I May Have A Drinking Problem – An Almost Alcoholic has been edited by Aashna Kanuga
I’m 22 years old and I’m doing my masters from a premier institute. I’m relatively healthy, chilled out and I do all the things you expect me to do. I study, I play sports, I have amazing friends and I have some hobbies that keep me busy. Nothing too extraordinary. Just your average 22-year-old guy. Except for one aspect of my short life.
I think I might have a drinking problem.
I know people say that a drinking problem it isn’t a real thing, but I beg to differ. I’m aware that I drink too much. How do I know I drink too much, you ask? Because I’m drinking as I type this. One hand on the keyboard, the other on a glass. That’s how most of my nights are. They are spent predominantly with marketing textbooks and case studies, but once the monotony hits, out comes the bottle. That’s the way it has been for as long as I can remember.
My companions every night are my books, ‘Shine On You Crazy Diamond’ by Pink Floyd and my drink.
But before you label me as an alcoholic who is good for nothing, here is another piece of information for you: I don’t necessarily need alcohol to function. I’ve spent an entire semester not drinking, and I was just fine. I have the discipline and self-control to know when to stop. I am responsible. However, if it’s available, I don’t mind a drink. This is where the problem lies – one drink becomes four and suddenly, I’m writing about my drinking problem.
It’s not as cool a thing as people might make it out to be. Alcohol harms your body. I know that it has harmed mine. I was always the fittest, leanest and well-built guy growing up. Now, I’m definitely not as lean. I have the same stamina because I make up for the beer in the gym, but I miss my abs. A beer belly is cool only after you’re a dad of two. I know the demerits of what alcohol does to my body, mind and overall productivity. However, the question still stands:
Why do I drink?
I, like many others, use social anxiety as an excuse for my constant intoxication. It’s easier to interact with the world through a filter, in much the same way it’s easier to post photographs with a filter. Filters, after all, hide the flaws that lie beneath. As an introvert, drinking helps me massively. We have something to talk about. My drink does what my mind can’t. It lowers my inhibitions and makes me somewhat of an extrovert. Something unimaginable while I’m sober.
I suppose my drink of choice is scotch, but I’m non-denominational.
If it has an alcohol content of over zero percent and is at least semi-palatable, I’ll drink it.
I know what good wine tastes like and I know what mediocre wine tastes like. And I like them both the same. Don’t judge a book by its cover? The same logic applies here.
It started early with Old Monk after I used to come from school. I didn’t have enough sense to know what it was. To me, it was just bad tasting coke. I used to put cigarette butts and thrown away bidis in my mouth after I’d seen them on the floor. Not my best moment, but when you start as young as six, you have little sense. Then came the teens, when sneaking beer from the fridge and drinking discretely at parties became the cool game to play.
Little did I know that at 22, I’d be contemplating a potential drinking problem.
Then came high school and that first break-up. By that time, I had drunk enough to know everything there was to know about alcohol. My true friends during that time weren’t friends who lent me a shoulder to cry on. It was the bottle of Antiquity and ‘Here Without You’ by Three Doors Down. When college started, peer pressure was real and spending countless nights drinking was the right thing to do. Now that I look back at it, I had an amazing time. However, I went overboard and neglected three very important things: academics, my health and my loved ones. This is the price I paid when I chose the bottle over textbooks and family.
I know I need to make a change and I know I need to get a grip on it. I know I can’t suddenly just stop. However, I’m going to try and stick to the ‘two-drinks-and-no-more’ policy for a while. I have been drinking so long, I know nothing else. My relationship with alcohol has gone on longer than people’s marriages — and in a way, we are married. We are partners, unwilling to uncouple because we find comfort in our complacency. I want a divorce, badly. But I don’t want to be alone, either.
So I drink.
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