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|Written by Adam Kelly|
|Wednesday, 24 March 2010 00:00|
"When you drank the world was still out there, but for the moment it didn't have you by the throat" -- Charles Bukowski.
If you had said to me, a little over two years ago, that I would go two years without a drink, I'd have laughed in your fucking face.
"Ha!" I'd have said. "Two years? You're fucking crazy! Two years without drinking is like two years without life."
Two years ago on a frigid January night, my friends pulled me out of the Cock n' Bull pub, an infamous drinking hole in downtown Montreal, now defunct. My bender had begun uptown at Dieu du Ciel, that excellent purveyor of homemade beer, where I had drained about seven pints of Gaelique, my favourite. After that, I crashed a party on Parc Avenue, drinking all but one of a six-pack. Then I had the idea of making peace with R, an estranged friend of mine, so I told him to meet me at our old haunt: The Bull.Hailing a cab, I finished my last bottle of beer en route.
Drunk On Arrival, I set to the task of rekindling my friendship with R. Our mutual friend S was there too. Our table was loaded up (on mainly my money) with pitchers of 50. The advanced state of my inebriation was immediately apparent to my friends; as usual, they found it astonishing and amusing.
After mending my broken bond with R -- because there's nothing like being hammered for making or breaking up friendships -- I proceeded to hit on a woman who was clearly a crack addict. S had even seen her pipe.
The next moment (I can recall), I was standing outside the pub vociferously defending my capacity for more booze. S offered me a lift home, so I spat on him. A little later I remember lying in an alley, presumably somewhere near the Metro.
I awoke in the Royal Vic, where they take all the drunks. An IV drip was stuck to my left arm. My bed was in a corridor with several others. All I had on was a green gown.
Slowly I sat myself up and regained my senses. A big, friendly-looking black nurse ambled up to me. "Do I have to stay here?" I asked her.
"It's a good idea if you stay put, young man," she said.
"But I don't have to stay here, do I?"
"No you don't," she said with resignation.
"All right then," I smiled. "Thanks."
In another minute I had torn the IV off my arm, ripped my piss-soaked clothes out of the sealed, see-through plastic bag, dressed, thanked a random doctor and walked out into the cold around 5 am.
By the time I was lucid again, two days later, the wound over my left eye had turned dark purple. There were more injuries up the left side of my body: cuts and bruises from a source unknown. My chest hair had been shorn in three distinct square patches, probably from the heart monitors at the Vic.
When asked what had happened, I said that I had slipped on some ice.
In retrospect, what scared me most about the event was not the event itself, but my casual and cavalier attitude about it. Despite the harm and humiliation, I was ready to go again.
Such is the allure of alcoholism, or any other dependency: the profound sense of invulnerability. The addiction, of course, makes you feel safe and in control. All of the escapist clichés are somewhat true. Chiefly, there is that inherent belief that you can take it and survive, and from this you get a strange feeling of accomplishment -- of personal achievement. No one can touch you. The world can't get you by the throat, and you are never alone because you join the ranks of many great suffering artists and visionaries. You know the blues.
Faced with yet another re-think of my life, I looked at the things that weren't working in it, and at how to fix them. From that list, which I called "Solutions," I realized that nearly half of my issues were booze-related, and that the other half were unsolvable until I dealt with the alcohol problems.
There has been all kinds of nomenclature developed, related to alcoholism and addiction. In Montreal, the word dépendence is the usual moniker used in both English and French. Substance dependence is generally defined as persistent use of a substance despite problems related to its use. However, the word "dependence" seems to imply an involuntary need -- as for mother's milk. Such a perspective implies the addict has no will over the drug: they must have it or they will die.
Nothing worth having comes without some kind of fight
Got to kick at the darkness 'til it bleeds daylight
"Need" and "want" have separate meanings, but we often use the words interchangeably. It seems to me that this designation of need or dependence creates a kind of distraction from a simpler "want vs. don't want" scenario. The argument "I want to quit, but I can't" continues to be made by many in the throes of addiction. Recognizing that one is in a state of wanting rather than needing re-affirms one's volition, and begins the long process of kicking out the darkness of self-harm.
The medical community has still not reached a consensus over the debate, which started in the early nineteenth century with the Trotter Hypothesis, in which alcoholism was first proposed to be a disease. Regardless of whether the Disease Theory eventually acquires full recognition from scientists, I think those who are out in the streets, in the bars and hiding in their cups need something a little tougher than "you're genetically pre-disposed to the stuff" to inspire in them the will to quit.
Addiction is like any other desire, and its solution is ultimately up to the addict. If I do drink again one day -- and I hope I don't, because I am an alcoholic -- it won't be because I am dependent on alcohol. It will be because I choose to drink. Would that be unwise? Yes, but it will be of my own volition: I want it, for whatever unfortunate reason.
The reason I quit drinking two years ago was because I genuinely wanted to.
Either you want to or you don't.
Words reach me from a million miles away on the day I need it the most.
cozone being my title. meaning the comfort zone. A place I dreamed up that I wish to create for anyone who needs an escape. I have this here in my own space when I need it, I pamper my soul with warm baths, hot cups of Tea, and beauty treatments. I even have a massage chair and dream of owning hot rocks and a floating bath. A place where anything can be said to relieve the tension of a power pushing world sucking at our insides....I even have crystals that I lay on myself when Im really low and I listen to reassuring positive enforcing cds and music. Anything to keep me away from the rocks at the bottome of my cliff.
Adam, first off, I commend you for dealing with your s**t and not falling back on something completely inauthentic, like that your actions were beyond your control. you chose, and you choose now. as we all do every fraction of a second of every day. to cozone: life is empty and meaningless, that is the briliant part. from nothing we create meaning, we (re)create ourselves, we choose.
alcohol abuse prevention
Alcoholism is some thing that changes a person totally when he is drunk his brain chemical balance is disturbed and he is out of control of his acts this not only affects you but in some way it also affects your family i liked the way you narrated this post thanks for sharing this valuable post