How much damage can 20 years of binge drinking do to a body? To a mind?
I know the liver takes the brunt of the abuse over the years. And that it has phenomenal powers of recovery. But what about the brain? What about the mind? What about injuries sustained whilst drinking?
I once woke up in a bloody heap on the floor at the bottom of some steps to a nightclub. I had paramedics around me and a huge gash in my head. Apparently I was knocked down the stairs by someone that took objection towards me. I was too drunk and concussed to remember. Too drunk and stubborn to go with the paramedics to get my head seen to also. So I just went home, covered in blood, delirious and fell asleep with an ice pack on my head.
Sometimes now when I’m having a mind blank moment, or I get verbally tongue tied. I just wonder how much damage I have caused myself.
Towards the last few years of drinking, black outs were becoming more and more common. And for less and less alcohol. The amount of times I woke up and did not remember the last part of the night was becoming increasingly ‘normal’.
That is, my brain just trying to protect its self and just packing up. Just saying, I’m out. I’m shutting down. Smart.
I recall a time waking up in another pool of blood. This time I’d fallen off a 12 ft wall that I was on. I wonder if I was unconscious before I hit the ground? Another gash. Another ‘drinking story’ . Another head trauma.
Sometimes now when I get random compressive headaches, that comes into my mind.
Alcohol is the product of decay. By it’s very nature, it rots its host. It rots in ways that can be obvious, Or subtle. I think about my organs. Not just my liver, but my kidneys and stomach. My pancreas, my heart.
All of these things have taken a prolonged beating. And I’m sure there will have been episodes when they have suffered a methaphorical ‘trauma’, due to excess.
I think about nights where I have drank full bottles of liquor, neat. From the bottle. I’m not bulletproof. This has caused damage somewhere along the line.
And I’m sorry.
I’m genuinely shameful when I look back at a collection of instances of abuse. This body that we have been given is nothing short of a miracle, it’s amazing.
The design and architecture of the human body is beauty in itself. The intricate workings of all of the self functioning systems. The ability to see, hear, smell, taste. To perceive the world through all these perfect senses.
The way that the heart pumps the blood through the inner canals of the body, transporting nutrients around like Cargo ships. Then the osmosis of these nutrients. Nothing greedy, each cell taking exactly what it needs and nothing more.
The adaptability to cope with the demands placed on the body. The way the muscles will grow and strengthen over time to cope with greater and greater loads. Or becoming more and more flexible, depending on what the host asks of it.
God has given us this body. This is the product of an infinitely intelligent designer and manufacturer. And I have been joy riding.
I have smashed the window in, stolen the keys and have been drink-driving down the wrong side of the motorway for way too long.
Even 6 months after quitting drinking, I still get headaches, I still feel intuitively that my low moods sometimes are alcohol related. I suppose I cannot expect redemption after 6 months.
I’ve had many physical and mental benefits already, but I feel that the more time sober, the richer and more deeply profound the benefits become. I’m talking about benefits like, appreciation. True appreciation. Appreciation of the wonderful machine that is ours to use and to love. Appreciation of the ability of appreciate.
I know that my healing has only just started. And that is a great feeling. i feel like damage has been done over the years. But I also know that time heals.
Step 1 is to stop the poison.
Step 2 is to make sure it stays stopped, and let time and nature do their thing.