Why can’t I just act as normal as everyone else? It’s not like I am any different from my friends but it seems like every time we go out to have a few drinks I end up being affected the worst.
Why can’t I have a good time with my friends and not wake up to stories that I often have no memory of.
Why can’t I just enjoy a few beers and go home to a peaceful sleep?
For a while I have been asking myself these questions, trying to figure out the puzzle that had become between me and my alcohol.
I mean I don’t use drugs, not even a cigarette, but lately drinking alcohol is not as fun as it used to be.
First I thought it was because I drink on an empty stomach and I started making sure to have a good meal before going out, that seemed to work at times but still I would drink until every bottle in sight was finished.
I told a friend of mine and he was quick to diagnose that it is because I am ‘IDA’ (I Drink All), so I tried to be loyal to my green bottle beer, no shots, cider, or other drink for me.
That reduced the hard hangovers I had but still the stories of the ‘drunk me’ continued.
I tried other ways to control my drinking like starting to drink late in the night, limiting the number of beers, and even taking a break but I could not go for 2 weeks on any of the solutions.
I remember one day we had a wellness day at work, different stalls presented on health issues.
I had little interest but picked a few pamphlets as most of my colleagues did.
One particular pamphlet caught my attention; it had questions about alcohol use.
I took it home for a closer look because I didn’t want to be seen reading it.
The questions were abbreviated CAGE and I asked myself each question…
Have you ever felt you should Cut down on your drinking? I thought to myself this has been on my mind for a while now, so I figured it’s a definite YES.
Have people Annoyed you by criticising your drinking?
I quickly answered YES since my girlfriend always argues with me about drinking but I think it is because she is afraid drinking will make me unfaithful to her.
I also realised that my friends often say that it is easy to find me on weekends by just following the drinking spots, which annoyed me a lot. My YES was solid.
Have you ever felt bad or Guilty about your drinking? Eish! I found myself looking to the ceiling as if I was afraid to face the question.
I had too many instances where I wished to undo the things I did.
From the constant trouble with the police to misbehaving at family events; it seemed like I felt some sort of guilt almost every time I drink.
I answered with a heavy YES, the question touched me deeply.
Have you ever had an Eye opener: a first drink in the morning to steady your nerves or get rid of a hangover?
I laughed a bit at the question, this I did on the regular. I would always say ‘ke tsosa mmele’ (I’m jumpstarting my body) after a heavy drinking session.
It seemed like the best way to reduce the feel of a hangover. Once again it was an absolute YES.
After going through the questions I had a moment of introspection, I realised that I cannot drink alcohol safely without having a negative effect.
I realised that I am not in control of my drinking, no matter how much I tried.
It is then that I decided to do something I looked at the pamphlet from BOSASNet and called to talk to a counsellor, I decided to get help.
If you think that you might have a problem with the use of alcohol or any other substance, or if you have a friend or family member who does, we encourage you to seek help.
For some, it can mean the difference between life and death.
You can find BOSASNet on Facebook, visit us on www.bosasnet.com, or call us on 3959119 or 72659891 for more information.