I’d miss building careful, grand, drunken plans…

Retro Bar, Manchester

Growing up in Manchester and my early days of socialising being played out like more a competition of consumption, I don’t know if I have now found myself in a place where I am bored of alcohol, and what’s worse is that even thinking about not drinking hits me like a brick wall.

Being surrounded by the temptation (it didn’t take much tempting) of 2 quid doubles and a mixer at 17 in Retro Bar, Manchester, binge drinking went hand in hand (literally) with smoking a million fags on the dancefloor until I had lost the ability to see and on a few occasions waking up in my mum’s front garden (once with my jeans on back to front but I still have anxiety even trying to remember what could have happened that night).

This continued until around age 22 when the move to London called for socialising at home, which in my head sounded very grown up and living my very own role in ‘This Life’ but looking back was mostly trips to the corner shop on Leytonstone High Road for blue plastic bags full of alcopops, under the counter fags and a Freddo.
Nowadays while I hope my social skills have picked up a bit and I mould myself into a young professional, I can’t help but wonder (in a bit of a Carrie Bradshaw moment with myself just now although I am definitely Miranda) if this introduction to binge drinking has shaped the way I still behave around alcohol. I actually dread attending an event where I know free alcohol will be on offer, because there is a force of nature that leaves me hovering by the drinks table, usually with one in each hand already (for a friend who is never arriving), seizing any opportunity for another drink until the bar is dry. I’m ashamed to say I have been in a conversation at an event before now, behaving like a normal and interested individual (technically acting), and mid-conversation have instead opted to go and top my glass up.
Part of me thinks I don’t need to drink at all because, sober, I can still hold a conversation, crack jokes, speak my mind, and not wake up the next day feeling like my brain has been replaced with a turnip. I even tried and tested this method once and lasted a good couple of months, still going to pubs, and instead was told I seemed so upbeat that it was suspected I was on pills, so it seems I cannot win anyway.
To conclude my original question to myself, it is something in my DNA that will keep me drinking, and without the embarrassment I put myself through and mornings after with multiple flashbacks and apologies by text, I think whatever emotion we tap into to cringe, would be neglected. And ultimately I would miss out on building careful, grand, drunken plans, that on the rare occasion I still remember the morning after, I promise to implement one day.

Paul, 28, Fashion Designer

From Manchester
Lives in London
Drinking habits: it’s a habit