Below is an exercise I undertook following my post on The Cups Relationship With Alcohol. I am going through a phase of experimenting with tarot interpretation and the idea below popped into my mind whilst I lay awake in bed one night. I have spent the last couple of weeks compiling this list and hope you find it both useful and entertaining.
** Please Note. The interpretations or Profiling below, have been created by me. I did not find them in any tarot text book. Neither were they taught to me by any Tarot Teacher in the past. The interpretations are not definitive or conclusive. I worked to relate alcohol to the individual cards in the Major Arcana in a way I hoped would be meaningful and thought-provoking. This is just an exercise and no one should apply any particular importance to it. I often get emails or comments asking me where I get my information from? To be honest, it comes from everywhere; stuff I have learned over the years, direct experience and other things. However, the type of work below comes mostly from me, but is tied in to the traditional associations of tarot. The interpretations reflect how my mind works and it is clear to the reader I am not a purist when it comes to tarot. These are just some interpretations that could be applied to the Major Arcana where alcohol is concerned. There are many more you could add to these. I am sure some of you will.
Alcohol Archetypes Of The Major Arcana
The Fool – I am too young to drink, underage. Sometimes my parents allow me a small glass of beer, or wine at social occasions where they can watch me. I don’t much like the stuff and can’t see what all the fuss is about. I prefer soft drinks to alcohol. A can of coke is my poison! I am a live-wire, an extrovert, outgoing and sociable. I have heard people often consume alcohol to overcome shyness or feelings of inadequacy. Not me, I don’t need any such crutches. I wouldn’t like to take anything that would dull my experience, make me appear silly or foolish, or sap me of energy. I am an early riser and like to be out and about, cycling, kayaking, climbing mountains or scaling cliff faces. Extreme sports and alcohol don’t mix. I would hate to miss out on life because of the hold alcohol had over me. I see it all around me. Friends who spend all their time and money on social activities that revolve around drinking. They are always at me, always trying to lure me into their boring scene. They are always on a mission to get me drunk, thinking their persuasive tactics will win out. I believe they would think it highly amusing to see me flat on my face or dying from a hangover like them. For all their slagging me off, I believe they are envious of me. I say ‘get a life’. As for hangovers, I haven’t a clue what they are and what they feel like for I have never had one.
**I like to experiment with alcohol as I am not that fussy about what I drink and haven’t yet settled on any particular preference. I drink anything I am given, whatever is going. Through the teeth and round the gums, look out stomach here I come! I am known to do crazy things, fool around and be up for a laugh when I have few on me. I like to sing when I am drunk, whether invited to or not. People often shout out their windows threatening to call the police because of the racket I make out on the street. I may be drunk, but I am jolly and good-humored, good-natured. I don’t deliberately intend to cause harm. I get high-spirited when I drink. Where’s the crime in that?
Rx – I am the drinker who fails to learn from my past drunken disasters. I am the high-spirited reveler who foolishly thinks I will not suffer adverse effects from excess or prolonged drinking, that I will be fine in the morning. My favourite saying is ‘Let’ts drink and be merry, for tomorrow we die’. Early bed and moderate drinking is for old people. I either fail to hear the warning bells or choose to ignore them when out drinking with my friends. It seems to be a particular one drink too many that tips me over the edge. Once that happens I loose the total run of myself. I live in the moment without a care for the hangover that will follow in hours. My friends tell me I have had enough, but they are just lightweights and don’t know how to enjoy themselves. I have been known to do some really daft, and at times, dangerous things when under the influence. I can’t hold my drink and have passed out on many occasions leaving my friends to carry me home.
**I am also the underage drinker, the young teenager who manages to get their hands on alcohol. I sneak bottles of spirit from my parent’s drink’s cabinet, use fake ID to purchase trays of cheap beer or bottles of vodka, or employ the help of an older person complicit in buying the drink on my behalf. I tend not to drink when on my own as there is more fun when in a group as we can laugh at each other’s drunken antics and silly talk. One of our typical drinking scenarios is on the occasion of school or community alcohol-free discos aimed at young teenagers. Plans for sourcing alcohol is well discussed several weeks in advance. As a group, we each know where we most likely can access drink that will not be immediately missed. Sometimes this involves taking it in small increments over a period of time, storing it away where it won’t be discovered. Getting our secret stash out of our houses is simple. A rucksack can conceal a lot and will not be questioned by nosey parents. However, we must wrap the individual bottles carefully to avoid unwanted clinking as we head out the door. Once out, our aim is to meet up somewhere in advance of the disco and share out our loot. Vodka is the spirit of choice as it does not leave a smell of alcohol on the breath. We may only have an hour before the disco starts so the idea is to get tanked up as quickly as possible because we cannot bring the stuff in with us due to being frisked for alcohol at the door. Drinking and getting drunk makes us look cool and grown up. We are rebels, daring and brave, nothing like the goody-two-shoes teens who obediently follow the rules. We don’t care if we get caught.
**I am the underage teenage drinker who downed a naggin of vodka in half and hour and cannot stand up. I felt fine initially, looked cool and sophisticated knocking it back from the neck of the bottle whilst smoking a cigarette. It made me mildly merry and I thought, this is fun. Then it hit very suddenly. I am not used to alcohol you see, have no real experience of it, didn’t understand how it would effect me. I went from slightly tipsy to completely intoxicated in a matter of minutes. My speech is slurred, my movements clumsy, my gait all over the place. I keep falling over. I go from being giddy and laughing, to emotional and crying. It’s the room spinning that finally finishes me off, as I hit the floor, projectile vomiting as I fall. A big fuss is made over me, with people looking concerned or panicked, especially if I black out altogether and they can’t bring me around. I have to be put in the recovery position. On occasions, I have been taken to hospital, considered an emergency, at risk of aspirating on my own vomit or dying of hypothermia. My parents are called and all hell breaks lose. I am one sorry and very sick teenager for some time after. But, will I learn my lesson from this? Maybe, maybe not!
The Magician – I am a connoisseur of fine wine, champagne and whiskey and like to showcase it. My travels have taken me to some of the world’s greatest vineyards, wine caves and distilleries; sampling their best vintage, and any cheeky young wines they reserve for discerning visitors. I know my wines and whiskeys, my palate sensitive to both subtle and strong aroma and bouquet. The owners and vintners of such vineyards and wineries know me by name as I am one of their best clients. They present me with only the finest of their reserves – they know what I like, what will appeal to me. Many a pleasurable and companionable afternoon has been spent sampling varying bottles and discussing their complexities. Deciding what vintage or reserve to buy can be quite complicated. I am very learned where this is concerned so know what I am talking about. I know instinctively which to set aside for months or years, and which can be imminently consumed. I buy by the crate, not the bottle. I choose wines and whiskeys for personal consumption, some for sharing at dinner parties, and then there are the extra-special ones that are reserved for close friends, associates, and business clients who recognise a label and vintage when they see it. I like to impress them, to dazzle them with my knowledge and make them envious of my collection. The house I live in took some time to find. It had to come complete with a wine cellar or a space that could be converted into one. My wine cellar is my pride and joy. It is where I spend much time, dusting old bottles, taking inventory and sometimes just sitting in the cool peace and tranquility. An invite to my house for dinner is much sought after. Those select few who are invited know they will be treated to some of the best wines and whiskeys available. The very thought of it makes them salivate. When selecting the wines, whiskeys and liqueurs for a dinner party, I spend much time in deliberation. One cannot throw any old bottle on the table and hope for the best. Indeed not. I have particular wines for each stage; appetizers, palate cleansers, dessert, and those that aid digestion. My guests are spoiled for choice. When the occasion calls for it, I can produce an impressive bottle of champagne; Krug, Cristal, Bollinger, Dom Perignon, or Veuve de Clicquot. Interested in a limited edition Craft Beer, I can produce that too. When you are invited as a guest to my home and dinner table, you will not be expected to bring your own bottle for it is unlikely it could ever match anything I may have to offer you. So what can I get you to drink then? Wine, Whiskey, Spirit or Beer? Or would you like me to choose for you?
**I am also a highly qualified expert in wine-making and have made a career out of it. My passion for wine became a career for me over the years. Such was my interest in this fascinating subject, I decided to throw myself in to the study of it. I wanted to know everything there was to know about wine-making. And so I became an Oenologist. For those who are not familiar with such a term, Oenology, also known as viniculture is the scientific study of wine and wine-making. Oenology or viniculture is not to be confused with viticulture which is the study of vine growing and wine grape harvesting, but should you need advise in this area, I can help you out too as I am also a highly qualified viticulturist. Impressed? My career takes me all over the world where I act as a consultant to the most prestigious wine growers. As an Oenologist, I have the knowledge and skills to create new wine blends or develop revolutionary wine-making processes. I also have shares in several vineyards. However, I am currently working on a personal project which has been years in the planning. I purchased my own vineyard back when it was a buyers market. I have been painstakingly converting the land and soil to organic as my market research shows there is a growing demand for such wines. My vineyard will eventually produce the most wonderful organic wines you will find, but until then it will be hard, hard work.
Rx – I am the person who thinks them self a wine buff, a bit of an expert where all drink is concerned. Well, I did attend a weekend workshop which issued certificates of participation to all attendees. My certificate is framed and hangs proudly in my front room where all visitors can see it. Armed with such knowledge, I like to visit vineyards when I am on vacation to buy a few bottles of whatever they have on special offer. Producing such foreign bottles to my friends when they visit always gains me kudos as it proves I know what I am talking about. I host a lot of social gatherings or dinner parties and like to impress guests with my extensive knowledge of grape variety, vineyard and vintage learned on my weekend workshop (don’t forget my certificate of participation). I can speak for hours on the subject and am sure my guests are fascinated, and no doubt envious of my expertise. I live in a modest sized house, but have converted a spare room into my own private bar, complete with darts board and Karoke system. It’s something I always wanted. My bar is fully stocked and has beer on tap. Many the mad night has been spent here with friends and family, drinking and laughing till the wee small hours of the morning.
**I am also the one everyone defers to when ordering wine at a social gathering or dinner. I like to make a big fuss of this and engage the Sommelier in conversation for much time, asking pertinent questions about every choice on the menu. I often find the Sommelier to be lacking in specific knowledge and get a degree of satisfaction pointing this out to him/her as I showcase my superior mastery of the subject. I never order a bottle of wine without perusing the list for much time, which often irritates my fellow diners. Well, left to them, they would happily order a couple of bottles of house wine and be done with it. No, I ask about this and that. I also request wines that are not on the list and can argue with the Sommelier as to the impact of their absence. Once I have made my selection, I of course expect to sample it. This again is a ritual I am skilled at. The anxious Sommelier hovers over me as I examine and smell the cork to determine its condition and authenticity, swirl and sniff the wine, take a decent sip, hold it for seconds on my tongue before swishing it around my mouth. Everyone watches as I go through this process. I always delay in offering my verdict as I like to allow the flavours enhance. If it is not to my liking, I dismiss it and the whole process starts again with another bottle. I also have a reputation for sending back half-drunk bottles of wine, claiming them to be corked. I take a similar approach to my food and regularly complain about dishes that are not to my liking. Just recently I complained about a Sommelier I overheard calling me a know-it-all and got my meal and wine for free that night.
**Looking for some contraband and black market alcohol, I am your guy. I have connections in many places. I smuggle in dirt cheap alcohol from a number of sources, then stick fake brand name labels on the bottles. My sales pitch is very convincing and I never check for age I.D. Who cares what age they are once they have the bucks to pay! They all fall for my spiel, so keen are they to bag a bargain, they don’t notice the taste difference or spelling mistakes on labels. I make a very nice living off it
The High Priestess – I don’t drink at all. Have never even tasted alcohol. I am not the legal age to consume alcohol. Even if I was, it is against my religion. It is frowned on for women, especially young women, to drink. I prefer soft drinks or water. I don’t think I will ever drink as it does not appeal to me. Alcohol is known to change people’s personalities, loosen their inhibitions, cloud their judgment, interfere with memory and destroy their virtue. Those with alcohol consumed are easily manipulated and prone to temptation. I cannot take the risk of my virtue and impeccable reputation being destroyed or sullied because of alcohol. I may be seen as a loose woman, easily taken advantage of by those who would seek to ply me with alcohol and then have their wicked way with me. Should I fall foul in that manner, I would feel tainted, shamed and tainted.
** I am a person of position and rank. I may be from a family of great social standing, of royalty even, or I may be involved in politics, business, education. It would not appear seemly for me to display a fondness for alcohol or to be observed consuming a lot of it. I must be very careful not to appear like I need a drink, but I must also be seen to follow whatever etiquette the situation demands. Therefore, if drinking alcohol is part of that etiquette, at a gala dinner or important event, I must be seen to partake, whilst not really partaking. My drinking is only an act, a pretense. I can conceal the fact I am not drinking quite well for I have mastered the art of it. When I raise the flute of champagne or glass of wine to my lips, you may think you see me sip it, but all I do is mimic the act. I press my lips to the rim of the glass and simulate a gentle sip. I then lower the glass careful to conceal it’s still full contents. Depending on the circumstances, I can sometimes arrange water to be poured into my wine glass or champagne flute which gives the impression I am drinking when in reality I am not. It is important I never change my demeanor in front of others. Even a little glass of wine could make me behave too relaxed around people. They would be quick to take advantage of my lowered defenses, seek private or confidential information from me, pretend to be my friend. They would only delight in my lips loosening, of vino veritas taking over. There must always be a barrier between me and those whose company I am in. Alcohol can weaken those boundaries. People watch me closely in the hope they will see the slightest slip up, but I am very controlled and disciplined in this area. I could never allow alcohol to drop my guard. I do enjoy a glass of good wine, but you will never be around to witness that.
Rx – I am appearing to drink but not. This is not to save my reputation, but to keep a clear head. I pretend to drink around those I need to feel relaxed around me. I must let on I am drinking with them so they do not suspect me of anything untoward. Drinkers tend to be suspicious of those in their company who abstain. My job is let them think I am one of them and so I sip my glass, laugh at their pathetic jokes and come across all interested in what they have to say. You see I like to keep a clear head as I need one to absorb all the interesting information people disclose when under the influence. Yes, I am the pourer of the wine bottle, the filler of whiskey glasses, the one who pops the champagne cork. I like to keep the drink flowing, glasses topped up. The more they drink, the more they talk. They become sentimental and emotional and I play to this, telling them I am there for them, encouraging them to get it off their chest, to trust me implicitly, that I am their friend, their confidante. I know how this goes, can pinpoint the drink that finally drops their guard while I maintain mine. Then they are putty in my hands. They become sloppy about security; leave briefcases and wallets lying around and doors unlocked. I know everything about them, all their secrets, while they know nothing about me. And what will I do with all this knowledge. Maybe nothing, maybe something. It is useful to have it there, to be used as leverage if needed. They think they know me, but I am a cool customer.
** I am also the one who has a secret drinking problem which I manage to conceal with great success. I am a functioning alcoholic. Never will you see me overdoing it with alcohol in public or at social events. No, that is not my style. I prefer to drink when no one is around. I have bottles secretly stashed around my home, even in the office. I never look disheveled or unkempt even when suffering from a hangover. I always maintain an impeccable appearance and do my job extremely well. Sometimes I get ratty when I feel particularly bad, but people think it is just me having a bad day as I can be quite frosty at times. My receptionist knows about my drinking, has discovered my secret stash, observed me taking painkillers. However, they would never mention this to me, for they know I would fire them instantly. I don’t like people knowing my business. Knowing that she/he is watching for signs of my drinking is not on.
The Empress – I am the mother to be who wouldn’t dream of drinking when pregnant. The health of my growing baby is the most important thing in my world right now and alcohol is very dangerous for the fetus as it develops. I must be very careful of what I put in my body, not just what I drink but what I eat as well. Staying off alcohol is not a big deal really as my body tends to look after that for me. One of the first signs of pregnancy for me is a sudden dislike or drop in desire for alcohol. Another is horrendous heartburn. I go, aha, what is happening here? Sometimes I miss not being able to have a drink, especially at social occasions but am so grateful the next morning. Of course I drink when not pregnant, but since I had children, the opportunities are not as frequent. Gone are my days of single drinking when I could go out boozing with my friends or partner, and then sleep it off the next day. Really, it is not a good idea for your kids to see you drinking. You know, role model, setting good examples and all that. I need to stay vigilant around my children. Even one glass makes me less alert. I would worry that something might happen to my kids while I am enjoying myself. The day is very busy when you have kids. By the time I have them all fed, washed and in bed, I am so tired, the only interest I have is in falling into bed. Sometimes when they are asleep, I have a sneaky glass of wine, but rarely finish it. Also, hangovers are just not worth it when you have little ones.
** I am the home brewer. I like to brew my own beer, make sloe gin, and my own wine. I use the produce from my garden to flavor some of my concoctions. Eager to get feedback, I am a prolific gifter of my produce which is prettily labelled and packaged. I am also a big fan of organic wines and beers as they are are free from the chemicals you find in other mass produced brands. I swear you can drink copious amounts of these without suffering a nasty headache in the morning. I am also the friend or neighbour who immediately produces a glass of wine or beer whenever you drop in. I seem to have it on tap. I like to share a glass or two, or bottle, with good company and like the relaxed aspect of sitting at the kitchen table or out the back garden. I do make sure you have adequate supplies of nibbles and savoury snacks. I rustle these up whilst you watch me from the kitchen table, protesting that you ‘only called in to borrow something’. Yes, so, you are still here and drinking wine, but what does it matter? Enjoy!
Rx – I am the mother to be who drinks throughout my pregnancy. Yes, I have heard all the warnings about fetal alcohol syndrome, but it hasn’t stopped me. I drank through all my pregnancies and my kids seem to be okay, except for chronic asthma and respiratory infections. I agree they have been hospitalised on occasions, but sure all kids get sick. I smoke too! Alcohol never made me queasy during pregnancy like it does to other mothers I know. Thank god for that as life would be very miserable without drink. The only downside is the hassle my kids give me when I have a hangover. I like to go out at the weekends and enjoy myself, just like I did before I had kids but sleeping it off the next day is a pain as they get up so early and start looking for things. I roar at them, threaten them, you name it, but they make such a racket. The only thing to do is get up, sort them out and get back to bed. On those mornings I drag myself from bed, fetch their breakfast and turn on the television before going back to bed. They are fine minding themselves while I sleep. The television keeps them occupied. As soon as they are old enough, they can get their own breakfast. I have a right to a life too, don’t I? Needless to say, I don’t do anything with the kids at the weekend. Their friends go swimming, play sport and go on outings. Sure, I am too tired for that, and how much would all that cost? Anyway, they like watching television. I treat them with take-aways as I couldn’t be bothered cooking dinner.
** I am the mother whose baby’s christening, birthday parties and events are dominated by alcohol. Yes, it may be my baby’s or child’s special day, but who says I can’t or shouldn’t make it an adult’s bash too? I am the mother who places more emphasis on catering to the adults at my children’s parties than I do to the children themselves. This is not to say I don’t push the boat out for my children too. After all, didn’t I organise a sit down meal, including wine, for 80 at my last child’s christening? I know I had a full bar set up for my daughter’s 5th birthday, but didn’t she have a bouncy castle and Magician to entertain her and her friends? I trust the older children to look after the younger ones while I enjoy a few drinks. I do enquire every now and then as to the children’s whereabouts, but never go to check myself.
** I am also the mother who let my children down, failed to protect them, to mind them because I was under the influence of alcohol at the time. When I should have been overseeing what they were doing, were they were and who they were playing with, I was drinking instead. I took my eye off the ball. I am the mother who put my children’s lives at risk by taking them in the car when I was not capable of driving. I will never forgive myself. I am also the mother who fails to get my children to school in the morning because of my excessive drinking. I am also the mother who fails to collect my children from school or turns up at the school gate stinking of alcohol. I am the mother who is at risk of her children being taken into care because of my drinking.
**I am the alcoholic mother/wife/woman
** I am the unplanned pregnancy that results from drunken sex without thought of contraception.
** I am a teetotaler. I am the Leader of The Women’s Temperance Movement during Prohibition.
**I am the person who always appears when I know you have just opened a bottle of wine and expect you to share it with me. I am the neighbour who spots you sitting in your garden sipping a glass of wine and hangs around the garden fence until you offer me one. I am the friend or neighbour who never returns the hospitality. I will drink all your wine, beer and nibbles, but never dream of producing anything myself even though I have plenty at home.
The Emperor – I am the Lawmaker who sets legislation where alcohol is concerned. I decide what the legal age is, when and where alcohol can be sold, limits for driving under the influence and the penalties that will be imposed if you exceed them. I am the stern judge you will come up against in court for any drink-related offences you are accused of. I take a very dim view of anyone who dares breaks the laws set down by me.
**I am able to control my drinking. I like alcohol just like anyone else, but you will never find me the worst for wear because of it. I know what I can handle, what agrees and disagrees with my system and exactly how many drinks I can have before it starts negatively affecting me. I never touch a drop until after 6pm regardless of what is happening. This will find me drinking water at daytime events and social gatherings for I never make any exception regarding my personal boundaries where alcohol consumption is concerned. I like to keep a clear head and my wits about me. I must be able to engage in any level of conversation required, make important decisions for both myself and others, analyse incoming information and act accordingly. If I am called upon to deal with an emergency, come to the aid of another, I must be able to competently and safely do so. I can never reach a level of incapacitation that would render me unfit, or incapable of maintaining control and staying in charge of my environment. I have a certain reputation to maintain. My position, rank or status would not sit well with inebriation or drunkenness. Those who look up to me, respect me and understand my rank would be horrified should they see me lose control in such a manner. I would not be able to maintain my authority if I was known for hitting the bottle. I see so many turn idiotic under the influence of alcohol. They fool themselves into thinking they are among friends, relaxed, enjoying the moment like everyone else. They are wrong. They are been watched and monitored by the very ones who encourage and facilitate their drinking. Those who take note of messy behaviour, incoherent speech and fumbling gestures. One cannot help but loose respect for these individuals who have no idea how damaging their behaviour is. You will never find me fall into that category. I am the boss who hosts a celebratory dinner after winning a major contract or merger. I expect you to partake of the alcohol supplied, but only to a certain limit regardless of how many bottles you are surrounded with. It does not mean you must drink until it is all gone. I will watch to see who takes a celebratory drink and leaves it at that, and who sees it as an open invitation to drink until drunk. I make mental notes. It is those similar to myself I will keep around. I will expect to see you first thing in the morning, clear in head and body. Don’t let me down.
**I am the father who takes his role very seriously. I am an exemplary role model to my children. Yes, I like to have a drink, but I would never let my children see me in a drunken state. Perhaps, I drank more before I had children, but now I have responsibilities. When I am with my children, I need to stay in charge, be alert and vigilant. Should any of my children be out late or the likes, I need to respond to their call should they need my assistance. I must be able to get behind the wheel of my car, go fetch them and sort out any dilemma they may find themselves caught up in. For my adolescent children, I set very definite rules where alcohol is concerned. I abide by the law of the land. You will not find me allowing my young teenager a bottle of beer before they are legally allowed to. I am meticulous in that manner. Rules are there for a very good reason.
Rx – I am Prohibition. Such is my authority, position and rank I can ban alcohol entirely should I decide to. I see alcohol as evil and the ruination of our society. It rots the brains of otherwise good men, making them lazy and indolent. I introduce radical measures to control or ban the use of it. Those found breaking the laws I have imposed are dealt with swiftly and severely. Many say the punishment is too extreme for the offence but that is for me to decide. I decide what is best for my people, my family.
** I am the lawmaker who sets legislation for alcohol use. I am also the man of position and rank, a supposed role model. However, I have one rule for the common folk, and another for myself and those of note. I may write into law the alcohol limit for driving, or lecture others about it, but I don’t intend it should apply to me. I am above the law. I drink and drive as I please, confident there will be no consequences to face should I be stopped and breathalyzed. I have contacts and connections everywhere, important people who will ensure charges are written off, evidence torn up, and witnesses silenced. I use my influence to get friends, associates, celebrities and politicians off drink-driving offences. I have so many in my pocket, people who owe me or need to stay in my favor. There are many advantages to having power.
** I am the alcoholic father, husband or man. The one who spends more time in the pub with his cronies than he does at home with his family. I am the father/spouse/man who becomes aggressive or violent under the influence of alcohol. I use my authority and control to instill fear. I become cranky and unreasonable when drunk, picking arguments and causing damage. I have little or no control over my drinking and lack the self-discipline to do anything about it. Oh, yes, I make regular promises to all and sundry but am too weak willed to keep them. Alcohol controls me and I allow it. It has had a detrimental influence in my life. When I drink to excess, which is often as I don’t know when to stop, I cause mayhem and upset. My drinking is chaotic and destabilising. You might find me drunk first thing in the morning, late afternoon and almost every night. There is always an excuse to drink. Nothing in my life is as it should be. It is up to other people to sort out the mess my drinking has created.
**I am the father who put my children’s lives at risk by taking them in the car when I was not capable of driving. I will never forgive myself.
The Hierophant – Alcohol is against the law in my religion, and I being the elder and leader of said religion am in a position to punish those who deign break the law God has put in place for their own good. It is a sin. Therefore I operate a system of zero tolerance for all my flock. Those found guilty of defying the laws laid down by me will be severely dealt with.
** I am the organisations, both lay and religious who run support centers for those with alcohol problems. My door is always open and I offer help in many ways. Together with my volunteers we travel the streets at night bringing food to those who sleep rough, offer them a bed for the night during cold weather, and take them to hospital should they need medical attention. I do not expect thanks, reward or acknowledgement for the work I do. My desire is to lessen their suffering. I am not here to force them into sobriety, but will assist them if they do. They may be drunk, homeless and dirty but they are still human beings, god’s creatures, and need to be treated with compassion.
**I am the one who takes the Pledge not to drink. I may join an organisation of like-minded people and promote the idea of refraining from alcohol. My decision to not drink may or may not be related to religion or preferring a healthy lifestyle, but rather considering alcohol a substance that has caused much harm to family life. I may align myself to a Pioneer Group or Association, such as The PTAA (Pioneer Total Abstinence Association). I might wear a badge or pin to acknowledge my membership. I like to encourage others to join.
**I am the traditional drinker. The one who likes to drink in the bar or pub, but would never touch a drop at home. Unless of course it is festive season. I don’t like to experiment with drink and prefer to stick to what I know. I am a beer/wine/whiskey person, drinking the same brand for years now. I know this is very predictable but I think there is too much choice available now.
Rx – I carry a shameful secret. I have been partaking of the sacramental wine kept in the church confines. It started as just a tipple, but now I am finishing a complete bottle. It is only a matter of time before the discrepancy in stock is discovered. The religious life can be quite lonely. People put us on pedestals, expect us to be virtuous, without sin, but we are just human at the end of the day. Those that are troubled with alcohol addiction turn to me for pastoral advice and religious support. Who can I turn to, but the bottle itself?
**I am the hypocrisy of religious leaders. While many in our flock, parish or church have very little or go without, we enjoy only the best of fare. When the bishops or other visiting important religious heads come to dinner, we partake of some of the best wines available. Many of these holy men would turn their nose up at anything less, feeling insulted and affronted at not being treated as VIP’s.
** I am a Temperance Crusader. I am puritanical and fanatical about the evils of alcohol. I see those who consume alcohol as great sinners who have sold their soul to the devil and will burn in hell. We live in an era of excess, with alcohol being one of the worst offenders and abused by so many. Alcohol encourages depravity and debauchery and must be wiped out. It is my duty as a God Fearing person to help purge the world of this evil. The day of reckoning is coming.
The Lovers – Alcohol often precedes our lovemaking. Any inhibitions we might have about the act or our nakedness, greatly diminishes after we have shared a bottle or two of wine. Alcohol helps to turn us on and get us in the mood for sex or lovemaking. Sometimes I am not even thinking about sex, not planning on having it, and then I drink a bottle of wine and everything changes.
** As a couple we share a passion for wine and like to buy the best we can. We enjoy going to specialist wine shops, visiting vineyards on vacation and selecting a few choice bottles. We save these good bottles for special dinners at home and discuss the wine at length. We dine out regularly and choose restaurants or bistros where the wine menu is know to be excellent. We don’t always agree on what is nice and what is not. Even though we have very similar tastes, we do differ at times. I like something, rave about it even, while he finds it barely palatable and vice versa. We argue and debate our reasons. It is all part of the fun of discovery.
**I have a good relationship with alcohol, a healthy respect for it. It has a place in my life, just a place. I never drink too much or to the extent that I lose control and put myself in danger when out on a date. It is easy to down a few drinks to overcome nerves, but I am super cautious about staying in control of myself. Just because my date comes across all nice, friendly and interested, doesn’t mean to say they would not take advantage of me should I get drunk. I also guard against destroying a potentially good relationship by getting drunk on our first night. What will my date think of me? Will they presume this is my regular behaviour? I certainly don’t want my date to get drunk either. It would definitely leave a bad impression on me. I want to get to know my date, remember what we discussed, to wake up the next morning remembering how I got home and not mortified by what I said or did. Neither do I want to be disgusted by what they said or did. Alcohol has a place in my love life but it does not define it. As a couple we have great times together with or without alcohol. Not every date or outing has to revolve around drink. Neither do we need alcohol to relax us, to overcome shyness or to mask insecurity. When we have alcohol, it enhances our time together, but it is not essential.
Rx – Sometimes I have woken up to discover another person in my bed and I have no, or vague, recollection of what happened between us that night. Office parties, work conferences, stag/hen nights are a particular danger zone for me. I can be relied upon to disappear with a colleague or someone I have just met on the dance floor. The fact they may be married, in a relationship with another, even with one of my group is irrelevant. Alcohol reduces my inhibitions so much I lose all sense of judgment, conscience and morals, which leads me into areas of dangerous temptation, risky sexual practices and sexual exploitation. At times I get so drunk I can’t remember if I used protection or not. Then again, being drunk makes me care less about contraception. It isn’t the issue it should be. When seriously under the influence, I can agree to any suggestions or proposals made to me. I have indulged in hedonistic behaviour and allowed others to use me as they will.
**I am the bad decision, the poor judgement, the lapse of resolve or good intention when too much alcohol has been consumed. I am doing something I wouldn’t do whilst sober. I am crossing a line that shouldn’t be crossed. I am giving into temptation, a dangerous dalliance, inappropriate behaviour. I am dropping my guard because of alcohol. I am throwing caution to the wind. I am kissing, throwing myself at, or having sex with one who belongs to another. I am unbridled lust released through alcohol. I am going beyond a point of no return. I am alcohol initiating an affair, triggering a chain reaction of events. I am broken down morals, a lack of conscience, responsibility or propriety.
The more I drink, the more attractive my date or the stranger across the bar becomes.
** I am the relationship where alcohol plays a feature role. I am not being able to go out socially as a couple without drink involved. I am the heated rows, aggressive arguments, vicious accusations, put downs and slights that occur between couples after a heavy night on the booze. I am ‘vino veritas’ – revealing to your partner/spouse feelings about them you have secretly entertained or kept to yourself. I am being forthcoming about personal and private information I have never mentioned to my partner/spouse before. I am the realisation upon soberness of what was disclosed, and the possible fallout from such revelation. I am the barrage of apologies, the ‘It was the drink, I didn’t mean to say that’. I am being too late to take it back.
The Chariot – I never drink and drive. I leave the car at home and take a taxi, or opt to be the designated driver for the night. Not even the day after a night out will I dare to get behind the wheel of a car as I like to know that all traces of alcohol have left my system. It is just too dangerous otherwise. Driving is a huge responsibility. I am a law-abiding citizen and never take any chances.
** I am Drink Driving Campaigns. I am an advocate for drink driving awareness. I seek to pique or activate public conscience. I communicate to the public, the drink driving laws laid out by The Emperor. I envisage effective ways to create public awareness of the dangers of drinking while under the influence. I inform them of the drink driving limits set in law and the penalties for breaking them.
** I am the strong will-power and determination it takes to abstain from alcohol for any period of time. I really enjoy having drink but once I decide to cut it out for awhile, I do just that. I can stop immediately and just get on with it. I am currently signed up to the ‘One Year, No Beer’ and thoroughly enjoying the challenge. I’m up for it. Are you?
Rx – The Drink Driving Laws are ridiculous. Drinking doesn’t affect my judgement or reaction time when driving. In fact, I think I am more relaxed in my driving with a couple of drinks on me. I can have several drinks and find it doesn’t impair my judgement at all. I am a fast driver and well able to control my car even when under the influence. No one is going to tell me what I can and can’t do. To avoid police checks on the road, I know all the minor back routes where you never encounter them. Whenever I see a check point, I alert my drinking friends via text or social media posting. We keep each other informed of which roads are not being monitored and use those. We feel quite smug about outsmarting the police. Would I stop if I hit anyone and knew I was over the limit? I would probably keep going if there were no witnesses around. I have no insurance or car tax either so I would be a mug to hang around.
**I am the one who has been done for drink driving. I have been banned from driving, lost my licence and good name with it. I was lucky to have just lost my licence, others like me have caused the injury or death of another while driving under the influence. I have learned my lesson.
** I am the one who ignored the alcohol limits for driving and caused an accident. I am directly responsible for causing the injury or death of another. My blatant disregard for the dangers of driving under the influence of alcohol has ended in tragedy and trauma. I acted without conscience or regard for others. No amount of apologies will ever make up for what I have done. I have also ruined my own life and now have a criminal conviction. I am the drunk driver who is handed down a prison sentence because of the severity of harm I have caused. I may also be seriously injured or paralysed. as a result of my own stupidity.
** I am the victim of an accident caused by a drunk driver. I am the passenger, the person/s in the other vehicle/s involved, the innocent pedestrian.
** I am the one who was all mouth about accepting the ‘One Year No Beer’ challenge, the one who got all my friends on board. I am now the only one who dropped out. My will-power was not strong enough, didn’t have the staying power. I made it through the first month but that was it. I suppose it works for some, but not for others.
Strength – I am 8 years sober this week and let me tell you, it is the hardest 8 years I have ever had to endure. Once an alcoholic, always an alcoholic, even if I never touch a drink again. All it would take is just one drink, one sip to send me spiraling out of control and back into the nightmare existence I have struggled to escape. The desire is still there you know, every day I face it. I still think about alcohol, dream about it, fantasise about it, but it no longer has the control over me it once commanded. It almost killed me, but I have taken back control. How did I do this? It was a painful process in which I was forced to face my inner demons, the emotional and psychological aspects of me that drove me to drink. Drink was my crutch. Now I have made friends with the dark side of my personality, my shadow side and no longer drink to suppress it. I forgive myself for not being perfect and for all the ruination my drinking caused to not only me, but all those around me too. I am still an alcoholic, but have found a way to live with that. I am at peace within.
**I don’t like what drink does to me so I make sure never to drink to excess. I am a happy drunk, never violent. I have direct experience of the damage alcohol can cause within families. I feel sorry for my drunk father/mother/partner/spouse. I am the only one who can handle him/her when he/she is bad.
** I have hit a rough patch on my ‘One Year No Beer’ challenge. I was doing fine, but I have a big social event coming up and know their will be drink flowing all around me. I am seriously considering allowing myself one day off from the challenge. After getting this far without touching a drop, I would hate to cave in though. I could turn down the invite, but that would mean missing out on a great day. I will have to be strong and psyche myself up for declining offers of drinks and try to work up an excitement for tonic water and ginger ale. If I can get through that event without touching a drop, I am home and dry.
Rx – This is my third slip up, my third attempt to quit the drink. I start off with good intentions and everything is going well, even though I constantly crave alcohol. I have triggers that drive me to the bottle you see. I can be strong and determined one moment, days, weeks even, and then something happens, or someone says something to me. Before I know it, I am halfway through a bottle of the hard stuff. I am weak, have no willpower or self-discipline. This is who I am. It’s the same old, same old scenario. I hate to confess, but I get pretty aggressive with drink on me and am known to lose my temper. I have lashed out at those who I am supposed to love, those who say they are trying to help me. They want me to go to Rehab, to get help, but I can’t see it working for me. I am an alcoholic and can’t do anything about it.
** I am alcohol bringing out the worst in one. I am not a nice person when under the influence. My personality which is always a bit temperamental, edgy, and reactive when sober, goes into overdrive when drunk. I become nasty and aggressive. I am verbally abusive and disruptive. I get angry with everything and everyone. I take out all my self-loathing on others. I am particularly difficult with those who have to deal with or look after me during my drunken sprees. I say mean things to them, call them names and have physically lashed out at them when they try to help me.
The Hermit – I gave up alcohol many years ago. I wasn’t exactly a raging alcoholic in the typical sense, but I was an alcoholic nonetheless. That is why it took me a long time to acknowledge I had a problem. Looking at me now, you would never think I had a big job in the city, expensive apartment, top of the range car and a hectic social life. I was living the lifestyle everyone dreams of and actively played the part on the bright young things scene. I worked hard and partied even harder still. It was a treadmill that once aboard was impossible to get off. I needed to keep up the pace. The danger was in stopping or taking a break, for then the crash came. The crash was coming anyway, but it seemed to happen abruptly if you chose to stop suddenly. Thing is, no one wanted you to stop. Those that did lost their popularity, were demoted, even fired. My crash came about suddenly, but deep down was not unexpected. I was drinking to excess. I was trying to carry out my work whilst still inebriated from the night before. I was liquid lunches, plying big clients with alcohol morning, noon and night. I was a functioning alcoholic but didn’t know it. Indeed it was actively encouraged, even praised. Alcohol seemed to flow freely in my work environment. That is all in the past now. Now I am your AA Sponsor, your crutch. I am here to help you get sober and stay sober, just like I did. I am here to show you the way. I am who you can lean on, rely on. I am the person who understands you only because I have been there myself. I am here to listen to you, to counsel but never judge. I have survived alcoholism and can assist you do the same. I am the Twelve Step Program that will help you achieve sobriety. I am here for you. I am the absolute need to identify the root of your problems before you can take the necessary steps to overcome them. I encourage you to face your inner-demons and make peace with them. I am proof there is life after alcoholism. Inner-peace and tranquility is my new drug, the things I get my high from.
**I am also drinking alone or to numb loneliness. I am also drinking alone because I like it. Nothing nicer than sitting down to relax with a glass of good wine. I am having no one to share a bottle of wine with, to raise a toast with. I am finishing the bottle all by myself.
Rx – I am the refusal or inability to adhere to the 12 Step Program. I have given up on AA even if AA never gave up on me. They say you need to want to give up alcohol to succeed in sobriety. I didn’t want to quit you see, or hadn’t the strength to. I have tried and failed countless times. I do not know where to start addressing my problems. I am what happens when you don’t. I am drifting away from all you know, losing contact with family and friends. I am being no longer able to fit into society. I am the reclusive alcoholic who lives in the ramshackle hut on the side of a hill, the drunk sleeping on the park bench everyone sidesteps and tries to ignore. I am dirty and undesirable, my life wasted and destroyed by alcohol. I am no longer recognisable; my hair matted and messed, my clothes stained and worn. I sleep rough, my hands wrapped around a well-crumpled paper bag, it’s contents my only raison d’etre. I am not fussy about what I drink. As long as it is alcohol, that is all I care about. Sometimes I wake covered in my own vomit or urine. I am harassed by the authorities and other bums or drunks like me. When it is cold or snowing, people come in a van and give me soup and food. Sometimes they give me a bed for the night in a hostel but often as not, I refuse their help. I prefer to live on the street. All these people wanting to save me from myself while I couldn’t bother to try. I did have a life before. All the things that are considered normal. I was someone who had a job, home, even a wife and family. The drink did me in you see. People tried to help me but I pushed them all away. And so they eventually went, all of them. I am have lost everything and am alone but for my brown paper bag and its contents. They said I lost my way, became lost to them. I will probably die alone too, out on these streets, in the cold. It is a lonely existence, but all I have now.
** I am drinking alone because I do not want others to see the amount I consume. I admit to only a few glasses a week, but in truth it is a lot more than that.
** I am old and lonely. All my friends and family have long since passed. There is just me. I would enjoy sharing a drink and chat with someone but no one ever calls now. Sometimes I sip a glass of sherry just to mark an occasion or anniversary. The bottle stays in the back of the cupboard other than that.
The Wheel Of Fortune – I go through phases when I drink very regularly, then go off it for a while, and then back on again. It really depends what is going on in my life at the time. My mood also affects whether I drink or not. Sometimes I have no interest whatsoever, and then times when I like to partake. When my social scene gets very hectic, I could be out at do’s, events, parties and gatherings several nights a week. During that time I feel like a sponge with alcohol even though I never drink to excess. When life eventually calms down, I retreat into my shell to recover and no one sees me for ages. Of course there are certain times of the year that are notorious for overindulgence in alcohol – vacation time, holiday/festive time, birthdays and anniversaries. As long as I have periods of dry in between all the madness, I can manage.
**I am the moment I realise I have had too much to drink. I am the feeling of being on a merry-go-round. I am almost falling over when I swirl around on the dance floor, the strange sense of the room still moving after I have stopped. I am the spinning feeling that comes over me when I wake from a drunken slumber. I am the moment I know I have had too much to drink, that it is time to pull back, to stop, to go home. I am the moment I know I am going to get sick.
Rx – Hands up, I have to confess I am a binge drinker. I know it is not good for me, but I take consolation in the fact I do not drink every day, or every week. In fact I can go for long periods of time without alcohol at all. However, when I do drink I go overboard. It’s all or nothing for me, a feast or famine of alcohol consumption. It’s party time non-stop and alcohol pretty much becomes the central theme in my life. There is always an opportunity or reason to drink. If not, then I will make sure to find one. When I am good, I am very, very good, but when I am bad, I am really bad. Bingeing is not a good idea for I go from one extreme to the other. My liver is sent into shock as it’s suddenly assaulted by a constant bombardment of the stuff. During my bingeing phases, I often black out and suffer memory loss. Just before I pass out, the room begins to spin something awful, making it impossible to stand up or walk a straight line. That is when I keel over, sometimes on top of people, strangers, onto tables full of drinks and food. I fall where I fall and have no control over it. I make a show of myself on these occasions but I can’t remember. As I come around, I tend to puke. I have no idea what state I am in, whether my underwear is on view to all or how pathetic I look. People say I have a drink problem, but surely I would need to be drinking every day for that to be the case??? Where I come from, blacking out from drink and acting disgracefully is a sure sign you have had a great night! Isn’t it?
** I am cabin fever, the need to get out, the craving for a bit of social engagement, the desire for a drink. However, I have nowhere to go, nothing coming up, no social outlet and no opportunity to have a few drinks. I am life feeling very boring right now.
Justice – I am common sense prevailing. I am what stops you from taking that one drink too many even when others insist you haven’t had enough. I am the one who keeps you on the straight and narrow, encourages you to get home at a sensible time, to be responsible for how you get home, and ensure you maintain full control throughout. No use pointing the finger of blame at friends or work colleagues as the buck stops with you on this one. Part of why you insist I tag along with you is down to having learned the painful lesson in the past of how horrid the consequences are when you do not drink sensibly. Hangovers can be nasty but are completely avoidable. You always thank me the next morning when you wake after a restful night sleep, headache free and looking forward to the day ahead. This makes you feel very just and righteous within yourself. It never ceases to amaze me how many of you drink to excess and then expect to feel okay the next day. It doesn’t work like that. You get just what you deserve when you behave as so.
**I am also coming up against the courts after being charged with a drink-related offense. Alcohol can dim your judgment. You are not as discerning when under the influence. This can result in you doing something you would never do when sober. You may try to use that in your defense, that you were not yourself, but it is unlikely to make much difference to the proceedings. Take heart though, because I am upright, your misdemeanor may not be too serious – this time. I am being let off with a stern warning though. If it happened once, it could happen again.
Rx – I am the morning after the night before, the consequences of your actions, the outcome of your behaviour. You have no one to blame but yourself, for you know only too well you should have stopped at your fourth drink, should have gone home when you said you would, shouldn’t have begged those cigarettes from the stranger in the taxi rank and shouldn’t have wolfed down that takeaway you would never dream of consuming in your normal state of mind. You have been here before. This is not the first time you have behaved as so, and felt like so the next day. I can’t understand why you think you will get away with it each time, for you never do. You will just have to put up with feeling rotten again and maybe this time you will learn your lesson. I have no sympathy for constant offenders.
**I am also coming up against the courts due to drink-related offences. What you have done while under the influence may be quite serious. How did you let things get so bad? Surely you knew what would happen, that you couldn’t expect to walk away freely? Your drinking may land you in trouble.
**I am drink-related illnesses and diseases that are a direct result of excessive consumption of alcohol. No point in blaming doctors for not picking up on your symptoms sooner, or the state of the health service where you live. You would not be in this predicament if you did not drink so excessively. No one forced the drink down your throat. Your body has done the only thing it could do when confronted with such an onslaught. It has broken down and you have no one to blame but yourself. The illness or disease you have been diagnosed with is specific to excessive and prolonged alcohol consumption. You wouldn’t have it otherwise.
The Hanged Man – I am the martyr who lives with an alcoholic partner. I put up with a lot, have to deal with unpleasant behaviour and dreadful abuse when he/she has got themselves into a state. All the money goes on alcohol which means I have to live on little or nothing and struggle to make ends meet. It is not an easy life but what choice have I got? People tell me I should leave him/her but I continue to hang on in there. What would happen to them if I was not around to make sure they got into bed, didn’t burn the house down, aspirate on their own vomit and change their clothes when they have soiled them? My mother was an alcoholic so I know how it goes. My father did his best to care for her. That’s what family do. I know I have sacrificed my life and missed out on so much but that is my choice.
** I am the volunteer who gives freely of my time to help those who have had their lives ruined by alcohol. I work alongside The Hierophant as he has the proper infrastructure in place. Many hardened alcoholics are living rough on the streets after losing everything in life. I travel with a group of volunteers each night distributing food, clothes and warm bedding. I like to spend time talking to them, asking about their lives and families they no longer see. They need our help and compassion.
**I am the one who constantly ends up being the designated driver when out with friends and family. No one ever offers to do the same for me. It is taken for granted that I will sacrifice my own enjoyment for the good of the group. I like to have a drink or two but I don’t mind going without as I know the rest would find it a big struggle. Being the designated driver, I often get taken for granted or put upon to stay out later than I want or need, to listen to silly talk and even drop complete strangers home rather than allow them get behind the wheel of a car. I have to sit around for hours on end waiting for my friends, when I really would prefer to go home to bed. The upside about being open to driving and not drinking is that I get invited everywhere. I often wonder if I am invited along for my company or for my free taxi service. It doesn’t really matter. I am happy to oblige.
** I am giving up or abstaining from alcohol. I religiously do Dry January each year. Sometimes I do February too, and of course Lent. I feel good making such a sacrifice. During this time, I donate what I would normally spend on alcohol to charity instead. We all have to do out bit.
Rx – I am the realisation that my partner is never going to change, never going to get sober, that they expect me to care for them and sort their mess out each time. Well it is over. I have had enough. I have also realised how much of my life has been sacrificed to living in this nightmare. Up until now, I had to put up with it. My children were young and I had nowhere to go. I have reached a turning point and now seek release, freedom to go and live my life as I should have done. I don’t care where I go as long as it is far away from here. I am out of here and my partner will have to rely on him/herself now. I have been the martyr for too long while they refused to change or help them self. People told me how wonderful I was to take on such a burden, that I will be rewarded for my selfless work. Having me stick around meant nothing was expected of them. If they think it so noble and commendable, let them take over now.
**I am also fed up being the designated driver, at everyone’s beck and call, taken advantage of and used. Everyone must take their turn from now on. Resentment has been building and I feel I am being treated unfairly. I am also the one who never volunteers to be designated driver. I sit back and let the same few do it all the time. I like my drink too much to go without it on a night out. If I couldn’t have a drink when out socially, then I would prefer to stay at home. There are certain things I am prepared to sacrifice. Drink is not one of them. I never do Dry January, or give up booze for lent. One Year No Beer is my idea of a living hell.
Death – I am the chance you have to change your life, to give up the drinking, to take the first steps into recovery. I unleash in you a feeling of desperation, an acknowledgment that unless you address your drinking now, it will ultimately kill you. Sometimes I bring a scare with me; a worrying blood test result, an anomaly on a scan consistent with alcohol damage. I encourage others to quizz you about your drinking habits in the hope of bringing you to your senses. Most important of all is how I infiltrate your own mind and conscience, forcing you to take a long hard look at yourself. I am that sobering reminder of your mortality, a mortality that is mightily speeded up the heavier you drink. You may not have thought about it in this manner up until now, but that is what I am here for. The alcoholic must give up drinking, not because someone has asked them to, or for the benefit of anyone else in their life. They can, and will, only give up alcohol because they want to, for them self, for their own good and in their own time. As Death I empower them to make radical change, to give up unhealthy habits, to leave an old way of life and living behind in favour of a brand new start. You can take me or leave me, hear me or blank me, work with me or against me, but should you decide to ignore me altogether and continue business as normal, I will be left with no alternative but to exert my full power over you and take your life altogether. The choice is yours. I am not here solely for those one might call alcoholic, but for all who consume copious amounts. I tell you the stuff is killing you, taking over your life and destroying your vitality and interest.
**I am the decision to change your ways. You may not have a problem just yet, but if you continue as you are, there is a good chance your regular drinking could become a real problem. I am not telling you anything you do not already know. The need for change has been niggling at you for some time. I am the need for radical change in this area of your life. I am the decision to pour down the drain any remaining bottles in your house, to give up the habit and replace it with healthier ones. I am the moment you take action, the last drink, the final straw. No turning back for you. Once you rid yourself of the constant need for alcohol and organising your life around alcohol, a whole new life will open up to you. I promise once you start, you will never go back.
Rx – I am the endless chances and opportunities you were offered to give up alcohol that were never acted upon. Yes, at times you made great noise about the changes you were willing to embrace, built up false hope in those who loved you despite the treatment they experienced at your hands. Nothing every came of your good intentions though. Your resolve was weak. You ignored health warnings, you took up beds in hospitals that should have gone to patients who had not deliberately poisoned their own bodies, patients who would have been proactive and determined in their recovery. You received a liver transplant that should have gone to someone who would have valued and appreciated it. You were given every chance to turn your life around, to put an end to your unhealthy ways, but you chose not to. You tempted fate by wooing and courting death, each time escaping by the skin of your teeth, your family’s grave faces, careworn with distress. However, I have eventually caught up with you and this time there will be no escape. You see, you are fresh out of chances at this stage, just like the cat who has used up its nine lives. This time there will be no way back, your drinking has led you to this point, your body toxic and eroding. Too late for medical intervention as they have done all they can. It is only a matter of time now and I wonder as you lie there, what it is you think, what goes through your mind? Do you have any regret or have you always had a secret death wish?
** I am your lucky escape, your last minute reprieve. You have stared death in the face, should be dead, but for some reason you have been given another chance. You must give up the alcohol now as you are on your very last warning. As it is, things are touch and go with your condition. The damage that is done may not be enough to finish you off, but it’s effects will impact your life and health from here on. You have survived, but are scarred. Do not disregard your body in such a manner.
Temperance – I am the moderate drinker, the drink awareness campaign designed to encourage people to drink sensibly. I know my limit where alcohol is concerned and never exceed it. There is a time and place for everything and that applies to alcohol too. Next time you reach for that bottle, ask yourself, is it appropriate at this time to have a drink, does the occasion warrant me opening a bottle at all? Do I really want it, or is it just a habit? Would I be better making a cup of tea instead? Don’t expect me to offer you an alcohol beverage every time you visit my house as it is unnecessary. Yes, I like alcohol just like the rest of you, but I am a firm believer in having several alcohol free days in the week. This helps to keep a balance and gives the liver a break. I need to know that I can stop drinking when I want, to go without, without feeling the loss of it. Alcohol should enhance an occasion or mood, not create or destroy one. You should never give it too much power and control over you. I am very happy to be the designated driver, the one who abstains from alcohol to allow others have theirs. I enjoy myself just as well and alcohol does not have a hold over me, does not control me.
**I understand the nature of alcohol and its rules. I never mix the grape with the grain for example as this can make one very ill. I never pour spirits straight from the bottle but use a measure instead. Drinking a glass of water between each alcohol beverage helps to avoid dehydration, one of the main contributors of a hangover. I have often thought of giving it up altogether and joining the Pioneer Total Abstinence Association.
Rx – I am overdoing it, overindulgence, excess. I am making a pig of myself with alcohol. Eat, drink and be merry for tomorrow we die. This is who I am. Alcohol flows when I am around. I have it on tap and drink until I fall over. I then do it all over again. When I go shopping, my trolley is piled high with cheap booze. I buy trays of beer, multiple bottles of wine and maybe the odd cheeky bottle or two of gin or whiskey. Whatever room is left in the trolley I pack with boxes of pizza, crisps, french fries and several processed foodstuffs. I hate cooking so am a great fan of the takeaway and order large portions of everything. When I go on vacation this gives me the excuse to push the boat out where alcohol is concerned. I am on my vacation after all and what makes a break outstanding for me is the amount of nights I get footless and have to be carried back to my hotel or apartment. That is living proof I am having a fantastic time.
**I am the Hen or Stag Party groups whose sole aim is to get as drunk as quick as possible and stay that way for possible several days on end. I encourage the fun-seekers to order round after round of shots, even after they have already consumed numerous bottles of prosecco, beer and wine. My aim is to get them to stay up all night. For those who begin to fade after the first night, there is always the hair of the dog the next morning to set them straight for another day and night of excess ahead. Got to keep the party going at all costs. They say you can never be too rich or too thin. Well, I believe you can never have enough drink either. You should see what I get up to on these occasions. I go wild and get up to all sorts of madness. Isn’t that what it’s all about!
The Devil – I am the promoter of alcohol addiction, the demon alcohol, the root of all evil. Actually, I specialise in any addiction you can think of. I encourage you to drink more than you need, to rely on its effects instead of your own abilities. I lure you in with promises of fun, sophistication and social standing. In times of good and bad, I whisper enticements in your ear. “this calls for a drink”, “I need a drink”, “another drink/bottle won’t hurt”, “a drink will help me get through this”, “sure I can give this up any time I want”etc. I deliberately hold off the effects of alcohol so that you don’t realise how much you have consumed until it is too late to undo it. I like to urge you to drink several glasses without feeling it adversely affect you. I allow you to feel fine for a certain length of time, lulling you into a false sense of security, believing you can handle the amount you have consumed. Then I snap my fingers and hey presto, you are drunk as a skunk and no longer in control of your actions. When this point is reached, you unwittingly relinguish all responsibility for your welfare into my more than capable hands. I now take control and that is when the real fun begins. I dictate what happens from here on in and can bend you to my will. It never ceases to amaze me how gullible and silly you become. I am the voice that tells you, you need a drink, deserve a drink. I am what urges you to reach for that second bottle when you know very well you have had enough. I dismiss any concerns you may have had while sober – needing to have a clear head for work, family outing or ocassion, date or arrangements – allowing you to drink without guilt or worry for what tomorrow will bring. My attitude is ‘To Hell With Them All (pardon the pun!)’ as you down yet another strong one. I promote the breaking of promises you may have made with anyone, you know the ones, ‘I promise to come home straight after work’, ‘I promise to have only one drink’, I promise not to break my promises anymore’. I lead you to believe these persons concerned for your welfare, only want to ruin your fun and control your life. I tell you to do what you like and pay no attention to them. I convince you that they are the problem and not you.I have many, many conquests, devoted followers who worship at the altar of alcohol addiction. They just keep coming and my door is always open.
**I am a predator. I single out my prey and move in for the kill. I have plans for them. My aim is to seduce, to have my wicked way, with or without their consent. And how do I do this? Simple. I buy them drink, plenty of it, not the cheap stuff, but something that will impress them. I follow this up with more and more drink. Should they not cooperate with getting drunk, I have ways of getting around such inconveniences. I always carry a few pills with me, drugs, or potions which I slip into their drink when they are not looking. I make out to surrounding onlookers that I am close friends with the person and make remarks of needing to get them home as they are obviously drunk. No one bats an eyelid as I manhandle my drugged prey out the door and to wherever I desire to bring them. They are mine and no one moves to stop me. I can do anything I like to them whilst they are drugged. If the drink and drugs begin to wear off, I often restrain them with physical force.
Rx – I am the realisation that the demon alcohol is truly the root of all evil, the ruination of life, relationships, career and health. I am the understanding and acceptance of how you have allowed yourself become addicted to alcohol. I am the AA member who stands up in a group session and admits to being an alcoholic. I am the desperate urgency that surfaces to sever all reliance on the evil substance that has taken over your life. As Devil Reversed, I warn that you will not have an easy time getting rid of me, for I still own you. I will not let you escape too readily. I am the hotel you can check into any time, but you can never leave. Regardless of how far you believe you have distanced yourself from me with your 12 Step Program, Rehab and clean living, I will never be more than one step away from you. All it takes is just one tiny little drink, a mere sip for you to fall heavily into my claws once more. I do not like anyone thinking they can get the better of me and will remain a constant thorn in your side where temptation is concerned. How long will you hold out? Some manage to keep me at bay for the rest of their lives and I must take my hat off to them for it is not an easy thing to achieve. Others, believing they are doing well and past the danger stage, drop their guard and this is when I swoop in to reclaim them. Then there are those who don’t even make it a week before succumbing to my influence.
**I am a victim of having my drink spiked and then sexually assaulted. My attacker appeared charming and agreeable. He sent drinks to my table and then came over to introduce himself. He ordered a bottle of champagne. I drank only one glass as I had to get up for work the next morning. The last thing I remember is saying I needed to use the bathroom. When I eventually came around I quickly realised what had happened. He had slipped something into my drink. The police had never found him.
The Tower – I am the greatest wake up call you will ever have and is a direct result of your relationship with alcohol. I know I refer to it as a wake up call, but for some I may sound more like the death toll. I am the ultimate consequences of ignoring warning after warning, of handing over responsibility of your welfare to The Devil and his demon drink. I am what comes about when you refuse to acknowledge or admit to your drinking problem. I am a thundering train coming down the tracks with you standing right on them. Trying to tackle your problem now instead of way back when may be too late as it has become a runaway train, and even I would struggle to halt its progress. Not sure where this wake up call or bolt of thunder will strike? Simple – let me explain. Is drinking and driving your thing? Well, you might then be expecting me to present as a serious or fatal accident while you are under the influence and behind the wheel. Now you may not care much for your own life, but you will be forced to care by the law should you injure, maim or kill another. You may think you have gotten away with it all this time and believe yourself to be invincible, but your luck will run out. Even on a lesser scale, you may be convicted of driving under the influence and lose your licence and reputation. Drinking till you pass out and can’t remember what you did the next day, then prepare for anything. You might burn your house down and all in it after dropping a cigarette or falling asleep with something on the grill. You could be mugged or murdered by villains, drunkenly stumble into a lake or river and get washed away. If your drinking causes serious depression, then it may lead you to do something dreadful. And then of course, I regularly present as liver disease, cancer or some other horrid alcohol-related disease. Spending all your money and time on alcohol? Going to work smelling of alcohol, or missing work altogether? We must not forget the negative impact your drinking has on your career, or what is left of it. I may arrive to announce you have lost your job, carry news of your home being repossessed or your family leaving you. I can be anything really, so take your pick. How dramatic do you want me to be?
Rx – I am your lucky escape, your very last chance. I am the one who defies the odds and survives. I am the miracle turn around, the last minute reprieve, clutched from the jaws of hell. You have abused alcohol, allowed it to take over your life, ruin it and ruin the lives of others. You should be on a one way ticket to hell, but for some reason you are being let off the hook. I am the eventual realisation of just how close you came to losing it all. I help you to become hyper-aware of the gift that has been bestowed on you. Through me you are given a chance to make it right, to turn away from your addiction once and for all. I open your eyes to all that has been and watch you crumple in remorse and disgust. That I allow. However, I will snatch this gift away rapidly should I find you wallow in self-pity, self-loathing or point the finger of blame at others. You must own every bit of it. You have been spared for a reason and you best quickly work out what that reason is before I change my mind. I offer the encouragement to use your experience with alcohol addiction to help others, to put it to use, to make all those wasted years count for something. Something good must come out of the bad. Lessons must be learned and mistakes never repeated again. There will be no more chances.
The Star – I am complete detoxification. I am clearing your system of alcohol not for just a few days, a week, for dry January or lent. No, I go much further than that. Now I am not forcing total abstention on anyone. There are those of you who drink regularly without it taking over your life, and that is perfectly acceptable. What I am about is making a conscientious decision to cleanse your body of the toxic effects of any alcohol consumption. To treat your body like the temple it is. To be kind and respectful to your body, to give it a chance to operate at optimum potential. I am your liver’s best friend, your improved night’s sleep, your increased energy and productivity. I am the welcome weight loss, bright eyes and glowing skin of abstaining from alcohol for a long period. I am your renewed interest in life, exercise and activities, your new hobbies and education. I am the sense and feeling of remarkable well-being. I champion many campaigns for quitting or abstaining from alcohol. ‘One Year No Beer’ is one of my concepts. Why not try it and see for yourself. You may have forgotten what not having alcohol feels like. You may have begun to normalise operating below par. Start today, not tomorrow and have faith in the process.
**I am the reminder to hydrate your body more often when you are consuming alcohol. Alcohol dehydrates the body which causes a lot of the ill effects of a hangover. Those who are wise will subsitute a non-alcoholic drink, water preferably, for every second drink they consume. So a glass of wine or beer, then a glass of water, then a glass of beer. I am the reminder to drink plenty of water before you go to bed as this will help reduce your chances of a hangover. It is a good idea to drink extra water in the days preceding a big night out. Starting with a hydrated system before consuming alcohol makes it easier to re-hydrate after. Feeling the effects of too much alcohol, even after consuming plenty of water? Perhaps you should take a bracing shower. It is bound to freshen you up.
Rx – I am the side-effects of detox, the crisis healing one must first go through when giving up or abstaining from alcohol. You cannot expect to load your system with this toxin, this addictive substance, without having to suffer a bit when you give it up. You see, your body has become used to alcohol, addicted to it even. Your mind craves it on varying levels and that is why you so easily reach for a glass or bottle when the urge comes on. The addiction has a very convincing voice and whereas you may have a firm resolve first thing in the morning when yet again you crawl from your bed with a taste of stale alcohol on your breath, vowing that not a drop will pass your lips that evening, come a certain time in the day, that resolve will falter and your addiction will begin to chat to you, reassuring you, making it seem perfectly reasonable to have a glass or two. You promise not to exceed the agreed couple of glasses, but you know how that one goes. Promises made to yourself with no witnesses or audience to hold you to it, are very easy to break.
And so, you have decided to break the cycle and have embarked upon your detox. After the first alcohol free night’s sleep you expect to leap from the bed and feel the rush of energy everyone raves about. But, you feel rotten instead. Worse than when you had consumed alcohol. In fact, you feel as if you have been out drinking all night. What is going on? You drag yourself through the day and struggle with the wine o’clock urge that is incredibly powerful. You feel bored sipping your glass of water or milk and head to bed early just to get the day over with. Your sleep is fractured, your dreams bizarre and disturbing. You wake too early the next morning with a shocking headache, heavy eyes, racing heart and feel slightly nauseous. Yet again you question if you have been secretly drinking throughout the night. You feel very rough and riddled with anxiety. Indeed you are in bad form period and already set against this whole giving up alcohol business. Gosh, you felt much better when you were drinking. So, what is the point of bothering? Stop right there! Remember, I am the side-effects of detox. I am withdrawal from alcohol. Don’t think for one moment that only drug addicts and ‘real alcoholics’ experience withdrawal symptoms, because you are very wrong. What you are experiencing is your body readjusting to doing without a drug it was used to getting on a regular basis. It takes time to clear that from your system, and for some time you will feel worse before you feel better. Now is not the time to throw the towel in for you might as well get the withdrawal over and done now this time instead of leaving it to a later date in the future. This is a process you are going through. I know it is awful, but have faith and believe you will get through this part and out the other side. Believe me, the rewards will be worth it. One day at a time!
** I am dehydration. You have allowed your body become deprived of water. Yes, you have been consuming plenty of fluid, but it is all of the wrong kind. Alcohol dehydrates the system and unless you are careful to compensate by drinking copious amounts of water, you will soon begin to feel the effects. The bad hangover you are suffering, the dizziness, the awful tiredness, the lifeless hair, slack skin and dull eyes are down to dehydration. It is essential you get into the habit of drinking water regularly. Why is it you ignore the pitchers of chilled water that are brought to your table when out socialising? They are there for a reason. Instead you keep drinking your beer, wine or whiskey. You should avail of the opportunity to re-hydrate when you can.
The Moon – I am the deep concern and increasing worry you have about your drinking habits. You may not have vocalised your sense of unease to anyone as that would mean having to do something about your drinking. You may not be there just yet. I am the level of low you hit upon waking in the morning to discover you have no memory of the night before, how you got home, how you got to bed. Perhaps you didn’t make it to bed but woke up on the floor or an armchair. I am the dawn of realising you have a problem. Your most recent episode of alcohol induced amnesia has left you quite shaken as you check to see if you still have your handbag, wallet or personal possessions intact. Maybe you can find neither, or have been cleared out of cash and cards by persons unknown. You might find an ATM receipt recording a withdrawal at some ungodly hour of the previous night. For what? For whom? And where is it now? You have lost time and you wrack your pain-filled head to remember. This is not the first time it has happened to you. Indeed your drinking has progressed to a level where such episodes are the norm and no longer the exception.
I am the morning after the night before when you wake to find yourself lying naked in some person’s bed. You have had sex with someone but only have vague recollections of it, or maybe none at all. You are not sure if contraception was used. I am the horror that stays with you for the rest of the week as you try desperately hard to clean up your act and stay away from alcohol. It is not so easy is it? Even though you are mortified by what has happened again, your resolve to get sober dissipates as the day or week progresses. I am the painful acknowledgement you are in trouble and must do something about it. I am the initial contact with AA or the urgent need to get sober. However, I am also the deep fear you have of taking the first steps on that journey. I am the hard fact that only you can do this. That for all the group support that will offer advice and support, the journey is very personal, very lonely and very terrifying. I am the distant vision you have of feeling recovered and well, but the acceptance of how long the journey to it might be. I am the need to overcome your base fears. I am the first step into sobriety, I am the need not to think too far ahead but to take one day at a time.
**I am the inability to drink as you once did before menopause’s hormonal shifts altered your metabolism. I am the immediate headache you get after just one glass. I am increasing sensitivity to the ingredients in alcohol.
Rx – I am where all who have drunk too much alcohol, or those who are addicted to alcohol ultimately go in their mind and emotions. I am the paranoia that sets in after excessive drinking, the delirium and tremors that announce a bad trip or come down from booze. I am the inability to sleep, the racing heart/palpitations and worst headache you can imagine. I am the intrusive thoughts, the flashing images, the terrifying nightmares of your worst hangover. I am the sense of self-loathing and regret when you have gone too far. I am the hours and hours of hell you must endure before your liver can clear the toxins it is desperately trying to process before the throbbing head and sick stomach can subside. I am your longest night, the feeling of death. I am alcohol-induced depression, hitting rock bottom after hitting the end of the bottle. I am also alcohol-induced hallucinations, disembodied voices, gibberish talk. I am those who are admitted to Rehab or psychiatric units, not voluntarily, but by desperate family members or the authorities.
**I am drinking to suppress strong negative emotions, to block painful memories. to obliterate abandonment, rejection, childhood trauma. Every time such issues surface, I am compelled to wash them down with drink. I feel justified in my alcohol consumption. After what I have been through in life, who can blame me for drinking to such excess? I am constant self-pity.
**I am ducking and diving from sorting myself out, the refusal to acknowledge I have a real problem. I am denial and the refusal to seek help. I am the the feeling of pointlessness in attempting to get sober. I am giving up without even trying. I am allowing your fears to talk you out of what is in your best interest. I am drowning in a sea of alcohol as I become isolated or estranged from those who eventually give up on me.
**I am developing an allergy to alcohol, but most importantly, I am alcohol not agreeing with you. I am your severely altered personality after consuming alcohol. I am the Jekyll and Hyde change that comes over you whenever you drink. I am the nasty, negative or dangerous person you become when drunk. I am my own worst enemy when drunk. I am the refusal to accept that alcohol does not suit me. I am the misery I enforce on others when drunk.
The Sun – I am the life and soul of the party with or without alcohol, but I really come into my own when I have a few beers, glasses of wine or champagne in me. I am part of the ‘It Circle’ you see. I am always up for a party or clubbing and really put on a performance when I am just that little bit tipsy. I am known to be an extrovert even without alcohol. I command a powerful presence at social events. Being a highly sought after crowd-puller means I receive invites or gain access to the most high-profile bashes around. A social butterfly and complete live-wire, I flutter from one group of people to the next. All light up as I approach. Such is my popularity, many consider it an honor to be singled out for attention by me. Everyone wants me at their table or to sit next to me. They believe my brilliance and popularity will rub off on them by mere proximity to me.
I am top of the guest list, or wish list, for all social occasions as I can be relied upon to get the party going. You see I bring the best out in people in my everyday normal sense. Throw me into the midst of a party or gathering and I will draw out even the most shy and retiring folk, insisting they get with the vibe and relax. I suppose I am a natural performer and extremely charismatic. People fret and worry if I haven’t arrived on time as they often count on me to make their party a success. I grace the best dinner tables, parties and events and am often referred to as a VIP guest. Everyone insists on buying me a drink as they know how even greater I get with a few downed. I will be the first on the dance-floor, the highlight of a Karaoke night, the most interesting at the table. I can behave rather outrageous with alcohol consumed but never to the extent I become unruly or troublesome to others. People actually expect it of me. I don’t pester people when inebriated. People vie for my attention and I provide the best entertainment. I am witty, chatty, dynamic and exuberant. I am quite a darling really. I often attend social events which are of interest to the media, always get singled out for extra special attention by photographers who recognise the value of getting a few snaps of me. Yes, I hate to sound my own trumpet, but have to admit I am extremely photographic, and this adds to my appeal. I am frequently pictured with a glass of champagne posing nonchalantly with some other social butterfly of note. We are deliciously dressed, our beaming smiles showcasing the wonderful personalities we possess. Everyone wants to be like me. I attend all the best events, galas, launches, fashion shows and concerts. Complementary champagne or cocktails is the norm for me. In fact, now that I think of it, I rarely have to buy my own drink. People queue up to keep to my glass filled.
**I am many things depending on what your situation is. I can be all about drink or the celebration in liberating yourself from the hold it has on you. I can be that which becomes more important to you than alcohol. I may be the joy you find in your newborn child as you now know where your priorities and responsibilities lie. Yet, your newborn may also be the reason to crack open a bottle in celebration. Have you ever noticed how people are drawn to alcohol and occasions that involve a hot summer’s day? Barbecues smolder in numerous gardens, people rush from supermarkets with trays of beer and crates of wine, eager to get home and get the party going. A warm sunny day makes us feel we are on vacation, a time when we take delight in ordering a carafe of wine or glass of beer with our lunch by the pool or at a street-side bistro. Most of us would not normally consume alcohol at this time of the day, but the good weather and equally good company dispels any doubts we might have. Let me tell you there is nothing nicer than relaxing in your garden with a glass of chilled white wine on a summer’s day, and to be honest, it is a bit of a treat, not something we do on a daily basis. We do not have to beat ourselves up.
**For those who have struggled to secure release from the clutches of alcohol, I bring confirmation of your success in achieving it. You have severed all bonds with it and are free to live your life as you choose or to start over again. You are a bundle of joyous energy and feel optimistic and positive about your future. You have learned to enjoy yourself without alcohol and this in itself is very liberating.
** I am enjoying your few drinks in the sun but always staying aware and alert. And so I must broach this unpleasant subject as it is very important. Remember, alcohol makes you less vigilant. Family days out under the hot sun, trips to the beach, pool, or even a garden party, can quickly turn into a tragedy if the adults drop their guard upon consuming alcohol and fail to keep an eye on their children’s whereabouts. It is all about understanding your responsibilities when drinking, and preventing a lovely day from being destroyed through negligence. I bring no worries or concerns with me once you do not let the sun go to your head. Let the sun shine down on all of you but remember alcohol will have a stronger effect on you when the heat rises. It will also dehydrate you quicker.
Rx – I am the larger-than-life personality that becomes overwhelming once enough alcohol has been consumed. I am the party-animal that draws a lot of attention. Hands up, it is mainly negative attention, but hey any attention is better than none and I ain’t complaining. I can’t understand why everyone is so uptight and despairing when they see me making a beeline towards them. You should see them scatter like birds who have just spotted a cat in their vicinity. They are boring people who do not know how to enjoy themselves. I like to turn up at parties, gatherings or events already tanked up and ready to party. Eager to maintain my level of drunkenness, I hit the bar as soon as I arrive. My great delight is to find a free bar and am known to hover around the complimentary trays of champers or Kir, ensuring I get maximum use of the facility. No time must be wasted. Did I tell you how loud I am? No, well let me put you straight. You can hear me coming from some distance. I speak louder than everyone else and have a kind of booming laugh. I like to burst into a room, force myself on a table, fling myself on the dance-floor in a manner no one is likely to miss, or forget. I am the one who yells out hilarious remarks to someone I recognise across a room, which typically embarrasses the hell out of them. I get in everyone’s face. Those who do not know me, think I am great fun and are keen to surround me on the dance-floor as I let it rip, or as I commandeer the microphone at Karoke. I like to entertain people which sometimes involves me doing outrageous things. I am up for anything and game for a laugh. Once I rode a horse butt naked across a formal garden party as a dare, whilst swigging from a bottle of free champers at the same time. No one got the joke. The police were called. They didn’t get the joke either. I am a hanger-on of any ‘It Circle’ I can gain access too. I follow the party people. Some of them are tolerant of me, some not. I do get a lot of media attention when out on the tear. Those journalists and photographers all fight to get that special shot of me. You know the ones – Me drunkenly falling out of a nightclub, throwing up out a taxi window, or pulling off an outrageously shocking stunt. Some tell me I am too much, that I go too far, burn too brightly, and that really I should stay away from alcohol altogether as it sends me over the edge. They say I am much better fun when sober, and quite nice really. I am asked why I behave as I do, why I drink like a fish, why I am such a pain in the backside? I say “get a life”!
**I am the danger of drinking too much on a hot summer’s day or when on vacation. Alcohol dehydrates the system and combined with the heat of the sun can prove a lethal combination. As you slip into a drink-induced slumber on your sun-lounger, you will not notice your skin begin to burn and turn lobster red. You will suffer dreadfully as a result and may need medical attention. Then again, I can bring even greater danger to those who drink freely under the sun but take part in activities that require full concentration. It is easy to feel brave and daring after consuming several beers or glasses of wine. You might decide to jump into the pool, off the rocks, or into the sea in order to cool down. The alcohol has given you a false sense of confidence and has impaired your judgement. When you get into difficulty or caught in a rip tide, the alcohol will slow you down and make your limbs heavy. You may not be able to save yourself. Such accidents are very common regardless of the warnings to be had about mixing alcohol and sun. Some of you carry out risky stunts or accept dares when under the influence of alcohol on a hot summer’s day. Jumping from one apartment balcony to another may seem like great fun with a few drinks on, but it will all end in tears when you miss your footing and crash to the ground several floors below.
**And now I can bring dark clouds to cover the sun in your life indefinitely. Children and alcohol do not mix. When the adults are absorbed in their drinking and socialising, where are the children? Who is watching them? When did you last lay eyes on your 6 year old? The guilt will stay with you for life and beyond should anything happen to your child while you were busy drinking. I also remind those who use their children’s parties, christenings and communions etc. as a great excuse for a piss up. Children should not grow up in such an environment. If the day is about them, keep it about them.
Judgement – I am the day of reckoning for all who drink excessively or drink and drive. I am the voice of those who have been adversely affected by alcohol abuse, either directly, or indirectly. All those who have suffered, or lost their lives because of alcohol abuse are acknowledged. I speak for the silenced voices, those who can no longer express their trauma. I am the Powerful Drink Driving Awareness Campaigns aimed at reducing the number of lives lost on our roads through drink driving. The message is both graphic and traumatic. It must assault the senses and make for disturbing listening and reading. It must be loud enough so all can hear. The Statistics are frightening. The roll call of the dead is listed – babies, unborn babies, children, teenagers, adults, elderly, whole families, wedding couples, friends, all lost to the physical world because of alcohol abuse. Some died of alcohol related disease, some due to accidents while under the influence, some died in house fires, others died because of alcohol-related violence, but so, so many lost their lives on the road. Drivers several times over the limit, speeding, swerving, falling asleep behind the wheel. The devastation and carnage, horrific. We are called upon to remember the dead and to end the senseless unnecessary deaths. We must become responsible and conscientious about our drinking. We must always exercise due care and never drink to such an extent that it impairs our judgement. For those who have passed, their suffering is over, but their legacy lives on. I am all the roadside crosses and shrines erected to mark the spot where a loved one has lost their life. I am a constant reminder of what awaits us if we do not act responsibly. So, when you next hear a Drink Driving or Drink Awareness Campaign announced on the radio or television, do not automatically switch station or zone out. Today it may not personally affect you, but tomorrow may be another story. Remember what happens to one, happens to all. There but for the grace of God go I. We all have a role to play. Change your ways before it is too late.
Rx – I am Judgement in full power. I am the brutal truth and facts you must face after causing injury or death because of excessive alcohol intake. Your life has suddenly changed, and you may be in serious shock. In the cold light of day, sober and sick, you are presented with the grim details of what you have done while under the influence. There is no sympathy, no understanding of your plight or circumstances. Your cries of remorse fall on deaf ears. Yes, if you could give your own life and bring the dead back, un-injure the injured, you would do it in a heart beat, but it doesn’t work like that. I can perfectly understand why you would also want to end your own life, for who could live with what has been done, or caused. You cannot claim ignorance of how it might have happened, how you were unaware of the rules and laws, or the possible consequences of excessive drinking, for they are everywhere to be seen and heard. No, you had gotten away with it so long, you thought it would go on like so. You continued to abuse alcohol, continued to let it control you, let it turn you into a nasty person, let it dim your wits, let it impair your judgement. Many times you had a chance to change your ways, to clean up your act but you never availed of it. Now, you stand with blood on your hands and the rest of your life to dwell on it. Depending on the level of destruction, you may lose your personal freedom, your livelihood, your family and friends. Accidents will always happen and we cannot control that, but deliberately and irresponsibly increasing the odds of having or causing one is unforgivable. Let it be a lesson to all those who think it won’t happen to them.
The World – I am complete enjoyment of life, with and without alcohol. My world is full and busy with many interests and varying activities. Yes, I like to have a glass or two of my favourite alcohol beverage, but really I can take it or leave it. My world does not revolve around when and where my next drink is coming from. Neither do I go out of my way to arrange outings and social gatherings where alcohol plays a big role. To be honest, many of my activities do not mix very well with alcohol, so weeks could go by without me touching a drop at all. And even then, I may choose not to partake, even when I am free to do so. I am every drinker’s dream friend for it is me who happily volunteers as the designated driver on most occasions. It doesn’t bother me whether I have a drink or not. You see, I like to get up early in the morning, do my yoga, and go for a run before work. My job is very demanding, so a clear head is a must for me. Then I hit the gym in the evenings, attend a course and meet friends for coffee. I like to travel too, and spend quite a bit on that. I wouldn’t be able to afford to if I spent all my money on drink. This is not to say I don’t sample the local hooch on my travels around the world, but I do have my priorities in place. My friends often think me smug when I look pityingly on them hungover and miserable. They accuse me of being too happy-clappy, too chirpy and too healthy, but honestly I don’t mean to make them feel like so. Hangovers and staying in bed all day are just not my thing. There is too much going on in my world to waste it on feeling a self-inflicted rotten. I do like to cut loose on occasions. Going to dances, nightclubs and concerts is great fun. Who needs alcohol when you can dance the night away instead? I am so glad I do not let alcohol dictate my life.
**I am celebration, toast and good cheer. I am raising a glass to your happiness, good luck and success. Let the champagne roll.
Rx – I am a world that revolves around alcohol – thinking about having drink, drinking alcohol, worrying about whether you have enough drink, when you will have your next drink, what you will have, where you will have it, how many you will have, where you are going to get money for it and who you will drink it with. Let’s not forget recovering from drink too. You will find it quite impossible to go a day without a drink, but even getting your daily fix is not enough for you. By Wednesday of each week you are beginning to get panicked if arrangements for the weekend ahead are not in place. Most weekends however are the same. They typically kick-start with drinks after work on a Friday. Let’s face it, you have earned it! Then stay in bed most of Saturday recovering for the night ahead. You like to have a few while getting ready to go out to yet another drink-fueled environment, and when you get there, need to get a few in to get the night started. Then Sunday morning pretty much mimics Saturday. Sunday will find you partaking of alcohol earlier in the day because you do have thoughts of work the next day and want to mind yourself. Pity you intended to go home early, but didn’t, for Monday morning sees you dragging yourself through the day, ducking and diving your boss, dying to get home to bed. But you don’t go to bed when you go home. By then you feel a bit better and feel justified in downing a few glasses of wine or beer with your dinner. Before you know it, it’s Wednesday again and plans for the weekend kick off once more. You say you would love to get fit and maybe take up a hobby or activity but are so tired after a day’s work you just wouldn’t have the stamina for it. You wonder how other people manage to have a full diary, where they get the energy and time for it. I am your toxic body, your distressed liver. I am feeling below par all the time, bloated, overweight, lethargic, dull, dehydrated and lifeless. I am also your deep sense of guilt. Your world is very small indeed. Your life passing by rapidly.
**I am drinking because you have nothing to celebrate in your life. I am the unopened bottle of champagne that never sees the light of day. I am the unopened bottle of champagne put back in the press because the reason to celebrate never came about, was cancelled or ruined.