Today marks 60 days sober. It’s no small feat and one I’m super proud of but it is only just the beginning. In this past month I’ve contacted many friends and asked for their views on what I was like in the thick of my alcoholism. It was a bit of an eye opener, that’s for sure! Read on to find out what I learned. I’ve filtered through words from the personal accounts from a few people I asked.
I had a wide range of friend groups, mostly revolving around BMX but all of them seemingly had different experiences with drunk Steve. Possibly due to the length at which I was probably considered an alcoholic and how used to it I was getting. Without booze, my personality is pretty hot & cold anyway but alcohol seemed to accentuate that. I would push limits, every time and was “fun to drink with and also an absolute nightmare!” This seemed to be a common experience through everyone’s eyes.
“A firecracker! You never knew when you’d be set off.”
It seemed that for the most part I was just having fun but the smallest things could change that dramatically. “The boys were making car noises and you lost it. You got super angry and it got real awkward.” It must have been a wild ride for anyone around me when I was drinking, even though I saw no problem.
“You were causing some severe damage to your body!”
“We were driving home and you had to keep stopping because your body was seizing up.” I had been out the night before and was extremely hungover. Water would only take up valuable alcohol space so I would let myself get to the point of complete and utter dehydration until my entire body would cramp. This was a scary time. Writing this reminds me of a time after a big session when I drove to the servo the following morning. I made it all the way and parked safely but at that point my body locked. I was stuck and lost the use of my arms and legs. They had cramped so tightly all I could manage in twenty minutes was to open the car door and kinda fall out onto the sill. Struggling, I asked for help and it must have looked like I had a severe disability. This may have been one of the moments that lead to me beginning my journey towards sobriety.
“We were on a road trip and you and a friend started drinking and didn’t stop. This was one of the first times we met.”
From there I suppose I just got kinda used to always drinking. “I never really saw ‘drunk Steve’ but Steve was always drinking.” Alcohol became the norm and friends just got used to seeing a can or two of Jack’n’Cola in my hand. “We’d go ride bikes; you’d be driving and you’d pick up a 6 or 10 pack and drink the whole time. You never worried about drink driving or riding under the influence.” I remember making every effort to enable my drinking everywhere. I’d fill coke bottles with whiskey and cola and drink in places not normally associated with drinking. It was just a game to me.
A few things then led to me not having a car. This was awesome in the sense that I was lessening the amount I could drink-drive but I now had one less reason to go easy on my alcohol consumption. I became very coherent when drunk. I mean, I’d be blackout drunk and be slurring my words but still completely capable on a bicycle. I (thought I) was hyper aware of everything around me and my focus was super sharp. I started to realise my limits and was learning to ease off but that meant a minimum of 4 can/day.
Reflecting on these years through the stories from my friends has been great. Analysing myself is something I thoroughly enjoy and believe helps me grow. I’m glad my friends have felt comfortable speaking with me and reflecting on times gone by. I wonder how many times they tried to help me change and I blew them off. I wonder how many times I disregarded their advice. I like the journey this took me on and only makes me hungry for more.
They say it takes 60 days to form a habit. Do you think I’m ‘cured’ now I’m 60 days sober? As I finish this piece, I’m bloated from having a meal out at the local pub. I had a coke and a parma. There was not one moment I thought I wanted nor needed a beer, the meal was good and the company perfect. I think this is a good start but I’m sure not drinking alcohol will be a very front of mind, conscious effort for some time but the analysis, blog and friends helping along the way will make it seem effortless.