About 3 days, 3 hours and 19 years ago I was outside Waterloo station in London at the end of a 12 hour drinking binge when I ran straight out onto the road and into the path of a woman driving home. She hit me square on my left leg and I was flung about 20 metres forward, landing in the middle of the road, smashing a handful of teeth out and knocking myself unconscious. I was bleeding from nose, ears and, well all over my face.
The driver was hysterical as she thought I was dead.
I know all this because my drinking partner, a Kiwi by the name of Chris, was on the other side of the road and pretty much saw the whole thing happen. The paramedics said the only reason I wasn’t killed was because I was as drunk as I was. I ruined Chris’ New Years. I ruined the driver’s New Years, and I most certainly ruined my mother’s New Year’s Day the next day when she called from Sydney and I told her what happened.
I should have stopped drinking then.
In the years before and since, I’ve been stabbed, shot at, robbed and almost maimed myself in more ways than I care to remember as a result of drinking and needless to say I’ve offended and hurt people close to me by things I’ve said and done (or not said and not done) while drinking.
I’m sad to say I’m stopping. Really. I enjoy drinking and I love getting drunk. Start with a martini or two, a few g&t chasers then on to a steady night of beer. But as people who know me know, drinking for me involves drinking till there’s none left. A dozen pints in Bangkok? no problem — I love to get drunk. Don’t bother making me a single, I’ll start with a triple please. There is quite simply nothing like it.
Many a morning, more and more commonly as the years have rolled on, the morning after the night before has seen me swear I’d not drink again, or at least not till that night. My health has suffered, and my kids have probably never seen me in a restaurant for lunch or dinner without alcohol in front of me.
It’s an easy decision to make when you can barely move for the aches and pain, which is why I decided to stop drinking a couple of weeks ago, when I was utterly sober and sensible.
So this New Year’s Eve, I had my last drinks, at a friend’s birthday party cum New Year’s bash.
I’ve spent the last twenty years of my life hammering my body with drugs and alcohol. Twenty years of drunkedness easy. The next twenty years are, for me, going to be twenty years of sobering up. It’ll take the best part of a decade to soak all the tequila, vodka and gin out of my system and at least another decade for the beer.
The decision to stop drinking is an easy one. The method of stopping is more of a challenge, but I’m just as determined to stop as I was once to get drunk.
Expect a lot more mocktail reviews of Travelfish