Saturday, October 07, 2006

Different approaches

I was told recently of the approach a women's group (not specifically an alcohol-related group) has been using towards alcohol. A wine glass and a beer glass are put in front of the group members and introduced as Mr and Mrs Alcohol. Each person is invited to tell Mr and Mrs Alcohol how they feel about them, and then they take the place of the glasses and say how they, Mr and Mrs A, feel about what they've just heard.

It's a variation on the two-chair work that counsellors and psychotherapists sometimes use, and it made me think about some of my own relationships in the past. If I've felt that someone is trying to back off from me, I've held on even tighter. One of my friends is extremely needy, and I am trying to back off from her because she is draining me, but it's having the reverse effect. She calls me every night now - she's holding on tighter, as if she can sense me slipping away.

I'm beginning to think that that's the relationship I have with alcohol. When it feels me turning my back it puts more temptation in my way to entice me back into its warm and familiar embrace. If I tell myself I'll have just one, as soon as I've started to drink it, subversive thoughts creep into my brain: You see, I feel fine, one doesn't hurt. I can have another one. I've got ... oh ... another 10 hours before I have to get up for work tomorrow. I can have another couple before I go to bed and still get a good night's sleep, and it will all be out of my system by the time I get up.

Of course, one leads to 2, 2 leads to 4, and 4 leads to 8 and so much for a good night's sleep: I wake up on the hour, every hour, with a headache and a raging thirst for the bottle of water I keep by the bed. I look at the clock and think, Shit! I've only got X hours before I have to get up!

So, I have a message for Mr and Mrs Alcohol. I love you very much. You've been part of my life since I was 14, but I just can't see you now. Maybe we can get together in the future, but right now I just can't be near you, for my own sake.

I'm not even going to ask Mr & Mrs A how they feel about being dumped, because I know they'll make excuses and promise to be better, less demanding, if only I'll take them back, and I just can't afford to listen to them any more.

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