It has taken over sixty years of being on the planet to realise that some things change and some things never change. During my time I’ve been both super fat and super fit; I’ve been sleepy and I’ve been nocturnal; I’ve been both lazy and industrious; I’ve been happy and sad; I’ve had periods of calm and anger; I’ve lost and I’ve gained. In amongst all this contrast, the experience of life has taught me to achieve the positive from the negative and recognise when I’m on a slippery slope. Most recently, it’s been a slippery chair.
The new riser/recliner has many good points. It gets my feet up and stops them swelling like balloons, it’s comfortable, it helps me up but sometimes it goes too high and I slip off. This brings me to something that never changes.
I like a drink. As a toddler, I lived in the Sun Inn in Prescot. There are stories of me draining bottles and pinching customer’s beer. I was never shy about going into a pub and asking for a pint. From the age of sixteen, I assumed it as a right. And so it continued.
If anyone mentioned “Whisky Challenge”, I would respond with “When?” “How much?” or “I’ll drink you under the table.”
There have three occasions when I have consumed a whole bottle in one night. The first was Christmas night of 1980. I came out in a huge rash. The drinking rash was to haunt me for the next twenty years before disappearing as mysteriously as it had appeared. The second time was one of George’s wild curry nights in April 1985. I was driving to work the next day wondering why I was behaving like a prat. The third was a Friday night in the vagueness of the late nineties when the days of work merged with each other. It was a spring Friday night and the week’s teaching had been brutal. Since then, I could not possibly count the number of times when I and others have overdosed on this glorious tipple. It has been responsible for so many good times.
But is it time to change? Has my love of this fine drink been the cause of my chair slippage? And so we have the challenge. My friend and I are going whisky free. I’m not putting a total ban on it but it shall not be in the house for the foreseeable future.
What do I hope to achieve? After the first night without it I woke up the next morning without the wall. I could actually do things. I made turkey burgers with home made baps. But I need to change my sleeping habits. I have to find some kind of civilised routine. I’ve never been a good night sleeper but it’s been better than it is now. It’s just as well I have an answer phone.
But some days are actually busy days. On Tuesday morning (9.15) I have the absolute pleasure of the teaching the piano to a talented adult. It’s an intense but rewarding thirty minutes. Then the weekly shop arrives. Tuesday is also washing day. At three thirty the same person comes with her twins for another half hour
For me, that is a busy day. It’s the most tiring day of the week. Now I know that those who know me will understand. But to those who may think I’m a total skiver, I will point out that the main symptom of MS is fatigue and I have spent over thirty years fighting it. It has destroyed me in many ways. Now it is destroying my love of whisky. Or the love of whisky is destroying me.
In the morning I listen to the residents of the flats fire up their vehicles and leave for work. at five thirty I hear the click of the main door before Mr pest control man gets into his van and goes to fight his vermin quest. The others follow in quick succession. Along the pathway I hear the clip clop of high heels.
My dawn chorus gives me some sense of comfort. I used to be part of it. I was a willing player. But now I have my own personal battles. If I want to get hold of myself I have to break the whisky habit. There will be major slips along the way but I am holding up my head focusing on my brave quest. Let’s stop falling over. I worked out that I can reduce my intake by 42 units a week at least. Here goes. Thank-you for reading.