I'm on 1203 days sober with alcohol. With weed, I've been on and off for 18 years, 14 of which I've been smoking. I quit daily cigarette smoking nearly 15 years ago, so I use marshmallow leaf when I roll J's.
Alcohol use lasted around 7 years. I'd been tipsy once as a young teenager when on holiday with my family in Germany. That felt playful and light-hearted.
On the other end of the scale, in college I went to my first house party, hadn't eaten much all day and some tequila shots quickly sent me spiralling. I sat in the living room and the drunkeness was hitting me, but it was too strong and I didn't like it. Kicked out of my first ever house party within a few hours of arriving.
Threw up on the motorway/freeway when dad picked me up, and the wind swept the vomit all into the back of the car. A car my parents had bought a few weeks earlier. Ended up with alcohol poisoning, woke up - every time I moved it made me vomit.
Ended up retiring to the bathroom - lying on the carpet (odd - yet luxurious for a bathroom floor) and curled up in the fetal position I tried hard not to be sick, as by that point it was luminous bile. Ended up semi-passed out on my stomach on the bed. GP visited my bedroom, which was probably a tip. He injected me in my butt-ock and tut-tutted. Maybe at the state of me, or maybe my room.
I didn't touch alcohol for over 8 years after that event. And the shame of going back to my friends in college the following Monday. Apparently demanding cups of tea and bj's at the party. How delightfully cringeworthy. Alcohol abuse is higher with neurodiversity, as are addiction rates in general. But with alcohol I find it eased social fatigue and struggle. But if I drank too much, it would tip the scale and I'd go from being covertly autistic to 101% shameless, oafish, loud and proud autistic. But the Dutch courage that booze gives you is a false economy, like any addiction.
Then, one Christmas with my family, and not smoking weed at the time, I had a few beers, felt that warm buzz, like the time I got tipsy in Germany as a teenager. That was it. Began drinking regularly after that. My usage ramped up in the last 4 of the 7 years drinking. Especially when I started a 4 on 4 off job. Then, when me and my ex bought a house - signing those documents my gut was screaming "don't do it". Drinking got worse and worse in that relationship. I also started up smoking weed again, having been without for over a year and a half.
After the 4 on 4 off job I got one where it was high stress, and my working hour start and finish times changed over 10 times. When it sat on evening shift I ended up getting drunk in the morning before work, and nursing a hangover in the office.
The job after that was my most stressful and I worked a lot of unpaid overtime, and was drinking almost daily without fail at that point. I handed in an extended notice at that job and a few weeks before I left I was going out to smoke weed on my lunchbreaks. That was way too intense, but I liked how cheeky it felt surfing the waves of paranoia and wondering if anyone would ask.
Mind you - I smoked weed in my first job and with one person I dated, we had a few months of picking up Cheese, which is an unusually smelly strain, and she would roll one on the drive to work, and she wasn't shy about amounts used. I must have stank the whole office out and not one person said a word. Interesting really, as I was sporting dreadlocks and a rather accentuated hippy look at that point.
I don't worry too much at my job now, as I've caught whiffs of it and nobody has said. Smoke just clings to clothes. But there's an alcoholic (one of several) at work. But this guy is at the point of his liver being shot, no end of hospital appointments, rotten teeth, and still drinking 20+ a day. Anyway, he goes home on his lunchbreak every day, as he lives in the village where the mill is. The smell of liquour and cigarettes on him is often overwhelming.
You speak to him though, and like every addict I've met, there's clearly suffering, but there's also a spark in them, and their personalities. A warmth, and a creativity and playfulness within.
Unlike a disease, an addiction initially makes us feel a degree of relief from our pain, perhaps of warmth, safety, ease and peace. It doesn't matter if it's temporary - it doesn't matter if the hangovers or comedowns wreak havoc on us and our sanity - because that initial warmth and masking of certain internal discomforts is enough for us to weather the storms addictions bring.