I started an experiment about 2.5 years ago that is still ongoing. The experiment was to stop drinking. Largely, alcohol has invited chaos into my life and this fool’s illusion was that chaos is somewhat controlable. My chaos wasn’t. But to be clear a part of me still craves this madness and the thrill of not knowing or caring about what is going to happen next.
And just to be extra clear I needed the help of like-minded people to begin and help me continue this experiment.
What brings all this to mind today is that I am going through one of my frequent bouts of laziness about writing and interviewing people. This inertia is increasingly annoying me as I notice it is coming after a couple of weeks of relatively high output. It reminds me of when I drank. I never started drinking at times when I felt bad. I nearly always started drinking when things were going relatively well.
I am not here to bash drink. I love it and how it made me feel. To be more accurate I loved how it made me think. And when I say ‘How it made me think’ – I mean it allowed me not to think in the moment. It removed a barrier between me and the world. I literally didn’t give a fuck about anything or anyone. But again this fool’s illusion was to think that this fix was something other than temporary, illusory and self destructive over time.
There is one aspect of drinking that wasn’t illusory though which I miss. Fuck it – miss isn’t strong enough a word. I mourn it. When I was properly hungover, as the guilt and shame was gradually subsiding or being rapidly rationalised, I could most definitely write. The irony is that I would just write for my own amusement back then. It was stuff that was worth writing too and probably worth reading. If I could only remember how.
As I got older I found that a hangover could last anywhere from 2-3 days. Towards the end I never went more than 3 days without a drink, so it was a constant cycle of up and down. Drunk or Hungover. With age my body was not able for the damage.
However the Lord does not taketh away without giving a little. In the cycle of hangovers I would always get a period of about 6 hours where my brain was in some sort of weird chemical imbalance or balance. The most outrageously funny, dark, pure and original thoughts would come into my head. I used to write them down.
If humour was the angle I was going for, my private arrogance at the time was that I wouldn’t commit a flow of thought to paper or keyboard unless it could make me laugh out loud. Not alone had it to make me laugh out loud once, It had to make me laugh out loud after reading it 5 times on the page in order to survive. Every time I was hungover this bar was met at least once.
If something other than humour was my goal, the same principle applied. My flow of thought needed to be able to make me cry. Not a glistening of the eyes but great flowing tears to match my flowing thoughts. Extra brownie points for hiccups.
Towards the end it was not difficult to find the words to make myself cry. Or others.
I recently received a notification from WordPress that I have hit over 200 postings on my website. I started the website after I stopped drinking. By my own standards I have made myself laugh once and cry maybe twice in over 300,000 words of writing. It’s not good enough. But alas the alternative is worse.
The Importance of being hungover without really drinking?. Now there’s a book that would be worth reading.
Or as I wrote in a notebook once.
The drunk who had standards…but only about writing.