Just like many others I liked to drink alcohol. It didn’t really matter what type of alcohol as long as it made me happy, have fun and most importantly, forget. I started young in a park with friends or at their houses at 16 and thought it was cool and tasted good. Working my way to adulthood, it became a way to numb the stress of life manufactured by working a disliked job, to paying for bills, electricity, food and water. Around 50 years ago it was simple for humans to live basic and fulfilling lives without these added stresses or technology.
Every Friday and Saturday night I would make the tough decision as to what nightclub, pub, party or festival to attend and with whom. I had my main friends who I could count on to indulge with me on the nights out and the distant ones who would pick up the slack when the others had conflicting priorities. It was a waste of a weekend if there was no partying or drinking involved. No quiet dinners or nights in. That was too boring for me. If there wasn’t copious amounts of alcohol to the point of blacking out, it wasn’t for me.
Recalling these times, each instance leading towards the state of blacking out, my alter ego emerged who was so thoughtfully coined by my friends as ‘Lucio’ (you can guess what it was short for…) and that is exactly how I acted, felt and who I became. Lucio was a nightmare, he thought only of himself, alcohol and having the most wild time. Lucio got me in trouble a few times and couldn’t even recall it until friends showed me photos and videos.
During this saga of binge drinking every weekend, I always had a dreamless sleep waking up in the middle of the day and wondering where it had gone. My bones would hurt, my body would feel drained, the hangover unbearable and each Sunday the same sentence would roll off my tongue ‘I am never drinking again’. Each time I said it I knew it was a lie thinking it would make me feel better.
I went on a holiday around the South Pacific on a cruise ship for 10 nights where they had an all inclusive drinks package which allowed for unlimited alcoholic beverages. During this time, the cocktails kept rolling in starting at 10am when the bar opened, till 3am when the nightclub closed for those 10 days straight. I couldn’t sleep properly due to pains in my liver/kidney, I couldn’t function normally and most nights didn’t know how my friend and I made it back to the room. By the end of the holiday I consumed in excess of 120+ cocktails (averages to about 12 a day). I decided upon my return home I would not touch alcohol again and this time deep down I knew I wouldn’t. It had to do with coming to the realisation for yourself. No matter how many times someone tells a smoker that cigarettes are not good for them, until they realise it for themselves, they will not stop.
There was a lot of pressure from my friends, family and loved ones. They would say ‘just have one drink’ but we all know once you had one you couldn’t stop. A lot more also said ‘how do you have fun’ or ‘aren’t you bored’ and I simply replied ‘I have had my fair share of alcohol for the rest of my life’. Don’t get me wrong, the first few months were hard and I struggled especially when going out and you are the only one sober but you learn to enjoy watching others do exactly what you used to and that is, make fools of themselves and stupid decisions. Eventually this got sad thinking that they didn’t realise what they were missing out on by repeating the same life cycle I already went through but each person learns from mistakes and achievements.
Alcohol is one of the most common toxins humans consume on a regular basis and unfortunately it is too readily available, addictive and socially acceptable to stop. Since stopping alcohol, my health has improved drastically. Sleeping has become regular with dreams and my mental health and memory have gone back to perfection.
I don’t miss alcohol or Lucio and I don’t think I ever will drink it again.