He Caught It Early
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He Caught It Early

A friend of mine told me recently that he decided a while ago to stop drinking too much alcohol.

When he goes to the pub, he doesn’t bow to peer pressure.

He gets a round in and makes his pint last.

He declines another one when the next guy buys a round.

At the end of the night he’s as fresh as a daisy, and that’s if he even hangs around that long.

But, even so, he told me that at one point, whilst working a lot away from home, he got a bit too attached to his routine couple of beers in the hotel bar at the end of the working day.

He then noticed that he began to follow the beers up with a couple of whiskeys when he got back to his hotel room.

It soon dawned on him that he looked forward to a drink – or several! – every single night.

So he knocked it on the head.

How was he able to do that?

My brother suggested that he ‘caught it early’.

Perfect. Sums it up completely.

Not all of my friend’s dreams have come true, but he is a happily married man with children and he is good at his job. He has a lot of other stuff going for him too.

He’s done alright in the game of life.

He was strict with himself. He noticed a problem, gave himself rules and he stuck to them.

Alcohol was starting to become something he yearned for so he stopped drinking during the working week, and he doesn’t drink much at the weekend now either.

He realised early just what would happen if he didn’t act.

Those two whiskeys in his hotel room would turn into three, four, five and then….who knows?

He’d start having restless nights.

He’d wake up feeling groggy and mentally exhausted, even though the day hadn’t even begun.

The endless fatigue would make his working day twice as hard.

He’d become increasingly prone to making bad decisions.

He’d feel constant irritation with those at home because it’s so easy to be dissatisfied with….well….everything.

So why don’t the rest of us see the light at such an early stage?

For a long, long time, I actually felt as though I had more to lose by NOT drinking.

I’ve always been shy and, as far back as I can remember, I’ve felt clunky and awkward around people.

Making conversation with anyone other than my closest friends presents a real challenge. It just doesn’t come naturally to me.

But then, when I first started drinking…..wow! It all became so easy.

University was the first time I started to regularly use alcohol as a crutch.

I was eighteen, living away from home for the first time.

It was both terrifying and exciting.

The social life was fantastic and I started drinking and going out a lot more than I had ever done before.

I generally had a brilliant time.

But it was also around this time that my drunken behaviour began to present a problem.

I was drunkenly unfaithful to my then boyfriend (this was the first of a series of events that I still regret terribly to this day).

I had to re-do a whole night’s worth of revision as I’d drunk so much cider whilst doing it the first time.

I got very, very drunk on my twenty-first birthday.

My main memory of the birthday meal with my family the following afternoon is of having to stand outside the restaurant getting fresh air because I felt so sick and hungover.

This bad stuff aside, people didn’t then mind being around me. I was part of a small gang and we went everywhere together. I loved it and the booze made it even more fun.

When I started working, there were new gangs of people to go out and get pissed with.

At the frequent work nights out, the company would lay on free booze, the message being – drink, be merry, thanks for all your hard work. But….don’t – whilst under the influence of all this free alcohol we’ve supplied you!! – cross that invisible line into inappropriateness, as it could cost you your job.

It’s only by luck I survived at my place of work. At one work do, I ran out of white wine, so started on the red. Later at the pub, I fell asleep with my head on the table, then suddenly woke up being sick. I puked all over the pub floor. No food, just liquid.

I was escorted/dragged to the loo by a colleague and a manager where I was sick again.

After a few minutes I felt much better. So I went and got myself another drink.

As far as I can recall, my colleagues thought my behaviour was hilarious. But then again, I clearly don’t have the full story.

I wouldn’t be at all surprised if there was actually an air of disgust provoked by my behaviour. But then, the drunk me would have just ignored this anyway.

These events happened a long time ago. A really long time ago.

And I had already long missed the opportunity to ‘catch it early’.


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