When I go to see the specialist on Thursday, I have two prerequisites for my next treatment. My first request is that I will not be forced to take any addictive medication with horrific side effects. Having just had to home-wean myself off an extremely addictive drug that caused me to have auditory hallucinations, memory loss, an inability to sweat and excessive hair loss, I have no desire to repeat that process. Especially seeing as that particular medication didn’t even touch my Migraines.
My second request is that I’m allowed to drink alcohol. Currently, I haven’t been able to, due to the potential massive side effects alcohol could cause when mixed with the horrific drugs mentioned above. I’ve been a teetotaler before – when I lived in America, I couldn’t even step foot in a bar for the first six months before my 21st birthday, but somehow that was an easier pill to swallow. It was easier somehow to explain my teetotalism when there was a law about it.
I haven’t been out dancing in over a year. I miss dancing. I miss the theatre, I miss shows with big bright lights and thumping music. I miss being in my early twenties and getting drunk. That tipsy feeling in your toes just before you drink too far. The excitement of the night ahead. The getting ready. The make up. The dresses. The shoes. Walking into a pub. Ordering a glass of wine. Not having to explain my medical history as I sip orange juice. I live in a city where nobody drives. The Designated Driver excuse gets me nowhere here. Meeting social expectations for once. Fitting in. Feeling a part of the crowd.
I enjoy alcohol. I miss gin. I live in the country where 70% of the world’s gin is manufactured, as well as the majority of the world’s whisky. I am surrounded by distillery tours, cocktail bars, bright lights in the big city – yet I can’t partake.
I’ve been told off for wanting to ask for alcohol. Apparently that’s throwing up obstacles in the path of the specialists and I should know that what I’m asking for is too much. I should appreciate that I have to give things up for my disease and I have to put up with these things in order to get well. I must take responsibility for my actions.
I struggled with this idea because I myself struggle with this representation of my life through alcohol. I was always brought up to avoid alcohol and have never been a big drinker. Perhaps that’s why I want to rebel now. Perhaps that’s why I see alcohol as claiming back some small portion of my independence. That pouring a glass of wine at the end of the day will be a small version of the way I wanted to see myself being at this age.
This is my win. I can’t ask on Thursday for someone to give me back my future. I can’t ask for the marriage, the children and the career that I want. I can ask for alcohol. I can finally have a reason for the year-long hangover I’ve just survived. This could be my stepping stone to that future.
This is why I want the opportunity to be able to drink in my twenties. I want to be normal. I want my life back.