Nobody expects to get addicted to alcohol…
How on earth did I get addicted to alcohol, that wasn’t supposed to happen!
I remember my first dalliance with alcohol, I was about ten years old. We had just moved into a new house. To my younger brother and I, it was cool, because it meant significantly bigger bedrooms.
But that was about it, we were perfectly happy with the old house, to be honest.
A big deal
However, it was a huge deal to my parents, it had pushed them to the limit financially and there were many times where they thought they had bitten off more than they could chew. It was their dream house and looking back I now understand just how special that first night in 4080 Coniscliffe Road was.
Everything was new!
All the chintzy seventies-style plastic furniture of our old house had been dumped. My parents had obviously taken the decision that only the best would be allowed in the new house. None of the old ‘hand me down’ junk from our former lives would be allowed.
A part of this new opulence was a huge mahogany drinks cabinet. It was so fancy that it even had a light inside that came on when you opened the door. I was fascinated by that, and how the golden glow made the liquor bottles radiate and glow.
As though they were teasing me, forbidden fruit and not for the likes of me or my brother.
Curiosity killed the Craig
One of my strongest character traits is my absolute insistence on finding out how things work. I was never able to accept reasons like ‘because I say so’ as the final word. I always want to know why, how, when, what and who says so! This aspect of my being has brought me a great deal of success over the years.
It’s only fair to point out that it’s also got me into a lot of trouble too. But you can’t have one without the other in this life.
The whole majesty of the drinks cabinet was a constant thorn in my side. I would watch my parent’s friends and family come visiting to see the new house. Before they stepped any further than the entrance hall they were offered something from the magical ‘adults only’ cabinet.
I never saw anyone ever decline the offer and nobody claimed to be addicted to alcohol either.
My ten-year-old self came to the conclusion that whatever was in those bottles must be bloody amazing stuff. I fully understood the consequences of accepting the serpent’s offer of a tasty apple from the tree, but the pull of adventure and new experiences was too strong.
There was never a passing thought of getting addicted to alcohol.
Bring the King a drink boy!
When my father sat down in his new armchair one night, quite clearly the king on his throne, and he called out for his firstborn. I rushed to his side to find out what his majesty wanted. When he told me to go bring him a glass of whiskey from the drinks cabinet my eyes lit up, so I quickly blinked them close to conceal my sneaky plan.
Slyly looking over each shoulder I opened the magical glowing cabinet and grabbed the whiskey decanter. I was shocked by how heavy it was. The golden liquid was glowing in the light emanating from the cabinet.
At that moment if I had had to bet my life on that liquid tasting amazing, I would have done so in a heartbeat. I had all the evidence to support that theory. I had seen the grown-ups go crazy for this stuff.
This was going to be the best thing I had ever tasted. You can forget about your boring Wham Bars and Snickers. That was child’s play, and I was about to become a man.
The best thing ever
I slowly raised the whiskey glass to my mouth and breathed in. I was shocked quite frankly it smelt worse than my Dad’s feet after a full day at work. Perhaps it smells bad but tastes amazing I thought (genius that I am).
Gently I lifted the glass and took the sort of gulp I was used to taking from the bottles of Sprite in the refrigerator.
This was a mistake, a big mistake.
In less than a second, my mouth was on fire, I wanted to scream or gasp for air but I had a gob full of poison so it was impossible.
I never even considered that I wouldn’t be able to swallow it. I couldn’t spit it back in the glass, because how would I explain to my mom in the kitchen why I was pouring my father’s expensive whiskey down the sink?
I held the burning sulfur in my mouth for four or five hours, or so it felt. Before I could take it no more and proceeded to spray the filthy fluid all over the new furniture. I don’t need to tell you how much trouble I got in because of that little misadventure.
That’s not the point of this story.
The thing is with alcohol is it taste vile, smells disgusting and makes us feel terrible. All this is an undeniable truth and something we learn from a very early age. Yet, despite all that, we still force ourselves to get addicted to alcohol.
When I left high school and went to college I was stunned by how much freedom I got.
Yeah, we were expected to go to lessons but nobody called your mom if you skipped one or ten. I went to a pretty hard-core college with some very streetwise kids. I was a wet behind ears kid with very little experience of real life.
My brother and I had been sent to very expensive, well-respected schools and there was never any trouble or hint of real-life creeping in. It was an idyllic childhood in many ways.
However, perfection caused me several significant problems. Because I had spent my entire childhood in a single-sex school, I had no idea how to talk to girls, never mind ask one out for a date. I also had no concept of rebellion or anarchy.
A good boy gone bad
I was a good boy suddenly in a very corrupt crowd, and I absolutely loved it.
I was often invited to skip class and go to the pub, an invitation I accepted so often that I don’t really remember going to any lessons beyond Media Studies, I liked that! The brazen rebellion of it all, skipping college lessons, raising one finger to the man, it all seemed so cool!
I didn’t join the guys in the pub because I liked to drink, I still didn’t even like the taste of beer.
Sometimes when nobody was looking I would ask the barman to put a splash of lemonade in it to take the edge off. I couldn’t do that very often because being accepted as ‘one of the gang’ was more important than the vile taste.
Addicted to alcohol and the path from problem drinking
But isn’t this how most people start on the alcohol path. Not really liking it but not wanting to feel left out. Drinking to be a part of the cool gang. This is how the drug gets you! It seems such a crazy notion that you could ever get hooked on this filth that you don’t even entertain it.
But you see that guy slumped in the park swigging booze out of a brown paper bag or your aunty Jean who always gets drunk family parties and ends up dancing on the tables until she falls off and hurts herself?
Before they got addicted to alcohol, they all started out the exact same way!
There was a point where they were in control and then that changed. No notice, no expectation, it just happened one day.
One day it just happened to me, and one day it happened you too.
I quit drinking because it never stopped being that horrible, vile tasting poison that it was when I was ten years old. I had simply stopped seeing the reality, I was sinking in quicksand and making out like it was all my choice.
By the way, please like and share this blog and help others stay clear of getting addicted to alcohol – Google hates me at the moment, I need your help.