Alcohol

I’ve never been completely comfortable with the idea of drinking. When I first came to university, it was something that I had made an effort to actively avoid, and so the first few weeks were a bit of a shock. I remember standing in the queue for the main event at freshers week. Someone threw a drink over me. I was terrified. I didn’t really get drunk all week, even though I did have a bit of alcohol. I watched those around me loose control and it scared me. As the semester went on, I got more and more comfortable with the idea of being tipsy, and whilst I was still ready to come home by 1.30am, I began to enjoy going out.

Over the summer, I didn’t drink. There was the odd glass of wine with a meal, but nothing more. I was happy with that, I can’t see a point in drinking really unless you’re going to get drunk and go out. I came back here last week feeling very much like I was out of practice. More confident with alcohol still, but lacking understanding again of what my levels are, and when I should stop and how much to drink.

I came back to a night out with pre drinks at ours. I was ready to go out that night, but we crashed on the sofa. Nobody else wanted to go, and I was gutted as I’d been very excited and was perfectly tipsy. The Friday, I skipped. I had a Skype meeting that night anyway. Saturday was my first experience of a house party. I feel like they’re half of the problem. There’s people everywhere, there’s no fun social drinking games to keep me distracted, and I have to make a super effort to talk to people, which is something I struggle with anyway, never mind when I’ve just started drinking alcohol and so am feeling uncomfortable. I let a friend pour my drinks, and I was brought home at 11pm unable to remember most of the evening. Last night was another house party. I poured my own drinks, it was going okay, and at about 10.30pm I was an excellent level of drunk. The problem: we didn’t go out until midnight and the last two drinks tipped me over the edge. I didn’t fancy a thirty minute walk to the club and I came home in tears, in the dark and on my own. I hate the dark. I tried to call my friend to leave her a message like I always do in the dark, but her answer machine had changed and I panicked that I’d gotten a wrong number. Maybe I just need to choose a drink that’s not vodka, something that has a little more of a gradient between ‘I’m enjoying this’ and ‘I hate this’. But what? I’ve no idea. Peach Schnapps? Sure, but with what? I’m a novice at this, and nobody out there seems to get that, so I just copy the crowd and get the vodka back out.

I’m not sure how to approach the issues. Alcohol is the social life here at university. Yes, there’s societies where alcohol is less of a focus, and chilled out coffee’s between lectures with course friends, but if I want to stay in touch with those who I lived with last year, I simply feel like I have to drink. I’m not enjoying it, I’m struggling with what’s the right level, and when we have been out so far, I’ve not felt safe.

And perhaps that’s what it all boils down to, safety. I need to be safe, and I need to know that those around me are safe. That nobody will do anything stupid and that we’ll all get home. I don’t enjoy the rash decisions that people make when they’re drunk, because I like to think thing through and consider the outcome. It’s difficult, I know. I’m someone who often doesn’t feel safe, but there’s not many people, and certainly none at university, who know that.

I’ve woken up this morning with an overwhelming desire that I just want to go home. Whilst I’m not going to, and I know that’s probably just as much about the amount of work I need to do today as it is the alcohol, I wish there was someone I could talk to. I need a friend to hold my hand and let me go through everything I feel about alcohol. Because I can’t go on like this forever, university is meant to be for fun, not for unhappiness.

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When Thank You Isn’t Enough

It can be tricky to say thank you, sometimes. It can be hard to find the words to express what we really mean, because so often, when we say thank you, what we mean is so much more than that. Someone holds the door open for you, you say thank you. Someone’s says ‘bless you’, and you say thank you. Someone tells you that you look pretty today, you say thank you.

People always say that actions can mean much more than words. But in this case, that’s still not right, is it? Because holding the door open for someone is an action, but yet they still get the same response as those who spoke. That’s because it’s not about the actions just being actions, it’s about the meaning behind those actions. Someone holds the door open because they’ve been told it is the polite thing to do. When someone helps you confront your biggest fears, the sentiment is very different. For me, that’s a little tricky to cope with, because I want to say thank you. But thank you isn’t enough. But I struggle with words, and don’t know what to do, so I say thank you again and again. Now thank you means nothing anymore. It’s in the rut, with sorry.

But this time, thank you wasn’t enough. And I tried saying it again and again. But repeating the words didn’t make them mean any more. But maybe I can explain myself now. I hope so, because I need to say a proper thank you. And I need to explain why that thank you means more than any that I’ve said before. Because she deserves that much; what she did for me was really special.

A few weeks ago, my best friend allowed me to confront my biggest fear. For anyone who’s been around here for a while. They’ll know that I’m largely terrified of alcohol. Whilst I’ve come to university and learned slowly to cope and ignore, the idea of getting drunk was, and still is, very much a no go zone. But this friend promised me a long time ago that we’d do it together. And my lord, we did. Big time.

She’s always helped me with alcohol related fears. From just after we first met when she saw my terrified face at the concept of being asked if I’d like a drink by her mother, to an hour or so later on that same night, when in a room on our own, she made me take just a sip of that drink. A few years later, we ordered wine in a restaurant in London. Both under age (although me only admittedly by a couple of days), they handed us the wine menu, so I let her order, and I drank my first glass of wine. A few days later, I let her mix cocktails on my eighteenth, and feed them to me on the presumption that she’d look after me. My parents told her to watch over me. It was fine, I didn’t get drunk. I was too ruled by fear. Ironically, a few months later at her eighteenth, her parents said the same to me. Little did they know that the situation would be completely reversed. That night, her eighteenth, was the first time we got tipsy together, or as I kept saying ‘I’m just a little bit drunk’. My first ever jager bomb was bought by my favourite teacher, and we well and truly danced the night away. We crept into her house much later than we were supposed to and ate birthday cake before heading to bed, and waking up very early, and rather hung over the next morning to revise. There’s been ups and downs since then, which we won’t mention. But a few weeks ago, she came to visit me. She stuck to that promise that we made that when the visit happened, we’d get drunk together, and she’d keep me safe.

It’s fair to say that I was absolutely bricking it. Well, truly, and completely shitting myself. Somehow, she forced me to hold it together, and we made it down to prees and pizza. The rest, as they say, is history. Mainly because I can’t remember that much of it. From what I’m told, I danced like a complete idiot, was VERY stubborn that I would NOT get onto the strip pole, we stayed later than my course friends, asked for our favourite friendship song to be played – twice, and I spurted a lot of microbiology (I’d had the exam that day). Microbiology wasn’t all I spurted, either. I was six approximately six times over the course of three hours, and she made me change into a new set of pyjamas. We didn’t get to bed until half five, and I woke up at 8.30am shitting myself because I couldn’t remember what I’d done. Subsequently, I woke her up to ask, too. I was so so scared, it’s too difficult to explain.

But now, I can laugh about it. Whilst I’m in no hurry to tell my parents, it’s the kind of thing that happens to teenagers all the time, and I’be been told that it happens to everyone at least once. I’m just glad it happened when my best friend was there to carry me home, remove my necklace, put me into bed, and tie my hair back. And it sure as hell won’t be happening again. It’s the kind of thing that will be completely forgotten about until I ask her to make a speech on my wedding day. Which I will be asking her to do. My lord, she’s got better stories than anyone else!

And whilst I have begun to confront my fears, it’s plain to see that thank you is just not enough. She may be training to be a doctor, but this girl hates sick. Yet she propped me up at the toilet, and she made sure that I was okay. I know for a fact that I cannot think of one other person who would do that for me.

But she knew I was afraid, and she knew that I feared that I would get hurt, or do something that I would regret. But she made it safe. She made it okay, and she allowed me to do something that a year ago, I didn’t think that I’d ever be able to do. I’m so grateful for that, you cannot even imagine. She’s the only person that could make me safe enough to not worry about what I was drinking. Nobody else will ever manage that, I’m certain. I always struggle with words, and to say exactly how much it means to me. But it does mean the world. If she didn’t truly love me, she wouldn’t do that for me. They say that our friends are the family we choose, but it’s not just that. I don’t think we chose this friendship, because when we met, we seemed the most unlikely pair. We were thrown together on a school trip that left our worlds colliding, and we’ve simply never looked back. I’m proud to say that she’s the sister that I never had, and I’m finally confident that she will support me and care for me until the end of the world, no matter what choices I make or fears that I have.

And I’d do the same for her. Always and forever.

So thank you. And I really mean that, more than ever, and more than anything else in the world.

Coping with Alcohol

It’s 3am and I’m very much mid panic attack. Tonight has been a whirlwind of emotion and I’m not sure how to take it. There wasn’t plans and boundaries, there was change and the unknown. It doesn’t matter how much I’ve had to drink, that’s scary even when I’m sober. Combined with alcohol, it can seem almost impossible.

And now it’s 10pm the following day, and I’m laughing at myself. Because last night, I was okay. In fact, last night, I enjoyed the majority of it. 98% of last night was absolutely awesome. Except a near panic attack as I passed from sober to tipsy, an ‘I can’t breathe’ situation in the club with no inhaler, and a panicy 3am comedown.

But I did okay. Alcohol has always been tricky for me, and with people I don’t know that well, it’s even harder. But one day, I’ll enjoy the whole night. I’ll know my limits and boundaries and I’ll cope without reassurance. It may take a long time, but I’ll get there, because I deserve to be able to let go and have fun, just like everyone else. Right?

It’s not long now until my birthday, and if I know and plan beforehand, I can drink as much as I want. It’s about control and understanding of limits. I don’t really have those yet, except I did the sick thing last week with my best friend and swore never again. I know I don’t panic now when the alcohol comes out, but I do still panic when I feel it affecting me, and when I stop the adrenaline fuelled dancing. I need to address that and cope with that, and right now, my way to cope is to know EXACTLY what I’ve had, EXACTLY what I’m planning to have, and EXACTLY where we’re going.

The problems started last night when the plans changed from quiet drinks in the spoons to ‘let’s go to a nightclub’. I hadn’t had enough to dance, but I didn’t want to miss out, so I sped up, and I certainly didn’t pour all my own drinks. For me, that’s crossing a boundary of not okay, and that made me panic.

I also struggle to see my friends drunk. If they’re drunk, they won’t be able to help me, and they won’t be able to help themselves. That’s why I hate alcohol, because that’s when people get hurt.

But I’m learning and I’m growing and one day it will all be okay. I just need supporting in my venture. I don’t know just yet what the stages are, but by my hen do (which I hope is AT LEAST ten years off, yet) I know that I want to be able to drink what I want, with who I want, plans to change no questions asked, as much as I want, and not have to question those around me, or even myself, because I want to be able to trust myself to be safe, and not need to rely on anyone else. That’s going to take a long time, because I’m so far from that right now, but talking and planning will get me there. I made a resolution to be positive, and I want that to stretch to every single aspect of my life.

Alcohol makes me miss you though, and it’s definitely harder when I miss you. Everything is harder.

Happy New Year

Last night was weird. Really really weird, it’s bizarre. This is probably going to make no coherent sense to you, but hey, I tried!

The ridiculous Megan Trainor song, ‘all about that bass’ came on, and I refused to dance. I HATE that song. Just no, she’s an idiot, and I’ve told you why before. That made one of my friends quite angry. It’s a good job I’d only had as much alcohol as I had had, or because I was soooo close to shouting ‘You only like it cause you’re fat!’ I stopped myself, but if I’d had any more, I wouldn’t have been able to.

I had 3 small glasses of wine, 2 fruit ciders, a jäger bomb, a sours shot, and a vodka shot. I knew that I was safe, because I trust my friends from home, and I’m getting better at tolerating my alcohol. For me, that’s quite enough thank you very much, because the only person I really really trust is my best friend. But either way, it was fun. I loved it, I danced, and I was at that level where you’re happy to jump around without embarrassing yourself.

I had an asthma attack from second hand cigarette smoke, and no inhaler, but we won’t mention that as I was fine!

I also saw a girl who’s a year younger than me, and not yet eighteen, in the club. Her parents know mine, and she used to live down the road from me. We never really got on, she’s a ‘cool kid’ and a bit of a chav, hangs out with the wrong crowd. I could feel her eyes on me, silently judging me for being out and having fun, so I just judged her back, jumped up and down, and smiled twice as much. It was an amazing feeling, nobody was going to stop ME from enjoying myself last night!

When the countdown to midnight ended, I linked arms with my friends in a little ring, and we happily sang along to old lang syne, and laughed and smiled. For a second, I was really happy. I thought I was excited for a new year, and for the pain to go away. It took a good few minutes for my brain to kick in and recognise that 2014 was gone, and it had been really really painful, and that there was a chance the new year wouldn’t be much better. Tears welled in my eyes, but I didn’t let them flow. It may have been safe to drink, but with those friends, it’s not safe to cry.

I had a good night, one of the best I’ve had in a long time. Drinking is fun, if only you let yourself have fun. The new year is here, and I’m not going to wish for a better year, because that’s not something that I can change. Instead, I want only friendship, support, and to know that someone is always by my side to pull my through the fog. In return, I’ll do the same for them.

8am Reflection and Advice

I’m feeling well and truly awful (from the alcohol) this morning, I’m pretty sure my best friend did an all nighter last night, the day before her first uni exam (and so I’m worrying my socks off), and more than anything in the world I want a hug. From anyone. (As per)

But you know, I’m feeling surprisingly happy and confident today. It’s amazing. For no reason at all, it’s as though a big black cloud has been lifted off my shoulders, and that I’m ready to face the day and make it fantastic.

I mean, I don’t fancy getting out of bed, but that’s only because of the effects of the alcohol. I enjoyed myself last night, it was rather a laugh, and I overcame a few hurdles. To anyone else they are actions that they’d think nothing of, but for me, walking up to the bar and ordering a bottle of wine with nobody to back me up was huge, and I’m happy!

I’m feeling rather fuzzy and it’s a beautiful feeling. Friday isn’t far away now, and soon it’ll be Christmas time for us all. So take away that frown, and stick a smile on your face.

If you have exams before Christmas, I say good luck to you. They’ll be okay, and at least you have Christmas off to enjoy yourself! Work hard, breathe, and smile. It’s nearly all over, and you can go home very soon.

Merry Christmas 🙂

Logic, Spirals and a Christmas Party

Sometimes, even I question my brain’s logic. I mean, that shouldn’t be even possible! How can my own brain question a thought that it came up with?! But it does. And that’s the point when you realise that your thought process is messed up.

Tonight, I’m going to a Christmas party. Of course, party means alcohol, and it also means people that I’ve never drunk with before. I haven’t been out in weeks, and so in excited to go, but at the same time, I’m worried because I don’t get drunk. But I want to get drunk. But I don’t really because I’m afraid. So there, that’s dilemma one.

We’ve not decided if we’re going to a club after the meal and disco, which means I can’t decide how much I’m going to drink, which scares me because I don’t feel in control. Dilemma two.

Of course, that therefore means that I’m confused and worried about how I’m going to handle it and what I’m going to do. Dilemma three.

Leavers is on my mind, because this event is going to run in a VERY similar fashion to the way that event should have run. Just thinking about leavers makes me upset. Dilemma four.

The crazy thing is, I know that deep down, because I’m worried, I’m more likely to get myself into a mess and call my best friend. If I went into tonight with a positive attitude and excitement, I’d probably enjoy myself and get through the night no problem. That’s dilemma five then. And I can solve that by being excited, but I can’t be excited because of the first four issues. See, it’s spirals again. A lot of things are spiralling by now, and I know that they’re very very dangerous.

It should be easy though, because I know that this time, I have no choice. Even if I end up crying on the floor in an alleyway at 4am, with all my friends having abandoned me, I can’t call her. She has her first exam tomorrow morning, and I’m not going to be the friend that does that to her.

Alcohol shouldn’t be this scary, but it really really is. I’m sure one day, it’ll be okay, but without my safety net, I’m really tempted to just call ill tonight, and waste the £25 I’ve already paid.

Wandering Wonderer

I wonder how life would have been different if my best friend had eaten her meal at leavers?
I wonder how it would be if I’d just let her not eat anything, without comment?
I wonder what would have happened if she didn’t suggest that we went for a walk and a talk in the rain?
I wonder if things would be different if my favourite teacher hadn’t caught me on the way back in, angry and crying?
I wonder what would have happened if he hadn’t bothered to stop me, to calm me down, give me his jacket, and fetch me water?
I wonder if the outcome would be different if my biology teacher didn’t catch my eye on the way back in, forcing me to sit with her and asking if I was okay?
I wonder what I’d have said to that teacher if my other best friend hadn’t been sat with me, feeding me alcohol?
I wonder what would have happened if after my friend left, my chemistry teacher, sat on the other side of the table hadn’t tried to call me over?
I wonder if things would be different if I hadn’t had a silent conversation with her, trying to tell her that I couldn’t sit with my best friend in that close proximity after all that had happened?
I wonder about if when she did eventually persuade me to move, would the outcome have been different if she hadn’t clarified for certain my silent meaning, and beckoned my best friend over?
I wonder if things would be different if when I realised and tried to stand up, that teacher hadn’t grabbed my hand and pulled me back into my chair?
I wonder what things would be like if when she sat us face to face we’d have actually looked each other in the eye, instead of at our laps?
I wonder what would have happened if she hadn’t tried to obliviously rectify the mess with the words ‘You too are so close, you’re such good friends, you can’t fall out. You two need each other, and it’s leavers. What’s happened?’?
I wonder about the outcome if she’d had left it at that, and not marched us outside to ‘sort it out’?
I wonder what would have happened if when we got out there, my best friend hadn’t turned her back to me? What if I didn’t put my arms around her? What if when the chemistry teacher asked ‘So what’s going on then?’ I hadn’t answered with ‘I don’t know, because if I knew I’d have done something about it before now.’?
I wonder what would have happened if we didn’t cry?
I wonder what would have happened if my best friend hadn’t given me whispered permission to tell? What if I hadn’t told? If we’d lied, smiled, and skipped back inside?
I wonder if I would have spoken if my best friend hadn’t been clutching my hand?
I wonder what would have happened if I hadn’t told her the second bit, too?
I wonder if it would be different if she hadn’t told the biology teacher, who by this point was standing nearby?
I wonder if it would have changed things if I’d been allowed to sit with my best friend on the bus, instead of at opposite ends with my biology teacher by my side, and the chemistry teacher by hers?
I wonder how that teacher would have reacted if I’d just ignored her presence instead of reluctantly leaning on her and being dragged into deep, deep conversation?
I wonder if it would have changed things if when we got off, I’d have skipped straight off to the pub with my friends like nothing had happened?
I wonder what it would have done if I hadn’t stayed until I knew she was safe?
I wonder what would have happened if I’d stuck to the intentions as I watched my best friend climb into my teachers car, and gotten drunk as I swore I would?
I wonder if the next day my best friend and I hadn’t sat on the bus to dofe and talked, things would be different?
I wonder if it would have changed things if when we got there she’d have just chosen her dinner instead of flitting around the menu for a good hour saying that she wouldn’t eat any of it?
I wonder if I’d have been as calm that evening if the biology teacher hadn’t cornered me in my bunkhouse room and checked how things were, giving me yet another pep talk?
I wonder what would have happened if they didn’t check my best friend’s food supply and make her buy more?
I wonder if things would have been different if she’d eaten all her food on dofe?
I wonder what the school would have done if she didn’t get blisters, and have to miss tour? I wonder if they’d have told her mum anyway?
I wonder if things would have changed if her mum had listened, and acted a little more appropriately?
I wonder what would have been the outcome if she did just go to uni and not eat?
I wonder if she does eat as she says she does?
I wonder if she’s going to get hospitalised?
I wonder why they didn’t just listen?

A lot of decisions were made by many on that night and the days that followed. Recently, the memories have haunted my dreams, and I can’t help but imagine how one little decision may have changed things for the better or worse.

But we’ll never know, and so we must make do with what we have, and the situation we’re in.

Everything will be okay in the end, somehow.

Please say it’s not too late.

I knew there was something wrong last night. I knew it wasn’t quite normal. I don’t know how I knew, but something in my head told me it wasn’t right, and so I couldn’t sleep. The silence was abnormal, especially when she’d said earlier on that she wanted to see something. I couldn’t understand, but I pacified myself, and I slept.

I don’t know what I dreamt about in my sleep last night, but I know that it wasn’t pleasant. I woke up this morning, my ponytail hanging out, my neck blotchy, my covers tangled and my pyjamas in a mess. Normally, I’m a delicate sleeper, who doesn’t move. My dad has described me as sleeping beauty. I was definitely dreaming last night.

I promised myself last night that I wouldn’t be the first to talk today. I swore that I wouldn’t send the first message, or the first snapchat. I knew she’d been out last night, but when I woke up today and saw that there was no reply to last nights messages, and no drunk snapchat story, I was sure it wasn’t right. Thinking that perhaps she’d just lost her phone, I sent her a facebook message. A few other signs led me to complete uncontrollable panic before she replied. She’s alive, at least. No, actually, I’ve got that wrong. Perhaps it would be more appropriate to say that she’s simply living.

It’s rather odd that I sensed there was something wrong, when she’s so far away. But perhaps I already knew, really. A few days ago, she told me that she might have to start opening her ‘open when’ letters soon. I questioned it then, asked her if she was coping, but she denied all cases of struggle. Of course she did, she always lies to me.

I’m heartbroken. I’ve told her that later, she is going to Skype me, and she has to eat before then. I thought I was a friend, I thought that I was somebody that she could trust, and talk to. I can’t give her s choice this time, I’m just going to have to show her ghat distance doesn’t change anything. Everything had been going so perfectly, and now she’s crashed so suddenly. It was always too good to be true. I’m so worried about her, because there’s nobody up there who knows, and who can care for her. Oh wait, there’s nobody at all who actually really believes it. It’s just me and her against the world.

I can’t fix everything, but I need her to talk to me. Now, the questions are spinning around my head, and I’m glad I don’t have any lectures today. There’s no way I could concentrate. How long have you not been eating properly for? What’s happened? Have you done anything stupid? Why didn’t you talk to me?

I’m here for you. I love you. It’s a shame that you can’t trust me to be by your side as much as I trust you, because right now, you’re falling from the sky, and I’m beginning to worry that it might be just a little too late for me to give you a parachute.

Just thinking is killing me. But this isn’t about me. This is because I care about you. Deny it all you like, but it won’t change anything. I care, and I want you to talk to me. I don’t want you to be alone.

I don’t want you to die.

Listen

When the music comes on in the club, I like to drink a little to dance. The pre drinks, I find difficult, but in the club, drinking suddenly feels normal.

What I listen for, however, is one song. There’s one song that I sing as loud as I can until my throat is battered. I’m sure you know it: Rather Be by Clean Bandit. I sing so loud, so so loud. But I don’t sing for those who I am with. I sing for the one who I wish to be with.

Not long to wait now, and we’re going to conquer a fear of mine. I’m strangely excited.

Living. Laughing. Loving.

alex122rw

Trusting You To Carry Me Home

Before I came to University, my flute teacher told me a story about how her now best friend was the first person she met at induction at university. They had to sit in a circle in alphabetical order, these two sat next to each other, they smiled, and now they’re best friends. I always thought it was crazy that things could happen like that, but the more I think about it, the more I reallise that actually, it could be possible.

I arrived at university just over a week ago, and my biggest worry at that point was making friends. After seven days of induction and seven nights of partying, suddenly, it doesn’t seem half as scary. Everyone you meet smiles, shakes your hand, and introduces themselves. It’s just so easy, you don’t have to ‘try’ and make friends, it just happens!

Another of my worries was alcohol, and tonight, when a girl who I’ve barely known for a week promised to get my drunk, it’s safe to say that I was shitting myself.

What my new flat mate did however, was the exact opposite of make me drunk, and for that I am so grateful. She let me watch her make up the drinks and okay their alcohol content, she didn’t pressure me into drinking lots at prees, and gave me shots in the tiny lid of the limoncello. When we headed out, she checked I was okay, and held my hand to guide a very dizzy me through the crowds. I entered the party on strict instruction to make sure I danced lots, and we had a fabulous time. Every time I looked like I was flagging, she checked I was okay, grabbed my hand, and we carried on dancing. Later, curled up in bed, I text her to say thank you, even if I didn’t quite get drunk, I’d had fun. She said that it’s about finding your limits, and soon, I’ll trust my flat mates enough to know that they’ll carry me home.

On the way back to the flat, she told me that I was very similar to her best friend at home in all manner of ways, and that she found it really cute. Slowly, I’m beginning to think she’s very much like mine, too.

This girl doesn’t know my story, and why I don’t like to drink, but it didn’t matter. She could see it was going to be difficult for me, and approached it in exactly the right way.

Maybe one day, we’ll be close friends. I sure as hell hope so.

Living. Laughing. Loving.

alex122rw