I was going into my flat yesterday just as my neighbour was coming out. He caught me by surprise. I’ve not heard a sound from next door recently so I actually thought he’d moved out. I didn’t make eye contact. We don’t these days – not since the night I tried to kick his door in.
Yes, that’s right – well brought up, polite, middle class me, tried to kick his door down a few months ago. I think it was in February. I was, you guessed it, drunkety drunk drunk drunk. He’d been playing his music too loud, again. All I could hear was the pounding bass, booming from a speaker I’m sure he deliberately pointed at my wall.
During January and February I’d knocked on his door countless times to ask him to turn it down (nicely). He always would, begrudgingly, before eventually turning it back up again. Anyway, this one night I’d been drinking, home alone, and I just lost it. I went absolutely nuts. I banged on the wall that separates our two flats and yelled SHUT UP! To which he replied F**K OFF! So I marched myself round to his door and rather than knocking I started kicking it, again and again and again.
I can only imagine what I looked like, in my spotty dressing gown, pink pyjamas and slippers. When he finally opened the door we had a screaming match in the corridor which ended in me yelling “I HATE YOU, YOU’RE RUINING MY LIFE!”. So, just a tad over dramatic there.
Maybe he was drunk too. Maybe he’s also ashamed of the way he behaved. But he doesn’t play his music loudly anymore. He doesn’t make eye contact with me either.
Although this particular outburst was very out of character for me, it’s fair to say drinking made me more angry, compulsive, reckless. I did lots of stupid things when drunk. Even when I was sober I was irritable and prone to rash decisions. I used to think I was just being ‘honest’ but actually I was just grumpy and negative. My Dad once said to me that he thought I took after his mother, because I always see the glass half empty. That hurt, particularly as he was right.
I’m not saying that I’ve come over all zen like and calm since I stopped drinking. Not at all. But I am much better at controlling anger and stepping back. I still bash out angry emails to people when I’m annoyed. I just don’t send them. I wait until the next day, when I’ve calmed down. In general, I feel much more positive about life. Drinking made me feel so depressed the day after. Taking away those dark, hung over days has made a huge difference to my overall mood. Will I ever become a glass half full person? I hope so…