Age 18 – 25
Smoking, drugs and binge drinking in the week and weekends
I was now a man. I had the freedom granted to me by my parents. I had finished my A-levels so I could do whatever I wanted, come home whenever I wanted and stay wherever I wanted – so I did!
I started to hang back around with the guys that I first started drinking with. We decided to hit the drink again. Firstly deciding to drink one can of tenants super for the day. The next day deciding to drink two cans for the day. The third day to drink three cans. This was a mistake. Three cans of strong lager, drank in the day, was well over my limit. That equates to 13.5 units.
I woke up finding myself quite embarrassingly passed out by a busy road in the early afternoon right next to the entrance of the cul de sac of my parent’s home. Good job my mum or dad didn’t see as I am not sure quite what my explanation would have been!
In the holidays I got my a-level results and I got the grades to go to the university of my choice in the party capital of the UK:
I did not realise it at the time but sending a teenager who loves to drink to the big city is like taking dynamite to a naked flame exhibition! I remember my first day quite well. It was nothing like my first day of school that’s for sure
My parents dropped me at my halls of residence. I brought my big speakers and decks and put them in my room which had two beds in it. An older girl student was in charge of making us newbies settling in. I immediately got on with her and soon forgot about my parents who were sort of hanging around. My dad told my mum “come on lets go, he’s settling in just fine”. I think my dad had clocked that the girl had taken a shine to me.
I ended up in the bar by 3pm and in her bed by 2am. This was my first day at university. I thought great! I met my roommate at around 4am when I stumbled in and accidently woke him up. We never hit it off and I moved in with another guy, Jeremy, who liked a drink and was up for a laugh as much as me.
I then met a lot of other people who I felt a lot more on my wave length. In particular Gareth. Gareth would drink with me and we turned fresher week in to fresher term. I did absolutely no work in the first term. I always remember at the end of the first term Gareth saying “I think fresher’s week is over now”. I had to agree. We all went home for Christmas and then we were back for the New Year.
Gareth used to be in to rock music. I had introduced him to my sort of music which was rave and hardcore at the time. He quickly latched on to it and wanted to take it further. He wanted to go raving. So we went. However he wanted to get drugs. Precisely he wanted pills. Ecstasy. I hadn’t cared too much for drugs. I had taken speed once, enjoyed it, but never really took it again.
However I got easily led and I embarked on a big drug episode for 5 years. I used to go raving, make music and DJ for 5 years during my university years and early working career. Ecstacy was my drug of choice however I did speed, cocaine, ketamine and smoked crack once.
My drinking was reserved for in the week and when I was not going raving. I think I latched on to the drugs vibe as it was simply better. I knew lots of people who were doing it and the buzz was a lot friendlier.
I did mix speed with alcohol but not really with ecstasy as they just did not go together. However speed and booze was probably the best buzz. You could drink for ages and not get pissed. So it was like getting pissed but having all your faculties together.
My relationship ended whilst I was at university. I had changed and my first girlfriend was just becoming too psychotic and punching me all the time that I had to end it. I simply flinched every time she got angry.
I had several casual affairs during my time at university and met another girl Julie who was a sweet kind girl but it only lasted 6 months. The problem was I liked chasing different girls. I know why this was. Because of my low self esteem I thought if lots of girls like me then I might like myself. So I would constantly chase girls. There was no such thing as too many girls.
I had taken a year off after I qualified from university with quite a good degree under my belt. In this year I focused on my music career and also girls! I drank regularly but only when I went out. The main reason of going out was to go clubbing and to go on the pull. I would go out mid week as well as at the weekends. I would always take advantage of the drinks offers and happy hours pubs and clubs used to have. Happy hours really do work if you want to encourage binge drinking you know!
During my year off I tried to make it as a musician. I made plenty of tunes, had several recording contracts but never quite made it. Reality set in and I had to get a job. I managed to get quite a good job as a trainee accountant with a well respected firm.
My drinking patterns pretty much stayed the same for the first 3 years of employment. From ages 22 to 25 I trained to become a chartered accountant. You could not really drink too much as you needed a clear head if you were going to pass the exams. I managed to control my drinking to a little bit in the week when there was a works do and getting blasted (as I always had done) at the weekends.
The funny thing is everyone else got blasted also. I really think us Brits think it weird if you do not get drunk when you were young. I do not remember ANYBODY who went out and did not get drunk all the way through growing up. It just never happened. No matter where you came from, what class you were or what religion you were (including some Muslims I know!) we all got drunk to have a good time.
So as far as I was concerned I was doing nothing that was different to anyone else. The only little secret I had kept from my work colleagues was that I used to do illegal substances. A bit of speed and ecstasy at the weekends. No big deal.
It was around the age of 23/24 when I started to drink at home. I lived in two places at that time. One place was near my place of work. It was with a husband and wife Roger and Eleanor who let their house out to lodgers. I used to stay there 3 or 4 days a week. Roger was and is still an alcoholic. I used to drink with him sometimes when I got home from work. I still see Roger to this day. He is very ill. He has too much iron in his blood and has to have one pint of blood removed from his body once a week. He still hasn’t cut down and he has been demoted at work.
Eleanor left him several years ago. I know why. It was because of the drink. Eleanor has a massive heart. She put up with Roger for too long but that is just Eleanor. She is officially my second mum. I still see Eleanor also. She really looked after me while I lived in her house. Both Roger and Eleanor used to feed me and never asked me for any money extra whatsoever. Eleanor has rebuilt her life as a single woman now at the age of 59. I have a lot of admiration for Eleanor as she eventually took the hard choice and made her life better for herself.
The other place I used to stay was my new girlfriend Lucy. I used to stay at her mum’s house and this is where I used to go to the off licence and get my one can of special brew to add a little spice to the evening. Lucy’s mum used to look after me also. I would regularly eat at Lucy’s house and dine as one of the family. Her mum pointed out that I had a drink problem as both her brothers were certified alcoholics so she was very sensitive about alcohol. I just ignored her and told Lucy your mum is crazy. I suppose looking back she wasn’t! She was also by the way a nurse.
I was not happy at work. I hated it. I felt I had to be someone else. I had to be a professional middle class intelligent accountant when really inside I felt like a cool DJ soon to be superstar musician whose music videos will be on MTV! What I felt inside to the career I was actually doing were so different. This upset me greatly. Drink was a great escape to take away that mismatch I felt. I could not resolve the way I felt inside to the way I was portrayed on the outside. I wish I could have just come out to my employer and said “Hey you have the wrong guy. The guy you have employed is not the guy you know. I am actually a drug taking piss head DJ who is actually quite a dude so please accept me as this guy from now on”.
Of course I never had the courage to do such a thing. People in the accountancy profession just don’t do that. You would not get in if you thought you could do that somewhere down the line. I obviously was in the wrong job
So during the week was a great deal of stress and if I were honest very upsetting. Therefore when it came to the weekends there was NOTHING that would have come in my way of enjoying my Friday and Saturday night. Absolutely NOTHING.
I drank to get drunk, took drugs to be able to drink more and engaged in unprotected casual sex with whoever would oblige! That was my right as I worked 5 days a week in a job I did not like.
Now amazingly I managed to pass my accountancy exams. God knows how. We were taught some excellent exam technique which I think has helped me in later life. The accountancy school I went to was so focused to passing the exam and not necessarily understanding the topic. This meant that you could pass the exams without really understanding the questions. Sounds crazy but it actually worked.
The reason being the exams required only a 50% pass mark and the scores were calculate relatively. So all you had to do was be in the top 70% of all the people sitting the exam. The exams were so difficult that everyone struggled to score above 30% so if you titled your question, put a few keywords in your answer and made the answer look pretty you would get presentation marks. Sometimes these were the only marks that most people got hence you got in to the top 70%.
So after all the years of GCSEs, A-levels, Degree and Accountancy I was now a fully qualified chartered accountant. This meant no more exams. This also signalled to me quite strongly that I could now drink whenever I wanted as there was no need to study in the week anymore. It was such a liberating feeling. I could drink everyday if I wanted to. I could have fun every single day. Okay I might have to work in the day but if I could have fun in the evening everyday then life would not be so bad. Brilliant!
So from age 25 daily drinking was my pastime. Every evening was party night……