My unhealthy relationship with alcohol.
Why I’m going sober for October (Ocsober)
WARNING: this is a thought piece, and the opinions within this article may not reflect the views of Mirage as a whole. They may contain triggering content, and you’ve been warned. Disagree? Write a well thought out response to this without insulting the other author, remembering to be confident with a potential outcome that makes the world better and email it to firstname.lastname@example.org
The power of the internet is such that we feel this sense of connection to people without really connecting with them.
Mid-June I hit publish on article one Friday afternoon like I was in the habit of doing in 2018. Not thinking too much of the topic I’d written about until the internet seemingly blew up in repulsion to my ideas. What does this have to do with alcohol?
I’ve probably never had a great relationship with booze, maybe I’m just no good at it.
But in the aftermath I gravitated to the bottle to sooth the pain that was going on in my head and the criticism continued to flow in.
Fortunately or unfortunately I was soon flying off on a European adventure to put 1000s of kilometres between me and the crisis, another easy excuse for midday drinking under the guise of ‘holidays’. But eventually that finishes and you return to reality and these habits get harder to brush off. The alcohol is dulling the mental pain I’d been trying desperately to push aside for what had become 2 months of consistent replay of the past events.
Even this past week I stumbled upon an article from another publication and previous writer at Mirage, highlighting to me how much of what I had written was interpreted differently. Joining dots that I had not expressed should be joined and essentially painting a picture that Mirage was a pile of ruble and should remain a memory as the conclusion of this chapter. That hurt. It all hurts. Every part feels like a personal attack on me. In some ways I’m more sympathetic of how other people felt reading my words and how they felt attacked.
I’m not sure I’ll ever truly get over that fortnight. My world changed so dramatically that day and the days after in so many ways, like a line in the sand that is my life. As much as I consistently want to go back to that online discussion and desperately try to explain myself, possibly better, probably worse. I know deep down that no good can come of it.
Those people have chosen to write me off. My scorecard of good work wiped.
Eventually, I need to accept this.
In the meantime, the best thing I can see to help me out of this hole is to develop positive habits that assist positive outcomes. My own mental health is a massive and instrumental part of this. My relationship with alcohol needs to move to a positive one and I’ve already made some steps towards this, but Ocsober seems like a pretty bold way to take this on. It turns a negative into a positive action and raising some funds to assist another generation have better habits around substances can’t hurt either right?
My message on Ocsober starts like this:
Those that know me well know I love a drink.
Often joking "I drink coffee until it is acceptable to drink beer".
What is perhaps less funny is how much I have come to rely on a drink.
Throughout all of this I’ve thought a lot about the kind of father I would want to be. Instil positive life habits for them both physically and mentally. Compassion, empathy, resilience, stubborn in their resolve, encouraging, questioning, persistent, passionate. You might not agree with stubbornness, but I feel like if I hadn’t been a little stubborn I might not be here right now.
You can support my campaign HERE or start your own campaign and share it in the comments and I promise to pledge some form of support to anyone*
If this article has been a trigger to you or if you just need some help: Crisis support services can be reached 24 hours a day: Lifeline 13 11 14; Suicide Call Back Service 1300 659 467; Kids Helpline 1800 55 1800; MensLine Australia 1300 78 99 78
*(maybe I need to cap it to the first 1,000 people incase this goes crazy)