Saturday, 19 February 2011

The demon drink

You will recall, gentle reader, that the thing (apart from my quiet inability to manage any relationship) that brought Fella and I closest to breaking up was his drinking. Without refreshing too many dark memories, there were plenty of occasions where the night was spoiled by Fella drinking himself into unconsciousness.

It wasn't just the drinking per se, it was the risk he put himself, and sometimes me, at by being out of control. Sometimes, sadly, it just isn't safe for a gay man to be totally arseholed with drink. If he of we can't run away from danger, then the consequences don't bear thinking about it.

Now, after an incident when I was attacked at home I turned to the bottle quite heavily, but that wore off as time went on. Still, I can understand the draw of drink if you’re fragile or if, like Fella, you have a mental health problem. But, the reality is, I’m not a saint and I’m still not sure I could cope with a destructive influence in my life like a partner with a dependency.

We came close the breaking point, he and I, dealing with this issue. Friends counselled me in a variety of options. ‘A’ suggested alcoholics anonymous, as partners can find it helpful too. I seriously considered it.

He promised he would do anything to keep us together, and in many respects he has been as good as his word. The bargain we struck was that if he behaved himself on social occasions he could drink as much as he likes at home. And that is broadly what has happened.

You asked recently how he is managing on the booze. There’s no easy way to spell it out; he probably puts away 150 units a week; the recommended maximum for men in 28 (I think). So he drinks an awful lot. But he manages it. He never misses work; he doesn’t stay up into the early hours drinking the place dry; he gets plenty of sleep and eats his meals. Some days he chooses not to drink at all. So... good then [?].

Not perfect, not by a long way. But this is Fella, who wants to build a life with me, build his career, live and enjoy his life. He’s a heavy drinker – but thinking as I type I realise the distinction between someone who happens to drink a lot and someone who behaves destructively. And being able to make that distinction helps me see the problems we had are solved.

The biggest challenge for me, where we are now, is keeping my own consumption at a reasonable level. With my ongoing struggle to get my weight down and my health up, plus the sheer demands placed on my time by work and study. The next biggest challenge is vigilance, as I find it difficult still to trust him to control himself in social situations.

Nevertheless, Fella made the effort and he did it for me. How could I do anything other but love and appreciate him for it? It’s hard to imagine anyone else I’ve been with making one-hundredth of the changes he makes for me, without demanding a lot in return. You see how lucky I am?

1 comment:

Phunk Factor said...

It's good that he can keep his behavior under control however too much alcohol has many adverse effects on the body...the most notable of which is liver cirrhosis! I think going cold turkey would be the best bet!