For All The Cows – Breaking The Habit

Bad habits come as natural to me as a duck to water.I have the classic list of bad stuff going on.Nothing mental like wife-beating or stealing from topshop.You know – the usual. Smoking, drinking, watching too much porn, biting my nails, reading ‘the sun’, not washing behind my ears, forgetting birthdays etc. Nothing too drastic and they all come and go. I live with them on a daily basis. However this isn’t to say im happy about that. In fact at times it can be pretty upsetting.

I’m really not the strongest of people despite my out going nature.My bad habits have a history of haunting me and it’s something ive grown to accept,despite knowing exactly what i need to do to end them.I seem to constantly put myself into the path of temptation and when it boils down to it i rarely win these battles,despite my efforts. But habits are habits for a reason. They are designed to let you take the easy way out and allow you mull it over later.Quite a contrast of good versus evil im sure you’ll agree.

I know the solutions.We all do. I tend to put the feeling of guilt behind me rather quickly as this requires more thought than i really feel necessary or in other words – more than i feel comfortable with. However like most things in life, these things tend to catch up with you and be it big or small, all bad habits must eventually be dealt with one way or another. Bad habits are fine if kept in check. It’s when you let these impulses take over the penny will drop at sompoint.

It has dawned on me(and not for the first time) that my moral victories have mostly came the hard way and i write this as an example on how not to handle things.I won’t get all preachy but i would like to share my experiences with you, one of which my family doesn’t even know of.I’ll get into why later.As i said i have learned the hard way through my own damn doing, and  the only reason i have curbed my habits in the past is through being hurt by it in some way or another,which isn’t really anyway to go about things.

Firstly i will look into alcohol as i believe this was the catalyst to some of my bad habits today.I’ll give a completely honest view on my experiences so if you don’t want to read about me reminiscing,watch this instead.Mental.

I remember the first time i was hammered (apart from the family holiday to Malta when i was eight but that was a complete accident),was a New Years party at Pappagallos, when i had just turned Thirteen. It was closed for the night but we had friends and family round.As expected i was allowed one beer and that was my lot.The Kitchen Porter at the time was 17-year-old Jono Bell who had brought a friend along,aswell as a bottle of Morgans (I’m sure you can see where this is going).I recall finishing my beer then proceeding to knock back half of the Morgans when the lads had turned their backs. Needless to say,i was fucked and ended up on the kitchen floor,lying in my own sick before the bells to the delight of my parents friends and family.Mess.

But that was it for me. Didn’t really touch a drop untill i was Sixteen and that’s when the fun began.Countless memorable parties got the ball rolling and of course it wasn’t a case of drinking to be sociable at that age. It was to drink as much as i could as fast as i could,anytime i could. Most of my friends began to take it in their stride,and handled their drink a bit better than i did.Sadly it wasn’t really the case for me.

It really was a roll of the dice with how I’d handle my booze. Sometimes i was aggressive,loud and tactless but overall pretty harmless.I was a bit of a handfull.My friends always looked after me despite the states i would get myself in. These things didn’t worry me atall.I always had a good time. What did bother me was that it was at the expense of others. I had zero filter and whatever was on my mind I’d say. This really started to get to me as i would either regret things i said or not remember saying them.Recently Paul and I had this conversation. We talked about how none of the crowd we seen week in week out in the clubs actually liked us much,but we didn’t care.It’s true. We didn’t and had some awesome times.Infact our group of friends really didn’t give a shit and together we  had the most amazing times.

I was still in this frame of my mind when i left to travel.That’s when i realised a lot of things.One of the things addressed was my behaviour when drunk.Being in Aberdeen for that long moulded me into someone i didn’t like and i took this away with me.It was one night in Vietnam that changed the type of drunk i was for good and that one night alone changed things forever.

I have actually written about this incident in the blog ‘The Ballad Of Me And My Friends’ which you can read here –

https://fromfirsttolast1.wordpress.com/2009/11/04/one-year-on/

To this day i feel like i have a good grasp on my drinking and nine times out of ten – feel in control. If i hadn’t left Aberdeen I’m not sure i would have found that level of maturity with alcohol. It took  feeling ashamed and embarrassed about myself to change my ways. I’m glad I’m not a dickhead anymore. Or at least don’t feel like one.

The morning after the train.

Now i wouldn’t necessarily say drinking was a bad habit. At times perhaps however the years i smoked weed certainly was.And was more destructive for the brain than reading ‘The Sun’ everyday.

Now smoking does different things for different people with varying effects.Sure we are all have disks for pupils after a spliff but in the longterm people handle it in different ways (much like drinking).This is an account of the effects it had on me.

I started when i was Seventeen and smoked pretty much most days untill i was Twenty or so.Not really that long in the life of a stoner i guess but it was still enough time to fuck me up. Initially i had a great time with it.Some of my fondest memories are the adventures we went on and the fun we had. I had around ten different places i could go if i wanted a smoke. I just needed to ring the buzzer.The trouble started when it became boring.And i mean really boring. It was no longer fun to sit around a flat on a Saturday night,watching Family Guy and eating shite. It got repetitive however i continued to do it. It wasn’t the start of my problems, however it was the beginning of my downfall.

I had moved out of home for the first time and moved in with Andy and Wilson.Moving out  gave me ample time to smoke my lungs out from the comfort of my own room. I didn’t have to leave the flat to be bored anymore. I could do that on my own! It soon became a morning,noon and night thing and escalated into a  problem.Everyday i smoked without fail and at this point i was still enjoying it.

Eventually after a few months i moved back home.My first venture away from home was always going to be a failure despite what i thought at the time.The real problems started from here.I remember not being able to adapt very well to the transition. I couldn’t smoke all the time in my parents house and i really wasn’t enjoying the feeling as i once did.Infact i started to really dislike it. One thing i had noticed when smoking with friends is how paranoid i became with every word i said. Sometimes i was afraid to talk. There seemed to be this other sensible voice in side of my head,constantly telling me what i was doing wrong and judging what i said.This had now transferred to smoking alone and i would find myself going mad with it as i really couldn’t switch it off untill the weed had worn off.

At this stage i wanted to quit.But i couldn’t. I started to hate who i was becoming but felt a bit powerless against it. I then started feeling incredibly down after every joint. So much so that i couldn’t answer texts,talk on the phone or even look in the mirror. I would lie in my room instantly regretting what i just did. I felt like i was cracking up. My parents knew and questioned me about it but i constantly denied it. There was no more fun to be had. I had to give up.

Much like my behaviour when drunk there was ‘a final straw’ for me and it happened at Leeds festival,a place where i enjoyed smoking so much the years before.It was late at night and we were all sitting round the campfire.I had brought some weed down with me but i really didn’t want to smoke it. However i did and instantly i regretted it. All the shite things that kicked out the good came back again and i knew right away that i had enough. I left the group without saying goodbye and walked into the arena to find a quiet place to sit away from everyone and see it out. I didn’t want to be like this anymore. I was miserable and couldn’t even enjoy a beer with my friends. It was beginning to really fuck my life up.I came back hours later after the feeling had diminished.

I’ve given up now with only a couple of minor lapses since then. Some people seem to think that smoking weed is harmless. Well I’m not here to judge that nor want too. I can only account for my experiences. It took me a whole year after quitting to really feel right again. I felt like i was talking into a bubble. I know people who have been smoking a lot longer than me and are perfectly fine. I know people who aren’t. I couldn’t smoke again.However i do enjoy JK –

http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-4827818775492694694#

One bad habit that still crops up from time to time is gambling.Now gambling, hands down gave me one of the worst nights of my life and one i didn’t talk about often as it still bothers me  to this day. I have never been a good gambler,from coupons to cards I’m pretty useless but get a kick out of it nevertheless.I have fond memories of spending every last penny on a bandit and have to walk home. And for what? A few quid in coins.Better than a few pounds in chips i guess.I had my fair share of those too( chippers not casino chips) In exodus I’d walk back and forth to that bandit all night with my success rate of winning (and pulling)being pretty small.I don’t even know how to play them(Bandits that is.Not woman.I don’t play woman either.Just hungry hippos).

The night in question was not long before i went travelling. I had began playing roulette online but again,having no clue how it worked.The spin of the wheel,the sounds,the colours and the possibility of winning big hooked me.I remember on my first day of playing i bagged 300 but risked a silly amount just to get that. I had no system or strategy. It was either stick a hundred on a colour or randomly cover random numbers. I remember feeling great about it and that night went back for more. Before i knew it i was out of control,quickly losing the 300 and chasing it. A feeling of pure sickness riddled my head and stomach each time i pressed the spin button,something that i had never felt before. I quickly began losing control and couldn’t even look at the screen.I really felt helpless. A short time later i was down over grand in two spins not including the 300.I felt disgusted.A big part of what i had worked so hard for disappeared before my eyes and I’m not talking about the money i had won. I’m talking about cold hard wages that i had earned to travel with. I don’t earn a lot and this was a big loss for me.  My year had already been pretty shitty for various reasons and the light at the end of the tunnel momentarily flickered out.I really wanted out of Aberdeen at that time. I broke downinto tears and everything just came to a head for me.I was in a sorry state. It wasn’t so much the gambling that did that but just a combination of emotions rising to the top. I knocked a bottle of wine back in one and spoke to gamble aware. The guy on the other end was fucking useless.

“Yeh so like…..close the laptop and put it away”

Cheers Captain Hindsite.Your advice would have been good half an hour ago.

I felt horrible. That really hurt me. It wasn’t so much about the money but the feeling of no control that really shook me up. That night bugged me for a longtime and i still think about it from time to time. Roulette is highly addictive. As is Katy Perry –

As for my other habits i keep them mostly in check. I wash behind my ears on birthdays and only read the sun if there isn’t and Daily Sports left. As for smoking? (cigarettes not weed) Yeh i still do that.Infact more than i used to as my girlfriend does but im a bit of a casual smoker these days. Don’t get the opportunity to watch porn much these days and i’m sure i wont forget that im turning 25 in December. These past five years have flown by.

I am interested to hear your dirty,disgusting bad habits!. A few years down the line from starting this blog, i still have limited knowledge to who actually reads them.I would really like to hear from you.Please drop me a comment.

Crocker.

In a day where i played roulette online again,truthfully i felt i needed to send this out to keep me focused on dealing with the problem at hand and not letting them over run me. This blog has done it for me in the past and continues to this day. Writing about things that bother me and letting you guys know about is a great outlet for me and it  seems to keep my problems in check. Perhaps an entry best saved for personal reading but i just don’t get the same feeling keeping my thoughts locked up as i do sharing them.If you made it down here thank you for reading.

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About Darren Crocker

Twenty nine year old from Aberdeen, Scotland now residing in Edinburgh. View all posts by Darren Crocker

2 responses to “For All The Cows – Breaking The Habit

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