Monday, 28 March 2016

Irony of Addiction

Over the last few days I've become a little obsessed by the irony of addiction.

We're programmed to believe that if we like doing something we should do more of it.

Whenever one of the smalls shows any interest in anything (that doesn't involve an electronic device) I leap upon it.

#2, for example, is big into dinosaurs. So, we've done the Natural History Museum. We've watched ALL the Jurassic Park movies several times. I've bought dinosaur books. We've drawn dinosaur pictures.

We've had endless debates about who would win in a fight? A velociraptor or an angry T-Rex protecting her young? Anyone? Brains versus brawn? Speed versus a mother's instinct to protect her young?

(See how much time and enthusiasm you have for all this stuff when you stop drinking?)

#1 loves cooking. So we've done Bake Off - watching it, and recreating it at home. We're constantly trying out new recipes and debating the pros and cons of different ingredients and various chefs.

You get the picture.

BUT the irony of addictive drugs (and alcohol is very much one of these), is that the more you love doing it, the less you should.

I really, really liked smoking. So I did more and more of it until I got hopelessly addicted and had to give up for good.

Meanwhile, my friends who weren't that bothered, who could take it or leave it, still have the odd fag (English slang alert!) after dinner all these years later.

The same is true of alcohol.

I LOVED drinking. It was my absolutely favourite way to while away the time (once I'd quit smoking). So I did more and more of it until I got hopelessly addicted and had to give up for good.

And it's really easy to think why me? Why must I be punished, while all these other people carry on drinking away with no problem? How is that fair?

BUT, here's the truth: those 'normal drinkers', the ones who can have a teeny glass once in a blue moon and stop, they're the ones who aren't that bothered. They've never been a big fan. They can take it or leave it. They're not properly enjoying it anyway. Not like we did.

(I was like that with dope. As a student I really tried to like smoking spliff. There'd be a short period of time, after a few drags, when everything would be quite funny, and I'd want to start debating existentialist questions, then, fairly quickly, all I'd want to do was... go to sleep. Each to their own.) 

Now, I know what you're thinking. You're thinking that's not true, SM! I have a friend, Joe, who loves booze just as much as I did! He talks about it all the time, and drinks all the time, no problem.

Okay, but I bet if you look closely at Joe, you'll realise that he's following exactly the same path as you. It's affecting his health, his moods, his sleep, his weight. It's beginning to make him miserable. He's started to secretly Google 'Am I an alcoholic?'

Might I be right?

There is a momentary 'sweet spot' with addiction. That period of time when you're really, really enjoying doing whatever it is, but it hasn't yet begun to bite you in the arse. (For me that was my late twenties).

But that time does not last.

We spend years, decades even, trying to recreate that wonderful era when the highs came without the corresponding lows, but once it's gone, it's gone.

So please don't feel hard done by, or believe that everyone else has it better than you.

Because the truth about drugs is that, like gambling, only the dealer wins.

If you love them, you'll eventually get addicted. If you don't love them, then what's the point anyway?

Those people still drinking? They're not the winners.

We are.

Love SM x


  1. You are way ahead in your journey than I am. I hope I get that mentality. I am still very jealous of the people who can only have one or two drinks. I still feel as though they are the "winners" as that is what I wish I could be like....but, sadly, I can't. Maybe as more time of being alcohol free goes on I will change my can hope! (although your analogy of going all out in something good versus bad makes me really think!)

  2. Yes I was like that with smoking as well, loved it but now can't imagine why I did it - gave up over 10 yrs ago. Good post today as was having a bit of a bank holiday yearning (at 78ish days). just popped to sainsbury's for a bottle for the old fella,usually no problem but found myself on the verge of buying 2 so I could join him. BUT got a pack of becks blue instead and am happily drinking that. Yay Me!!

    1. At Day 92 I've had my biggest wobble this weekend and that's all down to the BH too Sharon. So as you say, Yay Us! We made it. Even if personally I ate so much chocolate I LOOK like a choc bunny now xx

    2. Well done you guys! I raise a Becks Blue to you! Happy Easter (now, where's that chocolate bunny?) x

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  4. I'm sorry. Some of your posts have jarred with me, and this one really has. I came upon your blog and have read it on and off not because the topic is alcohol, but because your story was interesting.

    I enjoy wine. I know my wine, and when I drink it I really enjoy it. I will generally have (at the weekends) two (largish) glasses of wine. One with dinner one to sip slowly and savour after dinner.

    Occasionally I will have more but mostly I am happy to stick to the two glasses. Happy to. Not fighting it. Not depriving myself. What is normal is to enjoy two glasses of wine and stop, or not to drink at all, to not even think about it. Normal.

    The way you write is that anyone that drinks is either lying to themselves, fighting addiction, or saddos that enjoy half a pale ale once a year. Indeed most people that drink have a perfectly normal approach (not relationship - note) to alcohol.

    Do not vilify or ignore normality to make yourself feel better because you have failed, or to justify your sobriety. I find your tenuous links to life and drinking getting weaker and weaker. The vast majority of people that drink alcohol simply do not think in the way you write that they do.

    I wish you the best but I needed to point out that for most people it is possible to live a totally full, mindful and present life, whilst enjoying alcohol. They are not ignoring their children, they are not constantly topping up their glasses, and they are not waking up not remembering what they did the night before. They are simply being and living. Fully.

    1. I'm very happy for people who can live life happily and fully while drinking alcohol. But they don't need my blog. I don't think I have 'failed', or that I have to 'justify my sobriety.' Nor do I think that playing with addictive substances should be defined as 'normal' (although I do accept that by a huge proportion of society it is). Perhaps we should agree to disagree?

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    3. Thank you for your blog SM. I love it. I read it everyday and agree with everything you say. I have never been happier since I stopped drinking almost 100 days ago. Stopping drinking (and I would be considered a 'normal' drinker) is the best thing I have done for myself. I have zero desire to drink anymore. The whole concept of 'enjoying' alcohol is kind of lost on me now. Anyway. I look forward to reading to your blogs and all the comments every day. There is the occasional fly in the ointment of course. Xxxx

    4. Dear IaaBF,

      You say you read SM's blog because it's interesting - not because you have a drinking problem (good for you) - but that's not really what the blog's for. It's for us - those with self identified drinking problems. I'd suggest if you don't like the blog - don't read it. Many of her loyal readers love it and it's helped us tremendously.

      They say don't feed the trolls - but I don't think you are intentionally one and wish you well. Oh and as a side note - that bit fat thing (I can relate) - weekend wine (and the munchies you probably have with it) has a lot of calories - just a thought.

    5. Please don't change anything about your blog, or apologise for it, it is helping me a great deal. As eeyore.mod says, the blog is not for 'normal' people who don't have a problem, it's for those others, who crave a drink every day. It's a real help to me to see others sorting themselves out, good luck to you all

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  6. There are people, like me, who cannot do anything in moderation. Moderation as a concept is unachievable for me. I liked smoking so I ended up smoking almost two packs a day. Somehow I managed to quit years and years later. I liked gambling and ended up gambling almost every night at a local bingo salon. Fortunately I had to move to a place where gambling was illegal. I think there are personalitites that are predisposed to addiction. And then there are those who can leave an unfinished glass of wine on a table. Sometimes I feel jealous that they so easily can forgo alcohol so effortlessly. Oh well... They probably have other vices.

  7. "Playing with addictive substances"

    "They probably have other vices"

    This is exactly what I am talking about. Again with the sweeping comments that everyone who enjoys A glass of wine has to be addicted, or playing with addiction.

    Clearly that is not the case. It is like saying just because I play the lottery some weeks I am a gambler. Or someone who takes a pain killer for a headache is playing with drug addiction.

    You are right. This blog holds nothing for me. But I say again, you are justifying your behavior by making out that everyone else is just an addiction disaster waiting to happen.

    That is absolute rubbish. There really are people out there who can play the lottery, have a bet on the grand national, take a pain killer and have a glass of wine without becoming addicted.

    It is not the alcohol that is the problem. It is your addictive personalities. You do know that they say chocolate is also addictive - you seem to have swapped one substance for another. Even your wording sometimes when you talk about being desperate for a becks blue. I bet if you were asked to give it up you would struggle hugely. Yet surely fizzy sugared water is not addictive?

    Stop demonising the vast majority of us that do not have addictive personalities. We really are just normal.

    1. According to the highly acclaimed Nutt report, 22% of people who drink alcohol will develop dependence. That makes it common, not 'abnormal'. If you ever find that you've become rather too dependant on your 2 large glasses of wine at the weekend, then please do get in touch. I will not tell you that you've 'failed', or that you're 'not normal' or make you feel like you have to 'justify your sobriety'. I'll just try to help.

    2. I think you're missing the point of this blog. Yes it's an 'interesting story' but is fundamentally a 'story' about drinking too much, deciding to stop, the struggles and the benefits. There are lots of us out there who found this blog by googling about worrying about drinking too much and wanting to stop. This blog helps. You are lucky that you can enjoy your few glasses of wine. We can't as once we start we don't stop. Am sure you have your vices too (hence your name) but it's not a competition. I also don't understand what behaviour is being justified? Alcohol is addictive and not good for you when you drink too much, fizzy water isn't.

    3. There is a simple solution 'I am a bit fat', stop reading this blog. If it holds nothing for you then step away. Everyone who reads this blog has a choice about whether to carry on reading or not, everyone has a choice to interpret comments through their own filter. I filter SM words through a positive slightly tongue in cheek self effacing manner, you seem to filter them as shaming and attacking but that is YOUR perception of them. Just stop reading and let the people who do want to deal with their issues focus on the task at hand, realising we are NOT normal drinkers and having the odd rib about people are. You are obviously so angry about it because you feel demonised but to point out the obvious alcohol is addictive but some people are more prone to addiction that others. Some people are able to drink like you normal people for years and years and then they are hooked for one reason or another. I hope you never do have to feel like a lot of us do but the real vilification here is coming from you.

    4. The vast majority?? I am a normal person who works in a hospital, most people I know drink too much, or gamble too much, hooked on scratchcards or chocolate, or running, Seems to me the minority that don't overindulge. I'm very happy for you that you Don't have a problem with anything so please get off this blog and leave us who need it to appreciate it.