Sunday, 3 January 2016

When it stops being fun

The only resolution I made - even before January 1st - was to try and avoid conflict as far as possible by keeping my ill thought-out opinions to myself. Wish me luck.

The sort of conflict I usually find myself in is caused by opening my big mouth before I have engaged the brain in first gear. This is a trait which I have inherited from my mother. From my father, I inherited the tendency to never back down in an argument, and together these two things can be very wearing if taken to extremes on a daily basis. 

Anyway, that's enough about me. How about you? What do you think about my latest resolution? (This is an old joke which my late sister was very fond of).

John has written a post about being kind to others, but sometimes it is very difficult to know the best way of going about it.

Last night, a 32 year-old woman came into the pub and asked for a lime and soda. I first met her when she was extremely pretty and engaging, about 10 years ago, also in the pub. Then she began to down pints of rough cider with spirit chasers and quickly started to lose her looks, along with the more appealing aspects of her personality. She is only about 5 foot three inches tall, but even a large man would have difficulty in processing that much alcohol.

The initial signs of her downfall manifested themselves in the way she used sexuality to make up for any other sort of appeal - I mean she used to rub herself up on the nearest man on a nightly basis, and you know how difficult it is for the average elderly man to ignore that sort of thing from a young woman. Believe it or not, I managed it. Beauty is, as they say, from within.

She tried to get herself together by becoming an auxiliary nurse, caring for others. She still drank in her time off, and pretty soon she was in hospital with liver disease. They released her with warnings about lifestyle, but within a year she was back and on a drip again - in the very same hospital.

They put her into a rehab hostel, partly because she lost her flat, and the regime included stringent daily alcohol tests. She told me yesterday that she had failed the last one by taking some cough medicine which showed up as 0.2 units, and was consequently asked to leave. The NHS, like God, helps those who help themselves.

I didn't believe her. Alcoholics always lie. They are always in denial,

As I rolled a cigarette, she lied by saying that she had some tobacco somewhere in the bottom of her bag, but couldn't find it. This was the prompt for me to give her some, which I did.

She ordered another lime and soda, all the while looking longingly at my beer. Then she said she was going to check in to the nearby YMCA before going to the train station to see if anyone had handed in her phone which she had recently mislaid. Or maybe the other way round. Fuck it, she was going to go to the station tomorrow. The phone could wait.

As I left, she ordered a half pint of lager, on the grounds that a half wouldn't do any harm.

"Why are you looking at me like that?"

"Because I like you and I don't want to watch you kill yourself", were my last words before I went home.

I wonder how much she drank last night.

26 comments:

  1. Or perhaps she stopped at one......your little act of kindness WAS your final sentence

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  2. By 9pm I doubt you will be able to keep your ill thought-out opinions to yourself.

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    1. My fears exactly. Let's see, shall we?

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  3. "Kind" can be overrated; your young friend seems to take it as approbation and a signal she will find kindness next time and the next and the next. But, I don't know the answer either. It's still about personal choices, and it was kind to chose to say you cared about her well being. And so it goes.

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    1. Alcoholics are the most difficult people to deal with in terms of kindness. How can you like the man who comes home drunk and beats up his wife and kids? There comes a point when no excuse will suffice, and they are really on their own in every respect. I suppose it's a form of suicide through self-loathing, which is sad in itself.

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  4. Like any addiction I suppose it is so difficult to understand if one is not addicted oneself. Agree with you it is sad Tom.

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    1. Yes, Weave - it's like depression. I have never experienced the real thing so I don't know what it is like.

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  5. Awful to lose control over everything in one's life. Poor soul.
    As to your resolution: why? We would miss something if you stop grumbling and start playing on the lute.

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    1. Ok. I will come back and upset you in 2016.

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  8. Tom I think that in being kind to an individual sometimes involves what appears to be the opposite. To be cruel to be kind can and does work according to the circumstances, for it can pull an individual up short and make them start thinking for themselves about their actions and the effect that it has on others.

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  9. She is so young, I hope she gets help, this is a case where kindness can do more harm than good. Greetings Maria

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    1. Unravel please, otherwise it means nothing to me.

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  10. Resolutions? No don't. Internet friends for what? 5 years. I love you just as you are.

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    1. Ah, Moll. Thank you, and as I said recently, welcome back. X

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  11. I can get into trouble and conflict even when I try to be kind.....and I have conflict in my everyday worklife so certainly try to avoid it outside of work.....intentions and words sometimes let us down. As for you and your encounter last night then I think that yes alcoholics do lie and you were considerate and kind. That lady has her own basket of concerns to carry and you won't be able to help her...so what you said and did sufficed. Happy New Year.

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    1. Yes, it is hard to sit back and watch, but at Least I don't live with her - neither does anyone else these days.

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  12. Unfortunately to do anything about it, an alcoholic must first want to change. Hopefully your comment was the catalyst Tom. Alcohol dependence is comp!ex, believe me.

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    1. Complex condition with simple outcomes.

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  13. I think serious alcoholism is a terribly sad thing, especially with someone so young. I hope it's not too late for her to recover, but it sounds as if she's very far gone. "Suicide by self loathing" is as accurate a description of alcoholism as I've ever heard.

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    1. Yes, she started aged about 20. I think she has problems with her family, but it is hard to know which came first.

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  14. Someone once asked me if I thought I was an alcoholic. They looked quite surprised when I replied 'yes'. But at least I keep my alcoholism to a minimum, and haven't yet been connected to a drip, or been to rehab.

    The three most popular instruments of suicide are the knife & fork, and glass. All are very addictive.

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    1. I have often asked myself the same question, and believe (hopefully not in denial) that I am a naturally habitual person, not an addict in the strict sense. I am addicted to tobacco, though. That I will admit to.

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