Like everyone else on the internet, I’m hooked on Netflix dating series Love Is Blind.
Yet, as someone who is five and a half months sober, I wasn’t just fascinated by the love triangles and the drama – I was also concentrating on how much the contestants were drinking during the whole process.
Alcohol’s impact on my own life means that I can’t help but notice it, wherever it is.
In the show, we see the would-be couples drinking when they’re in the blind date pods, where there appears to be a limitless bar of wine, beer and spirits. Even when they leave the pods and start going out IRL, their dates are punctuated by goblets of wine.
Jessica, who causes the most drama throughout the series, seems to always have a glass of red in hand. Watching her reminded me of my former self.
The reason I stopped drinking was because of the way my mood was altered whenever I drank, and how this affected my relationship with my husband prior to our marriage.
Instead of letting comments go and dropping open-ended arguments, I couldn’t let any conflict be resolved. I would start rows based on the tiniest thing, which would then open the floodgates to every small grievance I had – no matter how long ago it happened.
I got angry and said hurtful things to him, stupid comments about his habits or stuff that had happened previously, which I would never have done sober. I purposefully took things he said out of context, would scream and make a scene.
I’ve had to watch the show very slowly, as I think binge-watching it would just make me want to binge drink
It came to a head on our wedding day, when I ended up in bed at 6pm after vomiting and screaming at him in front of our closest friends.
The next day, our first as a married couple, my new husband told me what I already knew: I had to stop drinking. In our three year relationship he’d suggested I cut down or quit a few times after outbursts, but this time I knew it wasn’t a request.
I understood that I couldn’t start our married life together like this because we wouldn’t last. I could no longer put up with how much I’d hurt him when I sobered up. That was the last time I touched alcohol.
On Love is Blind, it can seem like a dramatic, unexpected twist when the couples start arguing with each other at parties or on dates. But a recovering alcoholic like me can see where these disputes come from.
The contestants – especially the women – keep their problems and insecurities about their relationships locked up. But with the drink free flowing, it doesn’t take long for them to come out.
Mark and Jessica’s constant arguments may be perceived as Jessica being ‘crazy’, but when you see how much wine she consumes, it’s no wonder she ends up blurting out that she finds Barnett attractive. It’s her anxieties and insecurities coming to the surface.
I am in no doubt that the scene made every viewer collectively grimace, but it also made me feel uncomfortable and a bit triggered.
In the same episode, where Giannina and Damian argue at the party after he makes an odd comment to Lauren, I was reminded of the times I’ve caused scenes and started rows with partners whilst our friends watched red-faced.
I felt embarrassed for the poor contestants after that explosive episode – I could imagine how they must be feeling, having sent many a ‘Sorry for what I did last night’ text.
I can’t imagine the pain of having my outbursts aired to the whole world. I felt so overwhelmingly sorry for them knowing that they’ll have to keep apologising to everyone they love.
I’ve had to watch the show very slowly, as I think binge-watching it would just make me want to binge drink, along with the normal people on my screen just having a nice glass of wine.
I’m not saying the women of Love Is Blind necessarily have issues with alcohol, but I believe when you’re on a show that normalises drinking and provides you with a constant supply, expecting no conflict is unrealistic.
I think show producers have a duty of care, which should include mental wellbeing. If Love Is Blind has a season two – which is expected – they should follow Love Island’s example and control the alcohol contestants have access to.
Love Island executives have previously said there is no limit on what alcohol Islanders consume, but they ‘monitor things’ to make sure that no one has too much. If that series can still deliver drama and plot twists without drunk participants, Love Is Blind should certainly be able to do the same.
I wouldn’t want it to go down the route of Big Brother, where alcohol flowed freely and resulted in scenes like 2004’s ‘Fight Night’, which saw a table being flipped, food being thrown and threats made. In the end, security was called and the housemates were separated.
I know how big a strain alcohol can place on relationships and in my case it felt like the third person in ours. It was the devil on my shoulder, picking at everything, belittling me as a person and as a partner.
I hope that if any of the contestants were to learn lessons from their time on the show, they can see how alcohol played a role in shaping (and even breaking) their relationships.
Getting sober was the best thing I ever did, I’ve grown as a person and become a better friend and wife because of it. I never want to be the ranting drunk again.
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