I’m now at the stage where I can go out with ‘non-recovery’ friends to drinking establishments without feeling like I need to put together a 10 page relapse prevention plan in advance.
This is really the golden goose for us former problematic drinkers and was my perception of what being ‘cured’ looked like during those early days.
The reality of course is very different as pubs haven’t changed just because I’m no longer boozing.
There is, however, a more subtle change though in terms of my own social skills; the problem is now that I find people who are drunk really boring.
Now I’m not talking about anyone partaking in alcohol consumption.
I am talking about that stage where people have stepped over that imaginary line of relaxed to feeling it – you all know the one!
I can only apologise to my own friends and family for having to endure my repeated stories.
They know about the incoherent rambles, the arguments that didn’t make any sense and the unfunny jokes.
Then there was my supposed expertise on subjects I had only read one paragraph about - one night it was Chinese coal mining, but I am neither Chinese or a coal miner.
What is particularly worrying is how much being drunk is seen as acceptable, even celebrated with the war stories of what happened the night before.
I know, once again, I’m skating on thin ice and am in danger of becoming one of those ‘former’ people who’ve given up something or other and feel the need to bore everyone with the benefits.
But even my lovely friends who like to have an occasional drink see getting drunk as part and parcel of a successful night out, wedding, or party.
It is interesting that if you asked a smoker about the risks of smoking they wouldn’t think that the risks only applied to people who smoked 30 of them a day, because any cigarette has some form of risk.
Yet most people believe that the health risks associated with alcohol, particularly the link with various different cancers (not just liver, but for example breast cancer), only apply to people like me who have had a dependency.
I am certainly not arguing for prohibition, history has shown us how that went down.
But somehow we need to change the message that is out there.
In the meantime I’m going to try not to be the pub bore but this time the alcohol health bore rather than the drunken one. n Visit Sheffield Alcohol Support Service for more information on responsible drinking.