Ok, so here’s something I need to get off my chest that I am far from proud of. I am a binge drinker! There you go, I’ve said it. It’s not big, I know, and it’s not clever, but it is an unfortunate fact. I guess this is a little how it goes at your first AA meeting when they tell you that saying it, is the first step getting a handle on it. Well, the fact that my friends and I say it, pretty much every Saturday afternoon, and then wind up doing the same thing the following Friday night, leaves me thinking that we’re somehow missing the point.
Of course the whole subject of binge drinking has dominated the press for the past 12 months and I admit that every time I read a story I feel a mix of guilt that at my age I’m still stupid enough to still be buying tickets on the binge drinking rollercoaster, and relief that so many other Australians are out there drinking too much and no doubt making total dills of themselves in the process. Let’s face it, it’s nice to be in company even if that company is a tad undesirable. But the fact is, that as I awoke on Saturday with my weekly Panda eyes, I wondered how long I could keep making excuses for myself about why I have no concept of the idea of ‘pacing oneself’?
So why is it that myself, so many of my friends, and countless Australians allowing binge drinking to ruin so many areas of their life? Health, dignity, love lives, finances, I could go on forever and none of the areas would be one’s that I’d look at and think ‘Hey who cares about that?’ And yet we continue to repeat the pattern.
Binge drinking is not just something that the younger generation are doing because they have less tolerance to alcohol, and less clues on the things to regret once you’re rotten drunk. Not to condone youth drinking but at least they have the excuse that they may not know any better, so what’s our excuse? It’s sadly, us people in our thirties and forties that really should know better. Having workshopped the reasons why my friends and I indulge in binge drinking, it’s amazing how many excuses we can come up with to temporarily make each other feel better or convince ourselves it won’t happen again. “I drank too much because I had a stressful week!” I drank too much because I was feeling emotional about something!” “ “I drank too much because I’m single and what else am I supposed to do when I go out? “I drank too much because I was excited about…..blah blah blah!” So many reasons for so many drinks!
I’m convinced beyond doubt that the reason why one such friend of mine, has been single for nearly a decade, is that she is a binge drinker! Quite simply, she is one of the worst binge drinkers I know and have seen her swaying and slurring around one too many bars over the years. She’s a gorgeous looking 36 year old girl, with a successful job and numerous close friends, but she can’t get a guy to even call her the day after meeting them. It’s always the same thing, she meets them, she raves excitedly the next day about them, and then she sits waiting for the phone call that never comes. Quite simply, as with all of us binge drinkers, she has not presented herself in a way that anyone really wants to see again.
Perhaps like with anything that you’ve been doing for so many years, binge drinking has just become a way of life for many of us? Why is it that so many of us are smart enough to see that along the way we need to give up smoking because it makes us look like crap, is slowly killing us, fewer and fewer people want to be in the same room as a smoker, yet we can’t apply the same deductions to binge drinking? If we binge drinkers are bored with ourselves and our pathetic behaviour, god knows how the rest of the world views us late on a Friday night? Does it take coming home with your own phone number in your bag, to make you finally realise you’re not a great look? I won’t say who that happened to but it certainly makes ‘one’ think!
BY AMBER PETTY