After weeks writing about my true loves of the GAA and Global Warming, I return this week to muse upon alcohol. The great thing about alcohol is that it is only a problem for a small percentage of any population.
Most people enjoy a few drinks once or twice a week at best. Some enjoy an odd session every month. Some have a glass or two of wine with dinner most evenings and help the heart circulate the blood.
But some of us….
Some of us have problems. It might be you drink till you blackout every weekend. It might be that you drink and end up abusing people and in fights. It might be that you drink and end up broke every week. It might be that you drink every time something goes right or wrong.
We are the sorry small percentage who needs to do something. We need to address our situations or life gets out of control. We need to take some freaking action.
Here is the problem
There is a point which many of us with problems are afraid to get to. This is the point where we are willing to admit we have a problem. Getting to this point means we have to overcome one massive, serious stumbling block – SHAME.
Shame. Shame is something which has been drilled into Irish males since we first began having erections. Don’t touch it or the devil will have you for all eternity.
How many times have you heard some nosey old woman say
“Oh Jesus, they’ve no shame that lot”
“You should be feicin ashamed of yourself”
“Oh the shame of it”
It is engrained into our DNA.
Getting over the shame
I first realised I had “substance abuse issues” when I was in college. It took me almost 15 years to do something about it. I made sure I got the most out of it before I packed it in.
But let me tell you that there is an incredible sense of shame about yourself when you start to tell people. It takes big fat balls to own up to your inability to do something which most people find fun and enjoyable.
Shame is a killer. It cripples your confidence, destroys your image of yourself and is so tough to recover from. It makes you feel like a two legged mouse scuttling through an alley of perverted tomcats.
Take it on
The best way to deal with shame is to take it on headfirst. Look it in the eye and see it for what it is – an emotional response which you have built up in your head.
I hate to be crass here in a nice blog about booze, but here is what I think about shame
“Shame, fuck you. You are an asshole. This is the last time I am every going to listen to you, you irritating c*#t. On your greasy bike you bollix”
I have no tolerance for shame any more, but I understand how it can control people’s problems.
The shame of having to admit to your family and friends you have a problem is a massive issue for most people with bad stuff going on. It can disable you and leave you wandering around the foggy void of nowhere, for year after year.
It leaves you powerless to move on and deal with the problems you have. It stops you from getting to the bottom of things.
A Problem Shared
Taking the first step and admitting you might have a problem is so vital in getting over anything. You can only do this by talking to someone – normally a loving partner, sibling, parent , friend or professional. Taking that first step takes down the shame and opens you up to being a normal peson with a normal problem for a certain percentage of any population.
Taking that first step though, is really tough. You have to look at shame as something which will disappear. It will fade away over time as you build yourself up again.
So look at shame and say – get the boat. Look at shame and say – adios. Look at shame and say – I don’t need you anymore. Look at shame and say – You’re only a pest. Look at shame and say – yeah, right, whatever.
Then get out there, talk to someone.
Talk and see how things get better.