Does anyone remember in the early eighties, around the time of the Falklands war, there was a government pamphlet distributed on what to do in the event of a nuclear attack? I had it all figured out. In the case of an emergency I knew if I turned the dining room table over, painted the windows white and had a store of tinned food I may survive. My parents had to keep a keen eye on me over the months in fear that I would create my own bomb shelter in the lounge, paint and all!
The eighties seemed to have a string of government health warnings from AIDS awareness to the danger of toppling prams by hanging bags on handles. In today’s media the advertisements use shock tactics to highlight the dangers of crossing the road and keeping to the speed limit. The most common health warning seems to be aimed at young adults and the consequences of drinking too much. Regardless of the adverts, I knew I drank too much so I thought I’d research the effects of alcohol and see what the government advice is. Within minutes I find out I am a binge drinking alcoholic!
Following a sharp intake of breath I investigated the basic facts; the Government recommended weekly alcohol intake for a woman is fourteen units, twenty-one for a man. Is it only a surprise to me or does everyone know that one bottle of wine is ten units and a pint of lager is approximately three? Without a calculator I realise it is not uncommon during a week to not only drink my recommended alcohol intake but my housemates, the neighbours and Cousin Angela’s as well.
How and when did I become an alcoholic? A couple of large glasses of wine on return from work; do that for three nights totalling fifteen units. The weekend arrives and a few friends come over for a double vodka and Mojito extravaganza, at three units each drink. Let’s not do the maths I’ll get depressed and want a glass of wine! The good news is a large glass of Sherry is only one unit! I do not think I am drowning my sorrows or cracking under the pressure of work, excessive drinking just crept up on me.
After discovering these frightening facts I made a conscious effort to not drink and I was enjoying sobriety. I felt better, my head less foggy and my restructuring plan was working. There is a theory, I believe initiated by Freud, that the mind is in a state of war between two opposing emotions; the self harmony against the self destruction. So in true Freudian fashion the week was going too well and I needed to self-destruct, using Facebook as my weapon of choice.
When I decided to do a search for my ex girlfriend I had no idea how I would react. I was genuinely shocked to see her photo and within seconds I saw visions of myself sitting under a table with white-washed windows as a bomb exploded in my head. Following the hyperventilating and an overwhelming urge to throw up, there was only on thing left to do, cry.
What happened? Why was I so shocked and why did my mind implode? When my relationship ended we have had no contact. The person I once loved is no longer about but she selfishly still has a life without me! She will of course have new relationships, nights out and an internet social network. I just do not want to know about it because all the hurt, guilt and pain surfaces and suffocates.
We have had government health warnings for nuclear attacks, farmyard accidents and the consequences of binge drinking, but none for Facebook and the dangers of internet stalking. How do we prepare for that first punch in the stomach from the ex? The following day my self destruction disguised itself as curiosity and I looked again. There were no surprises when I had the same reaction. How did I deal with the surge of negative emotions, I had a drink!
So I have banned myself from Facebook, blocked her from finding me and am staying away from alcohol. Alternatively I could paint the windows white, become a recluse and live my life internet stalking. At least I can binge drink on sherry two or three times a week and stay within the limit!