Wednesday, October 17, 2007

I am afraid!

One of the things about the way I write is that it just spews forth. I don't spend a lot of time composing, re-writing or editing what I post on my blogs. Basically you get pretty much what I would say if we were involved in a conversation.

That sometimes means that I miss putting into a post some of the things that I would have said had I spent a bit more time thinking about it. Such is the case with the previous post on my experience, or lack of it, with alcohol.

It came to me overnight that whilst I stated that I didn't drink because of a promise I'd made to my grandmother, that maybe, that was only part of the story. I realised that I am actually afraid of drinking. For two reasons.

Firstly, I am afraid of losing control of myself. I have built a facade of dependability, of seriousness, a sober personality if you like, and I am petrified of being put in a situation where I can't control myself. I fear being laughed at or of making myself look stupid. I remember the embarrassment when my mates came around and Dad was under the weather. They thought he was cool, I just wanted to shrink back to my bedroom.

The other fear is that of being an alcoholic. Totally irrational I know, but it has been demonstrated to run in families and there is enough in mine to make me believe that there may be a genetic basis. So if I were a drinker would it lead inevitably to alcoholism? That tied in with the lack of control is enough to make me wary of ever doing so.

I've said often enough that I am a rational man, maybe that's only true up to a point as well. Because looking at what I've written doesn't make me appear all that rational. Midlife is about questioning who and why we are what we are, maybe trying to understand our own motivations and putting decisions we have made into the context of a life that now has the breadth and depth we lack as children, teenagers or early adults. It's about understanding what the warts mean in the "warts and all" tapestry that makes us who we are.

May I finish by saying to you who read and comment - thank you. In giving me feedback you are making me understand myself more fully. I feel at times that in blogging I am wiping the sleep from my eyes.

30 comments:

Beth said...

Loz,
I think you are way too hard on yourself. I think you make perfect sense when you blog - and when we all write I think there is a bit of us we still hold back. Funny, I would have never seen you as a serious kind of man. To me, you are someone who is always trying to make people feel good about themselves - hardly a stuffy guy...

Loz said...

Thanks Beth, I actually don't see myself as stuffy but I do think that maybe I don't come across as someone who has a sense of humour because of what I find myself writing.

paisley said...

well loz... i would say if you have made it this far without drinking it is ok to go the rest of the way... if that is what you want... personally i believe in everything in moderation,,, but that is just me....

Loz said...

Despite what I've said Paisley I am actually with you. Moderation is fine. I don't regard myself as a prude, maybe I just don't fully trust myself.

Pen and the Sword said...

Loz, reading past posts I completely understand why you feel as you do. No explanation necessary. As for your writing technique... that is what makes your blog such a terrific read! Not just the content, but getting to know you as a person has been a terrific honor and I am happy that I we happened upon each other. I think that your reasons for not wanting to drink are both admirable and honorable. Not too many people out there care enough about themselves or others to think as you do.

I have issues with alcohol, too. My father's side of the family drink heavily and are a bunch of alkies. I have seen alcohol abuse destroy my family. And though I do tilt back a glass or two of wine nightly to help me sleep, I promised myself I would never drink as incessantly as my father and his girlfriend (you may know her from my blogs as the happy homewrecker LOL). Drinking ought to be recreational, not a personality trait. And just like smoking, doing drugs, or anything else you do or don't do; people will do what they want to their own bodies.

I personally continue to think you rock, Loz :o)

Dorothy said...

Loz I feel like you do....you look stupid when you drink too much and you always loose control..and many times a part of you comes out no one ever needs to see...so Thanks for the support of I hope someday no one ever needs to have more then two drinks like eating one ice cream cone..everything in strict moderation. You are commended for your courage. There will always be the naysayers..ignore them...
Dorothy from grammology
call your grandma
http://grammology.com

Dorothy said...

Thank you for your courage with such a difficult subject. You'll never please the world..There is never a reason to drink. If you choose to do drink, then you should limit yourself to two cocktails... Drinking not only makes you loose control of your judgment, and is not good for your health; it will often show a side of your personality..which never needs to be known. I enjoyed this post..keep up the good work..

Dorothy from grammology
call your grandma
http:grammology.com

Josie Two Shoes said...

What a wonderful surprise to find this "postscript" on your previous answer, Loz! I am like you, and always think of more things I wish I'd said later, but I like it when you respond "off the cuff" - in my mind, that is when people are most real and unrehearsed. Again I can relate to what you write here. I have been in situations beyond my control (both self-induced and not), and it always terrified me - if not at the time, then certainly later!) I don't trust myself not to get me into trouble, because I've done it too often as it is.

I also have a strong fear of developing a dependency on alcohol. I know how easily that happens in families that are predisposed. I saw my tolerance for alcohol rise to alarming levels in less than a six month period once. That was enough to make me quickly re-evaluate playing with it. Even recently I've indulged a bit and found it much to easy to get into the "nightcap" mentality. Having a drink if I am out with someone... maybe, having more is unlikely. Keeping a stash at home would be purely stupid on my part.

I am curious, would you now, with the wisdom you have at this age, allow yourself to take even one drink, or is it too engrained in your personality to even consider it? I didn't drink a drop for many years, now I am realizing that I can do just one, but I won't be doing it very often. Like you, I don't trust myself that much.

Loz said...

Pen - you are way too kind.

Dorothy - I guess its the Jeckyl and Hide potential that does keep me a teetotaller.

Loz said...

Josie - I once wrote a post on the three tenets

1. "I yam what I yam and that's all I yam" - Popeye
2. "The only person I have to get better than is who I am right now." - Colonel Sherman Potter; MASH 4077
3."To thine own self be true." - Bill Shakespeare

So if I am to apply each of those to answer your question then I can't ever see myself imbibing. It is too ingrained and is a fundamental plank to who I am.

That's not to say things might change in the future when I finally grow up ;)

FindingHeart said...

Loz,
As I understand it or believe it, true alcoholism can often stem from genetic traits. My niece's birth father is an alcic, so she and I believe that it would be easy for her to travel that path. My point is not that alcohol is a weakness for her, but that her strength is realizing that it could cause trouble and thus avoid it preemptively.

Sure there may be some fear in there for you, but I totally read it as wisdom and conviction.

The book that enlightened me about my man-validation thing: Wild at Heart (http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0785268839/102-7461488-1926544?v=glance&n=283155&v=glance) and no, I'm not getting kickbacks for that link. ;)

Gypsy said...

Dear Loz,
I love your "off the cuff" style as Josie put it. If we reread and edit and poke and prod our posts too much it ends up being a mere shadow of what it originally started off as.

You don't need to explain yourself to anyone Loz. I admire you for being a strong enough individual to stand by what you believe in and not falter from the path you have set yourself on. I understand more than most what the Aussie culture is like and especially if you're a bloke. It says to me that you have the courage of your convictions and the strength of character to withstand the challenge to your beliefs.

Good on ya Loz. I think you are a bonza guy :)

Jeff said...

I share this with you, my friend. I would like to think that I don't drink entirely because of my spiritual convictions. However, as I look back at my life, there are other things that didn't survive its conviction virginity.

So, I must admit, that I have never been drunk because I do not want to lose control. Ironic, when I think of the source of my faith - my Christianity, is all about surrender and giving up control. Amazing. Thanks for helping me self-examine.

HappyStill said...

Hi again.
I have only just joined your merry band of fans but loving it already.. specially the tunes.
I understand your feelings about alcohol.. I come from a long line of people who drink more than they should (and smoke and gamble and God knows what else). Somehow, most of the family hold it together. More by accident than design I imagine.
I know what you mean about fearng drink.. you don't really know you're an alcoholic til you start drinking and then it's no easy task to give up.
I do drink occasionally and I take great delight in going over the top an odd time. I don't drink in the company of my kids or my nieces and nephews because I know exactly what it's like to have a drunken adult spoil the night!
I applaud your honesty and your self awareness. But there's no shame in sobriety or control. But don't forget to cut loose and show yourself up sometimes. Even sober, it's quite a liberating experience.Keep smilin

Finn said...

I write off the top of my head too. And I don't edit either. The posts are one way in my head and come out completely different. But I think that's good. You're not writing an essay for class, you're writing a journal entry.

As for the drinking, we all have to find what works for us. I understand being scared about losing control; it's the reason I stopped smoking pot in college!

awannabe said...

That first fear is the one that over rides everything else for me- losing control. I know exactly where you are coming from.

Loz said...

Findingheart - I will make sure I look up that book.

Loz said...

Gypsy - thank you...maybe when you read the answers to the rest of Josies questions you'll change your mind about my strength of character.

Loz said...

Jeff - I'm glad I made you think. I enjoy reading posts that force me to look at things in a different light too. I have pondered the nature of faith and think I need to explain a bit more about that part of my life too. Thanks for reminding me.

Loz said...

Happystill - welcome to my world and thank you for contributing. I once wrote a post that began with the words "Perhaps it was my father's Irish blood that drove him to drink..." I'm not sure how true that statement is but I do know there are a lot of similarities between Aussies and Irish. I look forward to visiting your country one day.

Loz said...

Awannabe - reading your blog I know you do understand

HappyStill said...

Hi again
When you are in town, let me know.

Catherine said...

Loz! Everywhere I have been tonight I've seen that you have been there as well. :)

I'm so happy that Happystill visited your site (Hi Happy!).

I'm adding you to my link list on my blog.

:)

Loz said...

Welcome Catherine - it's always good to welcome new visitors and to add them to my blogroll. :)

Ingrid said...

I can relate to the fear. My father was an alcoholic. My brother is struggling with that as well. I remember feeling that same fear in the past. I do drink ocassionally, but luckily I do not have a compulsion to do so. Unfortunately, my addictive tendencies were expressed in my compulsive cigarrette smoking. It's been two years since I quit and I still have to fight urges every now and then.

Loz said...

Ingrid - what comes first the addictive personality or the addiction?

meleah rebeccah said...

Oh Loz, you are LUCKY you CAN and Do write that way.

I spend WAY too much time laboring over every word.

As far as drinking, I had a BIG problem with that for a VERY long time. I had to work VERY hard to get to the 'moderation place'

But....not all people can do that. I guess that all depends on what you think you can handle or what you want to do.

M said...

Oh my dear Loz... I share nearly all of the same fears. I think that it comes from getting old enough to know that vulnerability can be a virtue just because it's so damn hard. For me part of passing the 50 mark has been allowing myself to be human and loving myself for the same reason others love me. A hard lesson to be sure. As for the drinking, only you can answer the question, but from what I have read these past months, you're doing just fine. Truly, you are a beautiful man.

Loz said...

Mel - moderation is the key of course and people who do find that spot are the lucky ones.

I do worry about my kids, not because they seem to be heading down the path my Dad did, but because there is a bit of a culture of binge drinking that I abhor.

Loz said...

M - having just passed 50 myself I know exactly what you mean about learning to love yourself. It is a very hard lesson to learn and like you I still struggle with it at times.