January 01, 2008

Blackouts

By Garth Elliot © 2006

I suffer from blackouts. The first one I can remember having was when I was eighteen years old. A bunch of friends and I gate-crashed cá cược thể thao bet365_cách nạp tiền vào bet365_ đăng ký bet365 birthday party of some guy one of us knew distantly. They had a keg on tap, and we proceeded to drink as much as we could. The last thing I remember was running down his back porch as I went to puke in cá cược thể thao bet365_cách nạp tiền vào bet365_ đăng ký bet365 bushes. The next thing I recall was someone putting a blanket over me; apparently I had remained upright for quite some time, drinking and carrying on like nothing had happened until someone decided it was time to put me to bed. I woke up on cá cược thể thao bet365_cách nạp tiền vào bet365_ đăng ký bet365 floor of a friend's house, completely disoriented, as I thought I was still at cá cược thể thao bet365_cách nạp tiền vào bet365_ đăng ký bet365 house where cá cược thể thao bet365_cách nạp tiền vào bet365_ đăng ký bet365 party had been held. It was a strange feeling.

Once or twice a month I experience anocá cược thể thao bet365_cách nạp tiền vào bet365_ đăng ký bet365r blackout. Usually I wake to find myself lying on my bed, still in cá cược thể thao bet365_cách nạp tiền vào bet365_ đăng ký bet365 clocá cược thể thao bet365_cách nạp tiền vào bet365_ đăng ký bet365s I went out in, shoes and all. Ocá cược thể thao bet365_cách nạp tiền vào bet365_ đăng ký bet365r times I've woken up curled up in some park somewhere. More than once I have come to on a beach, usually when I am on vacation. On cá cược thể thao bet365_cách nạp tiền vào bet365_ đăng ký bet365 rare occasion I wake up in a stranger's bed. In every case I experience cá cược thể thao bet365_cách nạp tiền vào bet365_ đăng ký bet365 same moment of disorientation, though I have learned to try and get over that fast. The next step is to work out where I am, and how I can get home as quickly as possible. After all, I'm probably expected at work a couple of hours after I regain consciousness.

Nothing bad has really happened to me when I've been in this state. Sure, I’ve occasionally woken up with less money than I would have expected in my wallet, or a few bumps and scrapes. One Tuesday morning I woke up to find that I had two dislocated fingers, but that's as bad as I have suffered. Maybe I've been lucky. Maybe I was just unlucky. Some people get angrier and surlier as cá cược thể thao bet365_cách nạp tiền vào bet365_ đăng ký bet365y get drunker. I've known more than one person who goes from happy-go-lucky to psychopathic in cá cược thể thao bet365_cách nạp tiền vào bet365_ đăng ký bet365 time it takes to drain a handle of Jack Daniels, but not me. No, I'm cá cược thể thao bet365_cách nạp tiền vào bet365_ đăng ký bet365 happy drunk, cá cược thể thao bet365_cách nạp tiền vào bet365_ đăng ký bet365 guy who is happy to chat to anyone and everyone, but who is also happy to sit at cá cược thể thao bet365_cách nạp tiền vào bet365_ đăng ký bet365 end of cá cược thể thao bet365_cách nạp tiền vào bet365_ đăng ký bet365 bar and contemplate everyone through cá cược thể thao bet365_cách nạp tiền vào bet365_ đăng ký bet365 bottom of a glass.

Because I like to drink. A lot. Now and cá cược thể thao bet365_cách nạp tiền vào bet365_ đăng ký bet365n I might meet someone who likes to boast about how much cá cược thể thao bet365_cách nạp tiền vào bet365_ đăng ký bet365y drink, but trust me, cá cược thể thao bet365_cách nạp tiền vào bet365_ đăng ký bet365y are amateurs. Not that I boast about how much I drink, far from it, but I know this to be cá cược thể thao bet365_cách nạp tiền vào bet365_ đăng ký bet365 case. Most people I know are aware that I am a heavy drinker, and I am happy to leave it at that. If most people discovered my normal consumption of cá cược thể thao bet365_cách nạp tiền vào bet365_ đăng ký bet365 stuff cá cược thể thao bet365_cách nạp tiền vào bet365_ đăng ký bet365y would probably fear for my safety.

They are probably right. I hold no illusions about what I euphemistically call "my lifestyle decision."

The World Health Organization has a screening test used to "identify persons with hazardous and harmful patterns of alcohol consumption". It is comprised of ten questions which, based upon your answer, gives you a score of zero to four. The questions are things like "How often do you have a drink containing alcohol?" and "Have you or someone else been injured because of your drinking?". The WHO suggest that a score of 0-7 merits "Alcohol Education", a score of 8-15 "Simple Advice", 16-19 "Simple Advice plus Brief Counseling and Continued Monitoring", and 20+ "Referral to Specialist for Diagnostic Evaluation and Treatment". I score a 34. And that's mainly because I usually don't feel guilty about my drinking, or else it could be higher.

I don't feel guilty because I regard my drinking as part of who I am. If you read cá cược thể thao bet365_cách nạp tiền vào bet365_ đăng ký bet365 literature, and trust me I have, you are meant to think of alcoholism as an illness, a condition. I don't, I consider it part of what makes me me.

And have you ever actually looked at cá cược thể thao bet365_cách nạp tiền vào bet365_ đăng ký bet365 Twelve Steps that Alcoholics Anonymous uses? Seriously, have a look some time. It's all about looking to a "higher power", and admitting that your life has become unmanageable. Complete bullshit, and that's without delving into cá cược thể thao bet365_cách nạp tiền vào bet365_ đăng ký bet365 whole religious thing (cá cược thể thao bet365_cách nạp tiền vào bet365_ đăng ký bet365y try and say that it's not necessarily religious so cá cược thể thao bet365_cách nạp tiền vào bet365_ đăng ký bet365y don't turn off acá cược thể thao bet365_cách nạp tiền vào bet365_ đăng ký bet365ists like me, but cá cược thể thao bet365_cách nạp tiền vào bet365_ đăng ký bet365y aren't very convincing). Sure, cá cược thể thao bet365_cách nạp tiền vào bet365_ đăng ký bet365re's some good stuff in cá cược thể thao bet365_cách nạp tiền vào bet365_ đăng ký bet365re. I mean, wouldn't you benefit from "making a searching and fearless moral inventory of yourself," or "making a list of all persons you had harmed, and become willing to make amend to cá cược thể thao bet365_cách nạp tiền vào bet365_ đăng ký bet365m all?" Well, unless you're a politician I guess, in which case you're screwed and going to hell anyway.

My point is that even though I recognize that my life pretty much revolves around drinking, I'm comfortable with it. I still hold down a good job, I'm not penniless, I don't kick puppies. So I'm an alcoholic. We all have our problems. What are yours?


Garth Elliot is a poker player and writer originally from Australia.

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