Sunday, 28 December 2008

A study of the self

This diary can be summed up in one scientific sentence: a record of the process of abandoning alcohol under effect of another mental compulsion.

In an expanded form: my environment and associates lead me to believe my alcohol consumption is problematic both to myself and them, and after moderate measures failed to resolve this problem, my remaining option appears to be a period of abstinence; the hope here being this period of detoxification will free the body of its urges over the mind and the mind from the shackles of habit and routine.

And in the moral form: my girlfriend cannot tolerate my moments of alcoholic excess and attempts to moderate have not been enough to quell her disappointment. Three solutions to this seem evident:
  1. Question her feelings of disappointment and intolerance and highlight her own actions which I find fault with.
  2. Continue the path of moderation and hope for success in time.
  3. Abstain completely with the aim of ending the physical and mental bonds I have formed with alcohol.
And the relative merits of each:
  1. She may develop a greater tolerance to what I see as a relative problem in the big picture. But highlighting her own flaws only sets us down the path of resolving conflicts by beginning a different conflict. Fundamentally, conflict goes against everything in my world view, so I cannot do this.
  2. The moderate path, the one I would normally choose. But it requires time and for us to have an agreed view of what might happen in this time, and the patience to tolerate mistakes, and... a hundred other variables, all of which I have become tired of contemplating.
  3. A drastic step, one which can seem insane to impose on oneself, but one which seems to have the greatest chance of addressing the fundamental matter.
And what is the fundamental matter?

I haven't written about my feelings for alcohol since I was in my teens. As soon as work became involved, there was always the chance a manager would somehow stumble upon it, all would be laid bare and the consequences would be faced. As with many things in life, then, it has been better to keep my mouth shut. I am changing that now because I feel the urge to talk about it openly and with the utter level of honesty needed to really explain to people what a problem of any kind is like. How can someone who hasn't known a problem be expected to understand it from a few half-truths and vague descriptions?

Perhaps the motives for this run more deeply than I originally admit. Perhaps there's a sense of wanting to explain myself, and show that I see reasons for the way I am, for others to empathise with me so I don't have to be seen as a simple failure. I think the latter point is most important of all. For reasons unbeknown to me, it means very much that I'm perceived as someone who understands. When that sense of understanding breaks down then a quest begins to heal it, and this diary is a chronicle of that quest.

I guess I should get the self-pitying stuff out the way now, and not mention it all again. I feel to those of you without this problem, you'll see it as something the majority of the world copes with just fine, so what am I taking so seriously? But yeah, I know, we all have our own vices. This is just mine. I feel stupid for having it, and not having the willpower to just switch off, but that's the way I am. I feel my fears are ridiculous and weak, but I have never killed a single fear in my life, so what am I to do with the conflict there? I fear I will fail, and be at the lowest of the low - then the fear turns to anger and rejection of other people's views - then the anger dissipates into self-loathing and contempt for everything wrong with me.

I can't list everything now. Part of the reason for writing this is that I hope someone facing the same problem in their life might read the odd bit they identify with and not feel so alone. That's a cliché, but it's true. I hope it goes some way towards helping my girlfriend understand my thoughts and actions, as words jumble in my mouth in a way they don't on here and actions are hidden behind my steady face. I hope, perhaps more than anything, that despite all the lows I know this change will throw at me, that it is ultimately a change for the better.

No comments:

Post a Comment