"Just a Coke For Me Please": I Can’t Drink and It’s Ruining My Life

My favourite thing in all the world is a really, really good Gin and Tonic.

3 ice cubes, a slice of lemon (or lime), Hendrick’s Gin and Brittvic Tonic Water.

Or a glass of red wine.

Or a Havana Club and Coke.

Or a pint of Tribute.

Or any cocktail containing cream.

Basically, I really like alcohol.

My tutor, the amazing Amanda Finelli, once told me I was a ‘lightweight pussy’ because of the unbelievable levels of hungover I once exhibited in her class. We’re talking running out to be sick midway through seminar. My friend Gen looked at me seriously, ‘I don’t think you’re a lightweight Alex, I just think you drink too much.’

Gen would be right. I never know when to stop. Much like when I’m writing, I tend to labour the point over and over again, desperately trying to squeeze out the laughs. I am the same drunk. I drink until I feel physically ill then I desperately try to squeeze a few laughs out of the onlookers (my friends) and then usually crawl home holding my shoes in one hand and my dignity in the other.

I get head crushing hangovers. We’re talking the kind of hangover where just standing under the shower is like being shot in the face by a hundred super strength pea shooters. My gut mutinies against my body and has a mind of it’s own, either forcing me to consume copious amounts of grease or rejecting all intake AT ANY TIME. Walking along Twickenham High Street, gut demands I vomit into a bin. In a seminar, gut demands I leave and vomit NOW.

As for my head, it feels like someone’s placed an extra tight 3 inch elastic band (that’s about 2 sizes too small) around my forehead. Mt brain is a cracked egg, with a chain saw whirring through the middle.

In short, I get really fucking hungover. When hungover I neck Nurofen and pints of water in my dressing gown. I can barely move without a bowel movement and I’m never sure which end to stick over the toilet.

I don’t go out a lot. I probably go out once a month. But when I go out, I go hard. Go hard or go home. (Sometimes I do have to go home, carried by my long enduring housemates at the embarrassing time of 1am, I love my housemates I really do…..). So my point is I enjoy and cherish my night outs. I have never been able to fathom why people would go out and not get riotously, wonderfully drunk. How can you go out and get ‘merry’ or ‘tipsy’? Nah mate, you GOTTA GET FUCKED UP. I can’t imagine anything worse than pretending to dance (jiggling your breasts and bum with your hands awkwardly static) in a smelly room full of sweaty people and sticky floors whilst not being completely, utterly off your face.

Today is the last day of my exams (I really should be learning something instead of writing this but I’ve never done anything sensible so why start now?) and tonight the whole of English second year (the formidable LitSoc) are going to be hitting up Legion. I don’t really rate the Legion, it tries too hard to be cool and forgets it’s in Surrey. Legion, you have a GU postcode, not an SE one, please let’s all stop pretending. Aside from that I don’t mind. It is a place, where alcohol is available and where I can embarrass myself in front of a willing audience. Perfect.

However, I am on medication. No, I’ll be honest. I’m on anti-depressants. Such an awkward conversation stopper that one. Well, get over it. Let’s just pretend their antibiotics so everyone can get their eyes off the floor and refrain from asking me if I am ‘mentally unstable’. I am perfectly lucid I assure you. And no, I’m not planning to kill myself any time soon.

Anyway, my fragile mind aside, I cannot drink on my meds. Because they are hormones or some shit.

When I told my Mother she responded with a shocked, ‘But what about your social life? Drinking is…errr….such a big part of your life.’

Oh, Mum. Drinking is such a big part of my life and now I don’t know how to have a social life.

I am regularly told you don’t have to get drunk to have fun, and I strongly believe that. I’ve had a fucking RIOT in the library with Faye and Gen before. But there is nothing I want to do less than wear a skimpy outfit in 9 degrees whilst a drunk man tries to grab my arse, stone cold sober. Everyone else will be drunk (and rightly so) and I will be painfully sober and  tired. No amount of coffee or godforsaken RedBull will give me the same buzz a Jagermeister would. 

So it with a heavy heart that I will not be attending. And now I’m stuck with the painful realisation that the foreseeable future will be just like this.

Maybe I will become a sort of carrot juice drinking hippy who rejects alcohol for the rest of their life. Maybe I will stop liking meat (unlikely) and only wear cheese cloth (impossible). In fact if my permanent state of sober induces me to start wearing cheese cloth and become a vegetarian, just shoot me. It’d be kinder on everyone.

When I do, eventually, inevitably, brave a night out, I’ll let you know how it goes. Maybe I’ll enjoy it, doubtful. Most likely I’ll hate it. If I hate it, I’ll write about it and make pleasant reading for you all. Over and out x

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