I used to think of drinking as exercising my demons – taking my shadow self out for a walk. I’d be working hard all week keeping all the shit together, being ‘good’ and felt pent up. I needed to release the pressure. A few glasses of vino, a few shots of tequila enough (and more) to blow the lid off, permission granted to unleash the wild one – the argumentative attention seeker, the salacious fun seeker. All that Monday to Friday repression oozed out like frozen vodka from the freezer. Consent to be outrageous. Delight in being terrible.
And the fun was fun until it wasn’t. When the chasm between drinking me and non-drinking me widened to the point of madness something had to change, so it did.
And sobriety brought pink clouds, rainbows and long forgotten childish joy. Until the pressure from life’s toil built up again and I didn’t have my handy release mechanism. ‘Go for a run’ they said. ‘Go to a dance class’ they said. But when it was Friday night and my other half went out boozing leaving me at home with the dreaded self-pity, the thought of entertaining myself with knitting or another fucking box set was unbearable. I missed the anarchy and the unpredictability. ‘It’s hard being good all the time’ a voice whined in my head. I needed some yang to my yin. ‘The good old days’ reminiscence film started playing in my mind and I’d think ‘well I could have a gin and tonic’. But then I PLAYED IT FORWARD…*
I really know deep down that it’s not going to take the dissatisfaction away. Pouring booze down my neck is not going to flick the switch to happy. It’s just going to turn sober dissatisfaction into drunk dissatisfaction. And I know which one is worse (at least in sober dissatisfaction you don’t embarrass yourself, don’t have to apologise and don’t wake up puffy faced hating yourself).
So lightning bolt! I realise I’ve just got to accept the feeling and sit with it. Yes I’m board. Yes I’m at a loose end feeling sorry for myself SO FUCKING WHAT? Stop wallowing, tolerate a bit of discomfort (life is suffering after all – yay!), get out of the ‘me me me’ head, have a hot bath and do some yoga. Wow! Half an hour later I feel much better. The mental black hole has passed and I’m feeling good tucked up in bed with a book I can truly escape in. I feel sorry for the drunk me in the parallel universe, who would probably be garbling inappropriate rubbish at the man in co-op about now.
*I would have one. Then another. The ‘MORE monster’ would awaken then I’d ring someone or text someone, drink some more, go to the shop for fags. Decide a party for one was the answer. The phone calls would get more erratic as the volume increased on the stereo. Then I’d wake up with a dry mouth and look at my phone in horror at whatever I was spouting. FFS you’ve done it again. Yawn. Day wasted in twice as much dissatisfaction as the previous nights.