During the past 6 months I have had a lot of time to think and draw conclusions of my life so far. The one which is more and more transparent is that every mistake I have made has been the result of alcohol. As a young teen I had come accustomed to binge drinking in parks with friends and because of the nature of my family business I was never short of a few bob to contribute to the session.
Drinking was a taboo in the Sikh community as I was growing up, there was also a lot of pressure on the family to keep up appearances with others. It was a case of my son does not drink and my son does not smoke what about your son? Everything had to be secretive from my parents and community as I did not want to be perceived as the black sheep. My first experience with drinking like many young guys was finding myself getting paralytic as not knowing your own tolerance and creating your own concoctions normally leads to this.
I found to my amazement that the more I was drinking the higher my tolerance was getting and soon I could drink a bottle of spirit no problem and while others would fall away I could keep going. This quickly gained me a reputation and I seem to enjoy the attention of having this super power. What I was not aware of but realize now is the extreme change of character that came apparent when I was drinking to others. I was “The Man”, my ego would swell and I would assume I am unbreakable.
Drinking also affected my inhibitions and I slowly started become more and more unaware of how I was making others feel. I think looking back that I became arrogant, rude and sometimes cruel when I was drinking and this is not my nature but a demon that I was releasing through alcohol. To maintain this image and continue to get my ego massaged I continued to drink excessively through college… Always in the daytime so that I could be home by 6pm and my parents would not know.
On one occasion my tongue got the better of me and I said something to really upset someone. They attacked me viscously and from stories that I have heard, I was beaten in the face continuously while I lay unconscious. It was savage and brutal and nobody assisted me in anyway… the so called friends I had just let it be and I remember someone saying “he had it coming!”. When I returned home… the story had already hit the Punjabi grapevine and everybody was talking about it. There were various stories about what had occurred but surprisingly I was none the wiser. I remember my mother telling me I had brought shame to the family and I was told by many relatives that I am a really bad person and how could I do this to them.
I remained indoors for the following 2 weeks and let my face heal, It was a wake up call and apart from two later minor lapses I managed to stay on the wagon and complete my A’Levels and find a place at University. I have ran pubs as a landlord for over 5 years in Oxfordshire so alcohol somehow always manages to live in close vicinity to me.
Whilst at University, the drinking culture which naturally existed suited me to the ground. I was popular, fun to be around and made many friends. I was always deep down cautious as what happened to me in 1995 and would often peer over my back in a nightclub or be weary of people near me as I would feel I might be getting jumped or someone could attack me without me knowing at any given time. I suppose this was being paranoid but it was justified and I would rather be paranoid and be able to prevent this from happening again.