Thursday, March 27, 2008
alcohol - part 1
I've been thinking about drinking a lot recently. Not doing it (well, a little) but the act of it. People I know recently espoused the worth of binge drinking, the value of cutting loose, going to far, letting go responsibilities and relaxing by getting out of it to to the point of blackout.
My own story with alcohol is conflicting. My father was pretty much an alcoholic when I was a child, I think, perhaps not in the typical sense but he would drink in an uncontrolled way. And he was hypoglycemic so it made him all the crazier.
I didn't really start drinking regularly or in pubs til I was about 17, though I'd certainly been drunk before that. Before and while I was meeting my husband, if you know what I mean, we all drank a lot. I was introduced to the joys of the naggin of vodka in a can of coke at sixteen and made a twat of myself at regular intervals. At worst was the night I was also drinking Guinness and ended up asleep on the roadside in an unsalubrious part of Bray - thankfully a nice lady woke me up, instead of selling me into the slave trade. I got sick in the hedge, then tottered into what was then Bad Bob's (and is now thankfully apartments so I don't have to relive my shame anymore each time I pass) and spent the night unconscious, hugging the toilet. When I emerged, everyone was outside, the club was dark and the cleaners were cleaning. Great night, that.
There've been a couple other pukey outcomes, but nothing too horrible, thankfully.
I got oddly tired by the end of college, and used to just give up and go home to bed early in my early twenties. Then I got pregnant, breastfed, had a child and never got out, and did it all again so that was pretty much it. I'm going to be a really cheap date once I stop breastfeeding again this time.
I have to admit, I had an experience that's really put me off excessive drunkenness - my wedding was not quite as fun as it could have been due to the exhaustion of organising all ourselves, and my mother dying at the time. Lots of people got messily drunk, largely as my father refused to accept that a glass of champagne each before dinner was enough. Shortly afterwards I found a receipt for extra cases in the basement. The waiters just kept pouring, everyone was standing out in the sun, they never stood a chance! We had several people fall casualty to it shortly after dinner. With wine on top, there were several little vignettes I could have done without. My father swaying, purple mouthed, pronouncing emotionally that my party had 'saved' our house. His girlfriend holding my hand and impressing on me how upset I must have been about my mother's non-attendance. My husband's friend accidentally headbutting him while professing his love for him. My alcoholic uncle getting shitfaced and having to be carried in for a lie down, then getting sick in the rental car my other uncle had to take him home in. My husband's (female) cousin getting so aggressive with the bus driver that my husband was AWOL for much of the evening trying to sort that out. His brother and best man wasn't there to help as his girlfriend had got so drunk he took her home early. His other cousins drunkenly and taking over the disco with pop tunes - fine for them, but not what I'd hoped for.
My bridesmaid's boyfriend went missing in action, crashed out in the garden, while she wandered the house and my father's guest's bedrooms looking for him! My brother's drunken friends arriving later on, babbling the same clichéd phrases at me over and over and over, my brother himself drank a bottle of whiskey and spent the next day (when he was supposed to be helping clean) wrapped around the toilet with alcohol poisoning. My father's girlfriend said of they hadn't been so hungover themselves they probably would have taken him to hospital.
All of this, and more, countless people mauling and groping at me, slurring blurred clichés over me, it really gave me a stomachful of drunkenness. It may have been a great day out for all of them, hey, an excuse to get fucked up, but it left me in tears, on my own, on my wedding day. My tolerance for it all is only starting to pick up again.
Most of us would probably reject the idea that over four drinks is binging. I understand that, there's a lot of different ways to drink four drinks, it wouldn't necessarily get most people that drunk, and most of us would drink so much more than that that even though it's a medical assessment, it's too low to let anyone take it seriously. But at the moment, not used to it, I know four drinks would have me on the floor. Which makes it worrying to think about the times I've drunk so much more.