge/purge to compensate. Even after b/p, I will usually not feel sick so much as weak, and this tends to change by the time I wake up the next day. The b/p occurs less frequently than the binge drinking, and tends to occur the day after binge drinking rather than on its own any more.

I do expend a significant amount of energy in planning for drinking binges and recovery.

For most of my life, food was my major addiction. My life revolved around that addiction. I occasionally drank excessively, but my number one preference was for food. The alcohol only slowly crept up on me. I always drank to excess, even when I drank rarely. For a while, I used alcohol to help me cope with social situations (e.g., going to clubs to dance). Then I used it to help me dance alone in my apartment - but only occasionally. Eventually I began to drink with GK while we watched music videos, and then I began to drink alone when he was away, and then to drink in my room even while he was home.

People spend a lot of money on 'legitimate' prescriptions in good conscience, but aren't a lot of them seeking the same kind of relief? A lot of the problems in life are not things that can be solved without social change, or resolving certain inequalities, but psychiatry and psychology often focus on getting the individual to change, when there might not be anything actually wrong or irrational about the individual's responses to their circumstances. We live in an agist and sexist society in which there can be disastrous consequences for an individual to be too different, or not normal enough.

...And Moira's kind words were only to calm her down, to shut off this shocking flow of unwanted confidence. In Moira's eyes I am drunk, that is all she sees, a drunk person, nobody takes them seriously. Lie down and you'll feel better...

Brian Moore, The Lonely Passion of Judith Hearne

I've tried as hard as I personally know how to get people to communicate openly and in depth with me. It may be that people only see a person who is out of touch with reality, who is mentally ill, delusional, desperate, troubled, needy, and not as a person who is perceptive, thinking, sensitive, insightful and worth talking to, or someone it is possible to talk to. In addition I may now be perceived as someone who is a drunk and not worth listening to or taking seriously.

The way that I drink now is pretty desperate. I resisted letting it get to the state it is at now, and I realize that it continues to get worse. The issue is that I can't see any real reason not to have a few hours of relaxed consciousness, to escape the horror of daily existence for a while. I can't see any real reason to wait to drink until a Friday night as opposed to a Tuesday morning, although I often still do make such efforts. However, I do sometimes make a point of drinking at 'odd' times as a kind of statement or rebellion.

When I wake up feeling embarrassed, I am not sure if it's because I don't really accept that it is an unpleasant but necessary solution (I feel guilty about it), or if it's because I am still so profoundly embarrassed about who I am, about my drives, which I have spent most of my life trying to control or hide because they are so very unacceptable - in drinking I relax control, and so maybe it's about the unconscious longing to become conscious.

See also: alcohol abuse.















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