I caught some of 999 emergencies the other day and when I saw the desperate state of some of the alcoholics that persistently trouble the authorities I was kind of amazed that there is no help for these people.
The Government has failed its citizens by supporting the alcohol industry on the one hand and stripping away social care on the other, leaving the emergency services to pick up the tab.
I'm fortunate that I foresaw the dark hole that was waiting to swallow me up if I kept on drinking. There are so many people that don't know they can get help on the internet in general or don't have access to it. Without it, I would have continued my slow descent into all day everyday drinking.
When you see alcoholics in such desperate trouble, you begin to appreciate what you are doing for yourself. I never considered myself an alcoholic, but clearly, I had a problem, because my struggle to free myself from drink has proved it. I never knew I was drinking too much until I tried to get sober.
Alcohol bends the mind and warps it into something that it was never intended to be. I've come to appreciate just how dangerous it is and society, in general, has no idea how powerful a drug alcohol is because it is so acceptable to drink it. You wouldn't encourage people to start smoking again if you knew they had given it up because it's addictive property is so well known.
Which is why I think relapsing is so easy. It's just so damn acceptable to get off your face and "have a good time". It should be frowned upon, and it isn't. Society has created its own monster, and it is not right that those who choose not to drink are looked upon as weird in some way.
George Best is one of the most famous alcoholic examples and I used to think "Well why doesn't he just stop". he was on his second liver or whatever it was. But just how hard can it be to stop when every single one of your mates' drinks and your wife drinks and insists on drinking in front of you. I have empathy for what he must have been going through. The damage is already done, the brain is made chemically imbalanced. How can you fight yourself when all around you are dancing with the devil?
My wife drinks and that is one of the reasons it took me so long to stop. Going to the shop to get your partner's wine IS like dousing yourself in petrol and cavorting with a flame. Countless, endless times I went to the shop with no intention of getting anything for myself and came back with beer because it is easy to do.
George Best was in an impossible position because people laughed at his lack of willpower and didn't understand his situation. There is genuinely no understanding for the devastation alcohol wreaks on the brain. Ray Wilkins - caught for the FOURTH time drinking and driving and admitting in court that he has a problem. The self-loathing must be palpable.
Government guidelines are entirely wrong. It is not safe to drink. None of this measuring out your units crap is helping anyone. Alcohol is a killer, just a publicly acceptable one. Until society changes its attitude towards alcohol relapsing is always going to be a spectre looming over us all.
Well, Friday night came and went, and I didn't drink! Major, significant progress because as I'm sure it is for the rest of you, Friday night is always the usual binge night.
I thought about having a sleep though! In bed at 10 pm and didn't wake up until 7 am. Sleep is getting easier to come by these days and I know it sounds silly, but I look forward to sleeping. With every rest I feel like my body recovers a bit more from all the damage I inflicted on it.
Is it possible that alcohol chemically alters the brain? Scientific evidence says it does and that would explain why it so hard to stop doing something that is so bad for you. Your brain adapts to alcohol exposure and learns ways to function with its presence. So one part of your mind craves the alcohol fix while another part knows it is killing you. When you take it away, your body has learned to cope with its existence and its why it feels so strange to live without it.
Pretty scary stuff and it makes a mockery of campaigns like "Frank Says" where I lifted this from their blurb:
Adults are safest not to drink regularly more than 14 units per week, to keep health risks from drinking alcohol to a low level. And if they do drink as much as 14 units per week, it is best to spread this evenly over 3 days or more. If they want to cut down the amount they’re drinking, a good way to help achieve this is to have several drink-free days each week.
It would be a lot more responsible to recommend people don't drink.