I can’t drink anymore.
Not in the physical sense, where swallowing has had to have been replaced by a tube.
No. My inability to drink stems largely from the fact that I seem to spend most of the day after a good night out, rushing in to bathrooms or bemoaning yet another – thumping headache.
I first noticed that I’d lost the fine art of drinking shortly after Lauren was born. For some reason or other, I didn’t go through with the tradition of wetting the baby’s head; leaving it for a month or so before I ventured out to satisfy my thirst for a night on the beer. It’d been a couple of months since I had last been out, as I vowed to stay sober for the fortnight before Lauren was born – she was then best part of two weeks late. Sobriety had become common place by that point.
I remember getting home shortly after 9pm from that first night out. I was barely able to put the key in the door after what I’d previously viewed as a quick drink after work. Something had definitely changed.
Lauren is now two. Finishing drinking at 9pm is becoming far more common place than it ever was before she was born. Swaying on my feet, struggling to get the key in the door is now par for the course. Friends, even Amy, suggesting that I look a bit tipsier for that time of night is now a standard part of our conversation when I’m out. Amy will notice it more as it is rare for the both of us to over indulge on the same night – one of us needs to look after Lauren the following day; I’m rarely in a fit enough state to look after myself.
So is it all down to Lauren?
I doubt it. There are clearly other factors at play here:
Twitter – seems strange to blame social media for my drinking woes, but since joining, my eyes and taste buds have been opened to the delights of beers with a, what I would have previously assumed, unnecessarily high alcohol content. The average beer I drink now comes in at well above 5% – with some sat in the fridge ranging from 9-10%. I doubt I ever treat these with the deference they deserve, whacking them back like they are hoppy squash – always a quarter of a pint ahead of my drinking companions. I drink too fast, always have done – and now with stronger beers to contend with, It’s understandable why my glassy eyes are appearing earlier in the evening.
My arthritis doesn’t help either. Toxins racing around the body that counter the meds I am on, that knock out the one particular medication designed to settle my stomach due to the harmful chemicals in the other – leaving me gassy, nauseous – in need of something to line my stomach long after the damage has already been done.
Or there is the genuine lack of drinking these days (compared to my youth), that when I do go out – I am like a kid in a sweetshop; desperate to devour every last sweet, even though I know it will make me sick in the morning – for sweets, read 6.5% hoppy beer. Though on Saturday passed, it was more the gassy lager and straight Jack Daniels – which I thought would be a good idea on the back of a bottle or more of red wine. I was chasing that one last drink – always chasing that one last drink.
As I get older I seem to be able to take less, feel worse, and spend too much time struggling with keys. Clearly a change of approach is needed. The days of going on 48 hour benders and righting myself with another session when I awake are long behind me. I don’t feel half as bad after a decent bottle of red wine, but then maybe that’s because that is consumed in the house – with company, in a relaxed setting. Beer, well that’s drunk in a pub – as part of a walk around town, when the chat is flowing and the desire to try a greater range of new beers takes hold. I had better try them now or risk missing out on them in the future. That’s not to say wine is better than beer – more that in house drinking removes the possibility of drinking more than you have in the house.
So really the fault lies with the landlords of West Yorkshire. I wouldn’t get in to such a mess, wouldn’t feel like I do for 24 hours on a Sunday – if they just all went back to serving the same rubbish lines, the same easy going ABVs – the same beer I could drink all through the night and well in to next day, without any fear I might not make it to the bathroom in time.
Ah, who am I kidding? If I start to blame the landlords than I might as well blame the brewers, the distributors – basically everyone else other than myself. The person that ultimately puts the beer in to my stomach until it can’t take anymore – who then moves on to sweet Italian liqueurs because there is no longer room for the beer – who may stupidly open a bottle of wine just to satisfy that need for one last drink – when there really is no need.
It’s selfish of me to drink myself in to such a state and expect Amy to look after Lauren or for me to waste another weekend where I enjoy myself on one day, and ask the family to gather round the bed and read me my last rites the next. Now is the time when I should be enjoying the weekends I get with my family, not communicating through a half opened toilet door.
Drink in moderation the posters and adverts tell us.
Maybe just drinking to enjoy rather than excess is what I really need to do.