100 Sober Days. Challenge 1% complete.

If you’re reading this, you were probably trawling google researching alcohol abuse, abstinence, sobriety, moderation, etc. etc.

If you can’t find the answers you were looking for, check back here in 100 days, and I may have something to share with you.

I am, as of today, the focal point of the most astronomical and groundbreaking experiment I have ever conducted. I’ve dissected frogs, mixed olive oil with vinegar, farted on a lit match and downed coke and mentos simultaneously, so I am no stranger to the unknown, but I am about to turn a stone whose mere presence has irritated me for some time now.

Beneath this large, weighty stone, scrawled across the centre of the surface, scribed of deep grooves in a harsh, spiky font is the word:

“Alcoholic.”

Thats right. I’ve tried to ignore it for some time now, but the stone metaphor I played around with just a few lines prior to this one is very apt. Thats how it feels. It’s pointless to carry this stone any further. I’m not Frodo. Im not Harry Potter. I have no duty to my world. (Unless you count my social circle, who start world war three if I stay in on a Friday night. Fortunately, they won’t be reading this blog, and they have all sold their electronic equipment for a cheap bottle of scotch).

Thats all very melodramatic, by the way. It’s not that bad. I’m not supplementing by morning Special K with Baileys just yet, but I’d be lying if I said I haven’t hobbled through the last 2 years of my life with a crutch by my side.

Having said that, my situation is very different to a number of alcoholics, and I want you to read the rest of this paragraph before you start formulating which paragraph of the big book you want to throw at me.

For two years, I have been taking Sertraline, an SSRI prescribed for anxiety, depression and OCD. In my case, it was prescribed for all three. Similarly, for 18 months, I have had a serious drinking problem. Do you see where I am going with this?

A month ago, I was about to have a dental implant, (to replace a tooth I had lost in a drunken stupor, ironically), when I received the news that I can’t smoke for 3 months. Wow. So I thought, you know what, F**K it, I’ll give up all of my vices, INCLUDING my SSRI!

Yeah. How big and clever am I?

For two weeks, I literally had the most amazing time of my life. I didn’t crave or consume any alcohol or cigarettes, I didn’t binge eat, I exercised daily, without effort, and with pure pleasure and euphoria – something that I haven’t done in 2 years. Every morning at 6am, I could not wait to slip into my running shoes and prance off to the lake for a revitalising job and meditation session amidst the stillness of the water and duck shit.

Interesting eh? It gets better. If you know about SSRI’s, you will know you should never stop taking them cold turkey, and you should taper down slowly. After 2 weeks, BOOM, massive withdrawals. Mood instability, depression, anxiety, brain zaps, you name it, I had it. So, I caved. I started up my medication again, and although I haven’t smoked since my implant, my alcohol, and sugar cravings are through the roof! The day I started taking them again, I woke up at 5am, wandered down stairs, destroyed a bag of fruit pastilles, and trotted of back to bed.

So, I googled ‘SSRI and alcohol cravings,’ and I discovered hundreds of people who, like me, had no history of substance abuse, but since taking an SSRI had become like born again Charlie Sheens!

I am sure there are a number of readers who are sitting there thinking, ‘Yup, Classic Denial, sedate him and wheel the fucker off.’ Believe me. I am not in denial. I have told those nearest and to me that I think I am an alcoholic. I have told my doctor the same. Not one of these people have really given a shit – I don’t blame them. It’s not their burden to bear. Having said that, in retrospect, I do wish my doctor didn’t respond by boosting my dose up a notch or two…

Anyway, the experiment. Over the next 100 days, I am abstaining for 2 reasons. The first, is that I want to safely taper of my medication. I’d stop cold turkey, but the side effects are horrible.

Secondly, after 100 days, I want to see what my relationship with alcohol is like. I will take a measured approach with this, and I won’t be injecting whisky into my eyeballs come 12.00 on day 100. I am very aware of the fact that I may be an alcoholic by nature.

I am not happy about any of this, by the way. Whether my SSRI is to blame or am truly an alcoholic, the fact that I have to abstain for a minimum of 100 days, possibly for life, at the age of 22 quite frankly sucks d**k. I have deleted my facebook account for this period, too. I can’t stand to see all my friends sitting in beer gardens, taking selfies which are EVIDENTLY meant to piss me off. I’m hoping that I will wander into a new life of total sobriety and abstinence with ease, grace, and wisdom, and that on the other side of this 100 day long hill lies enjoyment beyond my knowledge; fluffy clouds, sugary tea and blowjobs on tap.

Of course, there is always the distinct probability that I will sit around wallowing in self pity, wiping my tears away with alcohol free andrex wet wipes, and wishing I was still a child.

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