There’s no two ways about it; I really do enjoy a good drink, and, as far as I’m concerned, there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that. I didn’t start drinking alcohol voluntarily until I was about 23–24. Before that, it was always when friends insisted I drink to appease them, and I never enjoyed it. I’d take one sip and it’d put me off completely.
When I finally did start to enjoy it, it was as if something came over me, like I was unconsciously trying to make up for lost time. Finding balance with this new-found hobby of mine was a rough, blackout-riddled path.
Some years ago, I found myself drinking so often that I had to eventually question if I was bordering on alcoholism. Drinking five nights a week and saving the occasional weekend for recovery. Obviously, that couldn’t go on for long.
What really pushed me to get myself out of that slump was the hard-hitting observation that the functions of my brain seemed to be degrading as time went on.
Not only did the quality of my writing begin to suffer, but also my standards for things I’d read, watch and listen to. The energy I could offer and the width, depth and breadth of my communication followed suit shortly after. Energy, patience, attention span, you name it…
Even how active I was in pursuing my philosophical or otherwise conscious interests seemed to diminish under the heavy, ever-expanding fog of alcohol. I was reading less, listening to fewer discussions, podcasts, interviews and debates than usual, and realised I was habitually replacing them with episodes of some shallow, easy-listening background laughs… almost all day.
Serious. The kind of crap that I allowed myself to watch and listen to back then was a problem in and of itself, and I’m only glad I was able to catch it before it made a more significant, longer-lasting mark on me.
An example is comedy. I went from watching and listening to what I consider to be “real” comedy to watching low-tier, canned-laughter-driven, standardised sitcom-level actors acting like they are funny.
Another example, and somewhat more alarming to me than anything I’ve summarised so far, is that whatever philosophical discipline or moral code I lived by then, it was almost as if the alcohol was trying to push it out, to make me forget about it. It suddenly started to seem far less important.
These things are important.
Anyone who might have taken a similar dive as this would know… It’s time to cut back, to get yourself in check, to find your disciplined balance or to just drop it altogether, and finally reconnect with what’s important. Cheers!