When I was a young man a hundred years ago, well, when I was 19, I became addicted to booze. I was so unhappy with life and my parents, particularly my father who had filled me with fear, that one night when a pal gave me a whisky for the first time I knew that that was how I wanted to live my life from then on...in a boozy haze that blotted everything out.
During that period I attempted suicide three times, but on the first occasion, I was rushed into the Victoria Infirmary in the south side. Now if anyone knew the Vicky way back in the 60's you might remember that some of the wards not only had beds facing each other on either side of the ward, they also had beds running down the middle. Well I was put in the last bed of the middle row.
The next morning the consultant was doing his rounds, and when he came into the ward I was in he went slowly round each bed talking to each patient. I was watching him and I could see what was going to happen, he was leaving the middle row till last. I knew, I just knew I was going to be the last patient he would come too and sure enough he finally came to my bed.
He lifted the notes at the end of the bed and said in a bark of a voice "Oh yes, you're the boy who tried to commit suicide...pause... all eyes watching me....what did you do that for he continued in an even louder bark of a voice? I thought you rotten sod you, an intelligent professional like you and you let everyone hear you say that. Do you know what, he almost made me do again what I was in hospital for in the first place... I nearly died right there under his superior face.
Well that's my memory of my first experience of hospital. But as I said it was all a hundred years ago. After 15 years of throwing back the booze I came to a point where I started attending AA every night for a year. It was only after that first year that I convinced myself, and all those dear to me, wifey and first child included by then, that with a bit of luck and hard work I could consider myself no longer a practicing alcoholic. It wasn't the last hospital experience, but thank God thank I'll be 33 years sober next year and dear old wifey stood by me all through those years right up till now, and we're as happy as when we first fell in love. Aaaaaaaw, I'm nearly makin' masel greet noo.