“I’m home”, said my wife, as she walked in the front door of our house in the Blue Mountains, West of Sydney. She’d been out after work with the girls for coffee.
It was mid evening on a Friday night, I’d had a long day at work and had taken my afternoon dose of the latest drug I’d been prescribed. Palexia SR is a slow release Opioid Analgesic. Its active ingredient is Tapentadol. I’d been on this drug for about a week and it was working OK. Better than the last one anyway.
The football is on (NRL or National Rugby League for those playing at home) and my favourite team are playing. I don’t remember what happened in the game, but based on our season that year, I’m going to assume we got smashed. My team weren’t the only thing to get smashed that night.
In every prescription drug you get, it always says something like ‘Do not mix with alcohol’ or ‘this drug may increase the effects of alcohol and is considered dangerous’. But who takes any notice of that. I sure didn’t.
I had a few beers with food over the course of about an hour and a half. Tonight was the first drink I’d had in weeks, and also the first with this drug.
“How was your day?”, asked my wife.
“Pphhrrrittee good, ow’s yours?”, I replied.
“How many beers have you had?”, she said glancing at the two empties on the coffee table.
“Two… Why?”, I slurred.
“Because you’re smashed”.
“Am nawh”, as I stood up quickly to enforce my point.
This was when the whole room spun a complete 360 as I was standing still. I then fell back onto the lounge and started pissing myself laughing. I was in that fun stage of alcoholic stupor, where you’re a tad more happy than usual, laughing too loud, and a little unsteady on your feet. Being this intoxicated was fun in my teens and early twenties, but now that I’m unsteady on my feet every day, adding this much drunkenness to the picture was a recipe for disaster.
In all seriousness though, my wife was considering taking me to the hospital. I’d only had two beers and was so drunk I was crawling up the stairs to bed. I thought it was hilarious, but my wife stayed awake half the night to make sure I was still breathing.
Reality set in the following morning when I woke up with the worst hangover I’ve ever experienced.
I slowly made my way downstairs, nursing the hangover from hell, to find my wife in the kitchen. I glanced around at the boxes on the bench, the whisky, the beer… my rum. She’d packed what remained of any of my alcohol and had packed it in boxes ready to hand out to our friends and family.
‘Fair enough’, I said.
I didn’t drink for almost eighteen months.
Photo by Kjersti Magnussen