I watched the Louis Theroux documentary Drinking to Oblivion last night, where he spent time at King’s College Hospital in London. He interviewed patients whose alcoholism has put them in A&E and some who ended up in the specialist liver centre.
One of the people he interviewed was a Cameroonian lady called Aurelie who lives in a council flat in Brixton.
She is 43 years old and drinks on average 5 to 10 K Cider a day. (Scarily this did not seem like such a massive amount to me.)
Her eyes were the sorrowful, testament to the tough life she’s lived so far. She was shacked up with this guy that said he was her boyfriend but treated her like absolute shit. Louis asked her why she stayed with him and she said that no one else would want to have her as a partner because she was worth nothing.
The most poignant part of the interview was when Louis asked her if she thinks she can at least try to stop drinking for the sake of her health. She thought for a bit and said “No, I don’t think so, because it would be like taking the roots out of a tree.”
Let that sink in for a minute…
The roots out of a tree.
The two main functions of roots are to deliver water and nutrients to the plant or tree and provide an anchor that keeps the plant or tree in the soil. Without the roots the tree can’t live.
This is the dark place down the rabbit hole where alcohol is your only coping mechanism for all your emotions. Sad, angry, disappointed, scared, anxious, disillusioned, depressed, irritated – DRINK
Alcohol has been at the core of my life for years. I’ve taken it away and it feels really scary! It feels Naked, exposed and really raw. I have to learn how to cope with everyday emotions all over again. To be honest I don’t think I ever actually knew how to cope with my emotions at any point of my life because I started drinking at 14.
I will not let alcohol be my root anymore. I will replace it with things that are truly nourishing and grounding. Exercise, healthy food, walks, ‘the work’ by Byron Katie. It feels a bit overwhelming but I know that if I don’t, I’ll may be joining Moroly at the liver unit at King’s College Hospital sooner rather than later.
Actually come to think of it there is something that is way more frightening than ending up in the liver unit of some hospital. The fear of a life half lived. That is what alcohol addiction guarantees and has been delivering on its promise to me for years.
It will take away all your curiosity, your natural awe and wonder for life and replace it with a homogenous dazed existence where all you are doing is either coping with a hangover, planning when you can next take a drink or getting wasted. A life where the authentic joy and splendour of life is replaced with a dangerous chemical that hijacks your brain.
That is way scarier than the liver unit or feeling my emotions in all their raw intensity! So what if i cry over everything these days? I think I’m going to make it.