Once I Start Drinking I Can’t Stop – Finding My Personal Truth
The title of this blog ‘ once I start drinking, I can’t stop’ is something that is relatable to many – after all, this was my biggest (and maybe yours too) problem with drinking in general.
As a youth, I used to go the pub with my friends and most of them could have one, two or 8 or more drinks…but they knew their limits when it came to drinking. Of course, there was always the one or two who ended up hugging the toilet and bringing up the night’s contents of alcohol, but in general most people seemed to know when to stop drinking alcohol.
I guess that is where ‘the alcohol off switch‘ played on my mind for many years before it was created. I looked around at ‘normal’ society and strongy believed, and still do, that there was something that triggered or switched on drinking, and there is something out there that can trigger others to stop.
How I found my own off switch, and hit my ‘life ON switch’
Even from my very first time drinking alcohol, I wanted more, and more. I did not have an ‘off switch’ when it came to drinking. Once I started drinking, O could not stop. From having the first sip of beer – that was me for the day/night or however long it was before I collapsed in a heap, wherever I ended up.
Why when I start drinking, Why can’t I stop??
This state carried on with me from my very early teens until the day I decided to stop alcohol in my 40s.
I often wondered why this was. Why could most people I know, go out maybe for a meal, have a couple of beers then stop? Why did they not want more of that effect that you get when you drink alcohol? To me it was quite alien to even consider why you would WANT to stop once you had one.
Alcohol in general is not a nice taste. I remember being told as a child that it is an ‘acquired taste’ – something that you have to get used to to enjoy. And I agree, I still do. To me, beer is not a nice taste. Ribena is a nice taste. Chocolate is a nice taste. Alcohol is there to serve a purpose, to drink and get wasted on. This had always been my mindset, so why would I want to drink one or two beers then stop?? Have something that didn’t taste nice, and NOT have the drunken effect?
I have heard people say that it is nice to have a cool beer in the summer, or have one to help them relax after a day at work…but still, my opinion was that alcohol is there to get you drunk and nothing more.
For over 20 years this was my view. So, once I decided that I wanted to rid myself of alcohol, I decided to do some self-assessing of WHY I felt like this and others did not. Why that once I started drinking, I could not stop, yet others could.
When a habit or a lifestyle is ingrained in your very person, then to unlearn something is a big thing to do. Big? Enormous! To change your own behaviour, it would take some serious reflection into yourself and I knew that it would not be a ‘comfortable’ journey. But I also knew that it was a journey that was necessary to break this attitude or reason of ‘once I start drinking I can’t stop’.
I started reading quit lit books, self-help books, and they all seemed to focus around the same aspects. Look back from the first time or times that you sampled alcohol, and what was different from your first experiences than others.
Drinking in the early days, then it rolled on
OK my first time was totally out of experiement around the age of 13. But my true first time that I used alcohol as a drug (and that was what it is), was when I received my first serious life blow – I lost my home and my job in the space of 3 months. At the time I did not consider it, but I was starting to drink to avoid the reality of what was going on…and to a degree, it worked! Life just rolled on and things turned out…..’ok’…well I was alive anyway.
Roll on 2 years later and I realised that alcohol was a drug that served a purpose. Another blow to my life around the age of 20, a death of someone very close to me. So, what was the obvious answer? Get on it, drink for a while. This time it was not an active choice, just something that happened. My alcohol intake increased, but I kept with the same attitude – I was drinking for a reason, and it wasn’t the flavour! Once I started drinking, I could not stop. I could not draw a line under a night and say ‘yes that is my lot now, time for bed’. It just was not on my radar.
This took me two decades to realise that I use alcohol in this manner. Of course, I was aware that I usually drank more and for longer than most. At times of course I could not keep up the pace of drinking with others around me and there are always people around who say they can drink more than you – and they are right! Often I would find myself being sick before the challenger even started to look like the drink was affecting them. But even after being sick, I continued to drink. If not wherever I was, on the way home I would purchase more beer or have some at home at the ready. Once I started drinking, I simply could not stop. I had no immediate ‘off switch’
How I found my own ‘Alcohol Off Switch’
My off switch came from digging deep into myself and looking at why I drink, where it all started and for what reason.
It was when I did that, that it really hit home for me. It was at that time that it hit me like a brick – THAT is why when I start drinking I can’t stop.
It was going through this process that I found my own alcohol off switch. Finding something that resonated with me, that shocked me, that made me realise what I had been doing to myself for my whole life.
The various physical and mental diagnosis that I had been given did really not make much of a difference, truth be told. The pains in the sides, the confusing reasons for my own actions, the things that I f**ked up in life, careers, relationships….none of that made any long term differences.
It was only when I actively sat down and looked at the real reasons, where it all started and WHY it all started. That was when I found my own alcohol off switch.