Tuesday, 17 November 2015

Stop Drinking and Grow Up

All you need is faith, trust, and a little bit of pixie dust.
Peter Pan

About once a week the terrier and I go for a romp around Kensington Gardens. We always stop at the little statue of Peter Pan.

The Boy Who Never Grew Up is sounding a horn, surrounded by a host of fairies, rabbits, mice, squirrels and other animals. His metal is tarnished, but some patches glint in the sunshine where the base bronze shines through, rubbed clean by thousands of children's plump fingers as they fondly fondle a fairy, or stroke the head of a snail.

Psychologists say that drinkers stop growing up at the point when the drink starts taking over. That would make me around twenty-eight years old. Which figures. That's about the age I've felt for the last (nearly) twenty years.

As I walked past Peter Pan yesterday, I thought about my children and what the difference is between them and a 'grown up.'

Children, I concluded, are always the centre of their own world. They find it difficult to see things from the perspective of others. They are natural drama queens - they overreact to emotions like excitement, boredom and jealousy.

Children often don't look ahead too far, or see the consequences of their actions; they're all about what they want right now, and damn the consequences. And they rely on someone else to deal with any major problems - like fear, uncertainty or unfairness.

Does that sound familiar? Wasn't that all of us? Trapped by the vino in an increasingly claustrophobic Never Never Land?

When we stop drinking, we kick start the process of growing up, and that comes with major growing pains. We have to learn to deal with our emotions without help, to think of others. To deal with the consequences of our actions, past and present.

I've grown up ten years in the last four weeks. I've had to face my own mortality, and accept it while putting my family first. Sober. And that lesson will stand me in good stead whatever the future holds. I feel, for the first time ever, like a bona fide Grown Up.

But there are magical things about childhood too. That sense of possibility and wonder. The certainty that everything can be solved by love and a kiss. The belief that good things happen to good people.

And those things we have to hang on to. Because, as Tinkerbell reminds us, whenever you stop believing in magic a fairy dies. And you do not want that on your conscience....

Peter says to Wendy "I taught you to fight and fly. What more could there be?" And we, my friends, have learned to fight and to fly.

If you're still struggling, and are looking for some direction then just remember:

Second star to the right, and straight on 'til morning.

Love SM


  1. As always, an Excellent analogy. X

  2. Thank You. This is a great way to start my day.

  3. Beautiful. Remembering to put myself first, for other, not at the expense of others, is a lesson I have learned in sobriety.
    I hope you are healing well.

  4. Beautiful SM. Lovely words, wonderfully written as ever. Xxx

  5. Wow - this is awesome. I love Peter Pan (I've got a framed movie poster in the house I used my daughter as the reason to have it - but it's really for me). This line rang especially true: "Psychologists say that drinkers stop growing up at the point when the drink starts taking over." For you 28 - for me around 35. There's been some growth, but not enough. Thanks again for your thoughtful post and wonderful example.

    Eeyore (yet another name from childhood)

    1. My nickname at school was Pooh, Eeyore! The bear of very little brain ;-)