Justin wrote on 12th May:
Be careful ………….
I am no doctor/shrink whatever but….. Reading your blog & having lived thru watching my parents drinking problems….
I do wonder if you can in fact be a casual drinker…
At times I read your blog & think you cannot….
But at other times I must admit for your age & what you have been through & still can look at it pretty objectively…well I give you credit for that & hope you do well.
That aside I must say I do enjoy your blog & always look forward to another instalment.
Glad you’re having a nice time with Tan in the end happiness is where ever you can find it.
Good Luck & Good Health to you!
Yes, I too am unsure about this.
Although sometimes I behave like the very worst of hopeless drunks, for most of the time my drinking is fairly well under control.
Most of the alcoholics I have either read about, observed personally, or have heard their dire stories in AA meetings, appear for the most part to be far worse than me.
On occasions I can certainly match their worse behaviour, like crashing (or losing ) cars, getting into fights, having serious blackouts, indulging in two to three day non- stop binges, and so on.
Yet for me, these events are by no means a daily occurrence, as seems to be the case with most alcoholics. For the most part, they seem to happen when my state of mind is seriously disturbed by some domestic trauma, real or imaginary.
For the rest of the time I just have a few beers (rarely more than four large bottles), or I sip slowly on glasses of Sangsom soda, or share few glasses of wine, or maybe a couple of bottles of wine with a friend or friends.
Surely by the end of the evening I’m feeling little pain, but I am far from being paralytic.
The trick is to know when to call it a night. I always used to be in bed not later than one a.m. when I first came back to Thailand – partly because that’s when most of the bars closed, and partly because it was my lifetime habit. I’d simply had enough and was happy to call it a day. But when, with ever increasing frequency, my beloved Dang would not return home until four, five, six o’clock – or not at all – I gradually slipped into the habit of drinking longer and longer into the night.
If I talk to any of the long term, sober alcoholics from AA, and describe my drinking habits, as I have depicted them above, they will say, without any doubt whatsoever that I am an alcoholic. They will further assure me that if I don’t make a determined effort to stop for good the booze will drag me down and eventually kill me.
Up to quite recently I believed this absolutely. Now I am not so sure. It may well be that they are right, but as my dear AA friends would say, I still wish to do further ‘research’ before deciding.
Even one of my original AA buddies, an American of my age who spends most of his time in Cambodia, sent me an email the other day and suggested that I was doing myself more harm than good by continually stopping and starting the booze and worrying about it.
He suggested that for me, maybe the best thing would be to carry on drinking, and try to keep it under control.
He may be right.
On Tuesday I drove to Bangkok with Tan for her follow–up outpatient’s appointment which was at a hospital in that road jungle in Nonthaburi.
We left Pattaya at nine a.m., was in Nonthaburi by ten twenty, but it was only just before twelve that we reached the hospital.
No, this time we didn’t get lost, but the traffic was so totally horrendous. It reminded me of one of the main reasons I moved to Pattaya from Bangkok in the first place.
WTF??? Tuesday mid-morning – total gridlock!!!
The log jam over the Rama VII Bridge was unbelievable, and while I was waiting for Tan in the hospital I noticed that even Thai TV Channel seven was publicising the road problems in exactly the area we had just driven through.
Fortunately, after the appointment, the traffic was a little better when we retraced our steps to Tan’s aunt’s house.
I had met the first ‘tranche’ of Tan’s extended family in Nakhon Sawan a week or so back, and now I met the second tranche, who all lived in Bang Khen.
You may recall that Tan’s family occupied several houses all close together in Nakhon Sawan, and so this pattern was duplicated in Bangkok.
We arrived as many family members had gathered to celebrate the birthday of a two year old.
I looked around and yet again there was clear evidence tom me that the family was middle class.
There were plenty of decent looking vehicles parked outside, bedrooms were air conditioned , computer and work station lined the wall and so on.
The main thing that has struck me about Tan’s family is their obviously love of children, of which there seem to be endless numbers, and also how well behaved they are.
There is even the obligatory ‘lady-boy’ who was so good with the kids, and Tan told me that his (her?) mother was a lesbian!!
They were all very friendly to me, and it was such a pleasure to be able to listen and understand some of what they said and even join in a little. (No Issan spoken in Tan’s family).
Tan is so different in many ways from all the ladies I have lived with before. She has many endearing features.
I may have mentioned this before but she is just about the first Thai lady I have known who is happy to spend her own money – even on me – and will refuse if I try to reimburse her.
She never fights me, and if she thinks she has done or said something wrong or given me wrong information or turned up late she always apologises.
When we go upcountry or go to meet her friends and family, she doesn’t ‘dump’ me and immediately disappear for long periods like all the others used to do – leaving me totally bored with nothing to do. She is very attentive and stays with me for much of the time.
We actually talk about things and laugh and joke together. Sometimes when we are driving somewhere we talk for hours – belying the huge age gap between us.
I could go on, but that will suffice for now.
While at the birthday party in Bang Khen, Tan asked me if I wanted some beer. I had resolved to stay dry, but quickly became unresolved when the offer was made.
I had three large Singha beers with ice over a period of three hours, so I was far from drunk, but even so it was agreed that Tan would drive back to Pattaya.
We brought back Tan’s little seventeen month old daughter with us for a week. We will take her back to her aunt’s house next Monday, when Tan has to take her father back home from his hospital appointment in Bangkok.
I am enjoying having the little one with us, she is so cute and her mum loves her to bits.
I have suggested to Tan that if we still together in a few months I will rent a house and she can bring her daughter to live with us in Pattaya, to which she readily agreed. We will need a baby nurse/maid because Tan is going back to college.
I have a feeling deep inside me that this may well be my last chance to live a decent, normal family life. I want to give and not be selfish. I want to make others happy, because as so many have said, that may be the key to my own happiness. That’s the theory anyway.
If this fails, then I will probably be embarking down the slippery slope into my own private hell.
I’ve calmed down about the nonsense with Dave and what he told Jack about me, and why Jack felt the need to pass on Dave’s comments, as he must have known my what my reaction would be.
Somebody commented in the blog that they thought that Dave and Jack are right about me and that I am indeed a self righteous prig who is prone to anger.
Maybe I am at that.
I asked Bob what he thought, and he said that like him, I have very strong opinions and sometimes people feel they cannot argue against me, but that I have never forced my view on people – if they want to argue their case then no one is stopping them.
I fail to see what is wrong with a ‘spirited’ discussion. I never ‘throw my toys out of the pram’ and storm off if I can’t convince anyone of my point of view.
I have even been known to change my opinion if the counter argument is telling enough.
In spite of all his alcohol abuse, Dave is still a very intelligent person and is perfectly capable of stating his own case, if he really believed in it.
I sometimes feel that only stubborn people, who know they are wrong, but hate to admit it, make accusations of the kind that Dave has made about me.
Anyway, whether or not this is all down to me, is not really important in the grand scheme of things.
I have come to the conclusion that I must ‘cool’ my friendship with Dave for a while until I am mentally stronger and better able to handle him and his problems.
Right now, I just feel that he is dragging me down with him.
The same applies to Jack, not that I expect to hear from him for a year or so.