Q I’ve messed up another relationship with my drinking. I like to have a drink, I live in a city so after work I stop by my local bar for a couple of beers, and the weekends normaly go by in a haze of meeting friends and nursing a hangover. Recently I’ve been having a nip of brandy from a hip flask during the day as it’s been very cold here lately. I’ve had everything under control, very rarely waking up not remembering what happened. However, last weekend I woke up in the emergency room, with tubes coming out of me and missing a few teeth. Apparently I had staggered into the path of a car on my way home, I can’t remember any of it.
My boyfriend of a few months, bought me home, filled my fridge with food and supplies and then announced he didn’t want to date a drunk anymore.
I was stunned and shocked. He left my keys on the coffee table as he left. I’ve had a few people message me asking where I was, and I had the sudden realisation that all my friends are drinking friends. I’ve explained I’ve been in an accident and stuck at home, and no one has visited me. I’m on strong pain killers and they say not to drink. I did try to have a beer but was violently ill afterwards. I’ve since gone through all my cupboards and found booze in virtually every cupboard. I lined it all up on my kitchen counter and it looked like a small bar. I have since poured it all down the sink.
I don’t know how things got this way, I didn’t actually like drinking until a few years ago, but I got into the habit of having a drink to unwind after work. Unless I was nursing a hangover the following da,y I didn’t feel as though I’d had a good night out.
I don’t know if I’m an alcoholic as I’ve gone a week without a drink. I’ve felt hot and cold shakes, which I’ve been told is my body repairing itself after the accident, but I have a feeling that is mainly because my body is adjusting to not having booze in its system. Even through my bruises it seemslike my natural colour has come back.
I am going to be off work for another month, fortunately I have insurance for that, so financially I’m okay. But emotionally I’m all over the place. I don’t want to be the person I was. I’m not so bothered about the break up of my relationship, I need to make friends with myself. My bar friends are just that — good time pals. I’m feeling my life has given me a warning and I have to make amends and change paths. My question is what to do next?
– Name supplied, but asked to be with held
A Dear Friend,
You have gone through a huge life event, and taken a big hit both emotionally and physically. You have started a new journey in your life. I am not going to label you as an alcoholic; however, it may be worth investigating AA meetings in your area for support to get you through this time of change, and to help you make any adjustments in your life you need to make. I have included (privately) details for ones in your area. This type of support is established and is proven to work. Also I have supplied a few local therapists that could be beneficial to talk through things on a one to one basis. You can’t / shouldn’t try to make the necessary changes in your life alone. You’re going to need help, and a supportive group of friends to make it work.
Behaviours are adopted and established throughout our lives, some are good and wholesome and some can be self destructive. We can all change, but take each day as it comes. Taking small steps and making achievable short term goals will gradually help you to become the person you want to do.
It’s your life. It can be what you want it to be. But you’ve got to take steps to make it that way.
If you have a relationship or dating question contact us by emailing hello@GayDatingExpert.co.uk
JONATHAN WELFORD heads up GayDatingExpert.com, a relationship and dating coaching practice. He was awarded the accolade of being one of the top 10 Gay Relationship Bloggers for 2013. He writes gay agony uncle columns for numerous publications in both the UK and USA, and is also a regular columnist for DatingAdvice.com. He lives with his Scottish husband in Manchester, UK.