Alcohol and me

As part of the Sobriety Diaries series, ‘The Irish Times’ invited readers to tell us about their relationships with alcohol. Here are some of the 100-plus responses

Illustartion: Valentina Rusinova/Getty

Illustartion: Valentina Rusinova/Getty

Sat, May 17, 2014, 00:00

‘I feel trapped by alcohol’
I’ve been avoiding the question “Am I an alcoholic?” for many years. One thing’s for sure: I drink a lot. I appear normal, but I drink heavily behind the scenes. I’m almost never drunk in public or late for work. I drink about six nights a week, however, and easily consume a bottle of wine on my own, maybe preceded by a few strong ales. I fear giving up alcohol. I fear for the future. I want my daughter to grow up proud of her father.

Every morning I wake early, lie beside my partner and feel profound guilt. I know that I drank too much the night before. It doesn’t take long for the guilt to wear off. The alcohol makes you lie. I know it, and I’m unable to do anything about it. I feel trapped, yet it’s my only escape.
Gerry

‘I hid my drinking well’
I loved alcohol, and for much of my life I had a good relationship with it. About 10 years ago that relationship broke down, as I became more and more dependent on drink. There was never enough for me; even when I was drinking socially I had to have a secret stash available.

Alcohol is lovely for most people. And I miss it. But I don’t miss what it did to me. I am a middle-aged, middle-class alcoholic, addicted mainly but not exclusively to wine. And, like a lot of other women, I hid it very well.

I’ve been very lucky in my recovery, but I worked hard at it, too. That doesn’t always guarantee success. Alcoholics Anonymous saved my life. The best way I can live in my recovery is to live in the moment. Even if I wasn’t an alcoholic, I’d consider this to be a gift. I love this sober life.
Emma

‘I fear for my student son’s safety’
My wife and I don’t drink much now. Teacher and dental nurse. We average one drink every fortnight at home. Never go to the pub. Too expensive when you factor in a taxi. Most of our income goes on college fees, grinds, music lessons. No foreign holiday since 2008. Our incomes have been so squeezed.

I hate how the Irish drink to excess and every social event revolves around drink and pubs. I am amazed when you travel abroad and can feel so safe at night in cities like New York or Paris. Our towns and cities are no-go areas at night. I fear for my student son’s safety at night in Dublin.
Art Griffin


‘I drank to quiet the tempest in my head’
The reasons I gave up drinking about 18 years ago were (1) a close relative was hospitalised for alcohol addiction, (2) I felt that I was a bad role model for my son, (3) I used to regularly drive after drinking, and I expected I would get caught eventually, and (4) my wife was not happy with my drinking.

I used euphemisms like “I had a fair few pints last night” to disguise the truth from myself. I was drunk. I wasn’t falling around or slurring my words, but I was drunk.

I think I drank to quiet the tempest in my head. The sense of failure, lack of purpose in life, the ennui, the annoyances of day-to-day life all started to diminish after the second or third pint and were completely obliterated as the night went on . . . until the next day. I wish I could drink in moderation, but I can’t.

As for advice to others who drink too much, I have none. You will come to your own realisation or you will shy away from a harsh assessment of yourself.

The best definition of an alcoholic? Who knows? Except we all know we are not one. But as for Mick . . . well, he’d want to watch it.
Fergus Gannon


‘There is no alcohol and me any more, just me’
I’m a 25-year-old single woman working in the business world. I grew up with alcohol from a young age. Going through college, I drank most days while still doing well with my exams. (How I do not know.)

When I finished college and started to build my career I realised I wasn’t a “normal” drinker.

I went to a couple of Alcoholics Anonymous meetings, and although I could relate to the stories people were telling I didn’t feel I belonged there. There were a lot of elderly men who seemed to have severe drink problems. I don’t regret attending the meetings; the men helped me, because they made me visualise myself in their shoes down the line, and that wasn’t something I wanted.

We reserve the right to remove any content at any time from this Community, including without limitation if it violates the Community Standards. We ask that you report content that you in good faith believe violates the above rules by clicking the Flag link next to the offending comment or by filling out this form. New comments are only accepted for 3 days from the date of publication.