Alcohol My Silent Partner-The Early Years

Empty bottles

As I started to write this post I did have a plan. As with many things in life, that plan sort of got thrown out of the window. What we now have is the first part to a semi-autobiographical story. Some parts are more than I intended, others less so but it does give me a template, if you like, with which to build on. Alcohol my silent partner-the early years will take you back to the beginning.

I thought I would retrace my steps for you here. Setting out my journey with alcohol may just give you some context. It may also resonate with you. When we have a good reflection on our lives we might just see that alcohol was always there beside us, sometimes quietly unspoken and other times at the forefront of where we were at that time. So let me take you on a journey with alcohol my silent partner.

I Make No Apologies

I’m probably going to drop into a more conversational writing method as I’m aware that the subject matter can be somewhat difficult at times. I am past any strugles of reliving the past and I am free of shackles that held me in the form of alcohol addiction. Carrying no baggage and spending not one iota of time looking back and feeling sorry for myself. I was what I was but that was then and this is now.

I had some great times with my mate alcohol. Heady nights and days. I could never work out that why when you went to bed in a state of euphoria you would then wake up the following day feeling dehydrated and nauseous. If it was reminder not to do it again, well it just didn’t work.

Sometimes you could be the life and soul of the party or be quite happy to sit quietly in a mood of reverie. Couple of pints and I could be a pool wizard or an insightful conversationalist. Alcohol was both stimulant and depressant and I was good with either.

The Early Years.

Now by the early years, I don’t mean I was sneaking a half bottle of vodka into the classroom at primary school. More that it was an accepted part of day to day or week to week living. My earliest memories would have been somewhere around ten Coke and crisps

years old. Two things come to mind. One was a Sunday lunchtimes, with a trip down to the local ‘Social Club’. Proper old school. Very smokey and an occasional band playing with the drummer using what looked like egg whisks to play with. I was too young to drink and would have Coke or Vimto and some crisps. There was always laughter and plenty of people sat  around tables littered with pint glasses.

The other memory would have been the occasional Friday night at home. Walkers plain crisps, Vimto and a bottle of sweet cider on the coffee table. If the winds were favourable my mother allowed me a few sips of the cider. Black and white tv and I’d like to say ‘Pot Black’ to watch but that was on a Wednesday.

Both of these events evoke strong memories of good times and family. Life wasn’t easy in those years but it was familiar and a bit cosy. Warm and fuzzy as only a child can remember. Note that there was no stigma, alcohol was a part of life, pretty much as it is now.

From Occasional to Everyday.

The above was my homelife up to the age of approximately eleven years old. At this point my family circumstances changed quite radically and I found myself living with another family. Very different but as children we are resilient and you adapt.Wine at the table

That’s another story.

Alcohol now was more front and centre. There was wine with every sit-down evening meal and the adults might have an evening drink. As I was still relatively young the wine was not on my place setting but every now and then I was allowed a small glass. No such luck with a ‘short’ just before bedtime.

I think nowadays not much had changed. If you make something ‘taboo’ you often add a sense of mystery. Thus it can become a desire if only because it is not allowed.

So having a drink within the comforts of your own home was the norm as far as my take on things were, at that early age. No one was rolling around on the floor or singing badly. It was just normal.

Then Came The Party

I had been with my new family for a couple of years. During this time I had also moved schools. I was now at a boarding school. I would live there during term time and come home for the holidays. My home life was tolerable from all sides and the school change was to help alleviate some of the pressures that were building. Not major bad stuff, more to do with me being a square peg trying to fit in a round hole. We just weren’t cut from the same cloth, literally in this case, well sort of, in a genetic kind of way.

The party, how I came to be there and what came afterwards, is deserving of a post of its own. That way I will do it justice. When its done I shall add a link in here so if you wanted to pop across and then come back, you can. For now, we’ll just jump ahead a little ways. Artistic license and all that.

More Change Afoot

This is fast turning in to an autobiography. Not my intention but it is what it is. Even with the school move, things weren’t working at home, so another set of parents ensued.Fosters rather than guardians, though to me I knew no difference. With that came a ‘home’ relocation and I ended up spending my holidays in a new town. This all covers a couple of years and nothing much changed as far as the availability of alcohol. I was probably around fifteen or sixteen when I started to experiment more.
At school, the opportunity to spend time off the premises at weekends became more available as I was in the more senior years. There were a couple of local pubs that were quite happy to sell alcohol if you looked somewhere close to the legal age, failing that we’d just get the oldest looking one to go in and order the drinks. Have a few, sneak back into ‘dorms’ munching some mints and we were sorted.

Martini

At school, the opportunity to spend time off the premises at weekends became more available as I was in the more senior years. There were a couple of local pubs that were quite happy to sell alcohol if you looked somewhere close to the legal age, failing that we’d just get the oldest looking one to go in and order the drinks. Have a few, sneak back into ‘dorms’ munching some mints and we were sorted.

I seem to remember a few times me and a friend went into town on a lunchtime and bought a bottle of Martini, shared it at the top of a car park and then went back for the afternoon lessons….never really thought much of it at the time. Looking back now it does look like I was starting to build a relationship with alcohol that might not be the healthiest.

Add to that, when I was at home, although I wasn’t able to go out locally and drink, it was available in the house, just a few shots here and there added to a bedtime drink. Warm milk always did taste better with some brandy. None of it was really excessive, well maybe half a bottle of Martini was but that was not a regular occurence.

Out On My Own

I think I was a few months shy of my eighteenth birthday when school/family/home and me all parted ways. A slight On my Own

unplanned weekend excursion from school, I say unplanned, I mean unsanctioned, led to being asked to leave said establishment. At the same time I decided that I wasn’t going back to live with my foster parents. As I was still technically under the care of Social Services, temporary accommodation was found and I began the next stage of my life.

We all face crossroads during our lives and the decisions we make can either come back to haunt us or define our future. I like to think the latter.

For now we’ll leave it there, as it’s a good a place as any and I can start afresh with the next phase.

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