Binge Drinking: It’s My Problem

Recently, I was lucky enough to go and see Hall and Oates in concert at a winery. It was a gorgeous sunny day, I met some fantastic people and I had a great time with my parents, Mr. Cesy, and a good friend. We also enjoyed the product of the winery. Over the period of the evening, we drank a large amount of wine, and I drank more than my fair share.

By the end of the evening, how much I had drunk became apparent. I was having conversations with random strangers, telling them how much I loved their workplaces. When it came time to leave, I had no idea what was going on. We went to get on the bus, but I realised I needed to pee so I just did, then and there in front of hundreds of people. On the bus, I continued loud conversations with strangers; that is until I copiously threw up all over myself. The walk home from the bus stop is a blur, all I can remember is putting one foot in front of another, somehow not being hit by cars as I crossed the road and making it home on auto pilot. I was put to bed, where I managed to again throw up copiously all over myself, my bed and my floor. I then blacked out.

In the morning, I woke up to a dry mouth, the stench of vomit and the conclusion that I had a problem with binge drinking.

You see, this is not the first time this has happened. As a 17-year-old, I spent my first party throwing up in my friend’s garden after quaffing a large amount of stolen Coruba. If you didn’t drink to excess every weekend, you just weren’t cool. I left home to go to a university notorious for its drinking culture. I spent every Friday and Saturday from the ages 18 to 22 drinking cheap alco-pops and dancing at dingy bars in a drunken haze, the days after in a darkened room moaning through my hangovers. There is a two week period of February 2009 where I can’t tell you what happened, except I know it involved a vast amount of Smirnoff and many Domino’s pizzas. Several months ago, I came home from another winery concert covered in grass and vomit, holding a wine bottle behind my back trying to hide it from Mr. Cesy. In short, binge drinking has been a large part of my life for a while now, and it is only now can I really see how not on it is.

Mr. Cesy didn’t sleep in our bed with me the night after the Hall and Oates concert. He was understandably and justifiably upset, embarrassed and angry at how I’d behaved. Also, who’d want to sleep with someone who had vomited everywhere? When I was cleaning the contents of my stomach off my bedroom floor, the gravity of my actions finally hit me. Every time I get shit-faced, Mr. Cesy has had to literally clean up my messes. That’s not fair on him. I had to send my friend who came to the concert with us an apology for my actions. It’s not the first time I’ve had to do that.  At that point, I knew I’d hit my low point. This could go on no more.

So here and now, I have to face up to the fact that I abuse alcohol and it is affecting my life and the lives of those I love.  It’s something I’ve had to do a lot of thinking about. Alcohol has been a defining feature of my life for many years now. You can see this from my author bio, where I say “I drink a lot of wine.”  For me, it has seemed like I’ve hit adulthood, now that I could drink and buy my own alcohol. The delight of a cold beer on a hot day, or a crisp vodka after a hard day at work makes me feel just plain good, like all is right with the world. But more and more, it seems I need that vodka more often, and I’m drinking more of it when I do have some. It’s never just one glass.

So I’m currently looking into professional help to discuss why I act the way I do when I drink, and I’m also using some of the hints found on the ALAC website. The one I think will be most helpful for me is the suggestion that I should diarise my drinking: how much I drink, who I drink it with, how I felt when I drink, what the outcome of the night was. The reason this website exists is because binge drinking is a huge issue in New Zealand. Currently, ALAC is running a series of ads that deal with several binge drinkers having a conversation with friends, wives and workmates after a night of drinking. The friend, wives and workmates ask the drinker to “leave their friends at home” when they drink, friends such as “Punchy Sam,” a personality trait of the drinker that only comes out after many beers. There is a variety of other personalities who steal, spread malicious gossip and miss out on family commitments because of their drinking. When I have seen those ads, I never thought it could be me, but it is now clear that yes, there are such personalities as “Inappropriate Cesy” or “Oblivious to Danger Cesy” or “Money-Wasting Cesy” who show up when I’ve had far too many wines.

I’ve written this partially for public accountability to force me to resolve my issues, partially for catharsis, but also to let people know that if you have concerns about how you use alcohol, it is OK to ask for help. While I don’t see myself giving up alcohol entirely, I have to think very carefully about how I use alcohol, and I will be seeking help about how to go forward.  The big patch on my carpet where we had to clean up my vomit is a constant reminder that how I am using it now is not healthy in any way, and some changes have to be made. It is unlikely to be easy, but I have to start somewhere, and I choose to start making those changes today.

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Cesy

Cesy grew up in a sheep farm in New Zealand. Accordingly some of her views are a bit strange.

76 thoughts on “Binge Drinking: It’s My Problem”

  1. I’m a little late to the party but I’m tearing as I read this. I want to thank you for your courage in putting yourself out there.

    Even if my problems (or anyone else’s) are not related to alcohol, opening up about one’s struggles and asking help are essential to controlling and possibly resolving the issues in question. I’m really grateful towards you for highlighting that.

    By the way, this is the first time I’ve cried reading a post here.

  2. I just want to add my voice to those who’ve already thanked and encouraged you for this post. This took a lot of courage, and probably involved no small amount of embarrassment, so good on you for deciding to share.

    My progressively severe migraines put a stop to my binge drinking several years ago, and as shitty as migraines are, I’m kinda grateful that I was essentially forced to quit drinking like this and reexamine my habits before I did anything truly heinous. I do still get sloppy drunk and embarrass myself a few times a year (most recently on Monday!), but that’s about it for me these days.

     

    1. To be honest, after having to clean regurgitated red wine and cheese off my floor, very little was embarrassing about writing this! Thank you for your kind words. I think for me, I have to find my own balance, sounds like you have had to do that too, and that is important for us all to do.

      1. I have a very good friend who’s had her own struggles as well, and she’s got a pretty choice story involving a holiday ham dinner, three bottles of red wine, her bath tub, and her husband’s feet. She said being able to share her stories and laugh at herself has helped a lot.

  3. I just want to write to wish you absolutely all the best! And thank you for writing such a brave post. I have such strong emotions around binge drinking and alcohol, my only relative in the city I go to school in is a (sort of ) functioning alcoholic and while I enjoy our times together so much I find it both heartbreaking and deeply worrisome. Meanwhile one of my besties moved to a small town and basically binge drinks all the time and makes jokes about becoming alcoholic…. which I sort of hate but also really freaks me out. Anyways, I am sort of rambling, but I wanted to say, I think it is such a hard choice to make to leave that lifestyle, especially if it is the activity of your entire social sphere (as it is with my bestie) and mad mad props to you for seeing a problem and deciding to make a change. You have 112% of my support.

    1. Thank you! Mr. Cesy and I, not long at all before all this occurred, had made jokes about being high-functioning alcoholics. Those jokes just aren’t funny now.

      Big hugs to you for dealing with your friend and family member. While it’s hard on the person with the issue, being the person who watches someone drink themselves into oblivion can be even harder.

  4. Good for you! And that took a hell of a lot of courage to write about it here so I admire you for that. I used to do a lot of drinking and used a few too many drugs. Sure, I’ve got a lot of funny and interesting stories that all start with “Ohmigod, this one time, I was soooo drunk…” and while they are fun to remember, they all have some other stuff attached to them that I’d rather forget.

    Good luck to you and I am as proud of you as an Internet stranger can be!

    1. Oh yeah, some of the stories are great but the regret that comes the morning after, or the physical pain because you’ve drunkenly run into a fence, not so much.(And then your friend breaks his foot kicking the fence, which he kicked to tell it off because you’d hurt yourself really takes the cake).

      Thank you very much for your kind wishes!

  5. I’m brand new to Persephone (I traded up from Jezebel to you all :), but this is a great article. I’ve had some run-ins with binge drinking and with a family of alcoholics, I get pretty paranoid about it. My friend and I call it “drinker’s remorse” because the shame you feel the next day can be pretty debilitating.

    My most recent run-in was a few weeks ago when my husband reluctantly told me some of the hurtful things I had said the night before. I felt so terrible because A) I could not remember anything and B) I am generally a happy, positive person. I apologized profusely and sincerely, and while he forgave me easily, I didn’t forgive myself as easily. And in a way, I’m glad it happened because when I have a glass of wine in my hand, my fear of acting up again prevents me from going overboard.

    You’re very brave to put this out there and I wish you the very best!

    1. Thank you, and welcome to Persephone!  Mr. Cesy was very much the same after the concert, it was very much “That wasn’t you, who was that? It wasn’t the woman I love anyway”. That hurt a lot, and I needed to hear that, because it really forced me to think about changing my ways.

  6. *hugs* let me know if there’s anything I can do to support you.

    It’s harder to quit bingeing than it is to quit outright, from what I hear. I know that that’s one of the difficulties that exists for people with my type of binging- I binge eat. It’s a compulsive, obsessive, all consuming thing for me, though, and I hope that that compulsion isn’t an aspect to your binging with alcohol.

    Like I said, let me know if you need support. I know that the number of binges with food that I have has been greatly reduced by being able to find people online who can help talk me down/out of a binge.

    1. Thank you Savannah, for offering your support and being brave enough to tell me about your own issues with binging.  I think for me there is a bit of a compulsion once that bottle is open, well I’ve had this many, what is this many more going to do? So that is something I do need to work on. There’s no way I need 2 bottles of wine in one sitting, I have no idea why I’d think 2 bottles is a good idea, so yeeah, some issues that need to be addressed there.

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