Alcohol is not the culprit. The alcoholic is. Where is the responsiblity? Where is the awareness of the self? There's nothing.
Alcohol merely increases the state of carelessness. There is no real confrontation. There are only little turbulances, little puffs of trouble. Each time the large issue is skirted there appears another dozen little hassles to get through. Why face the big issues when you're concerned about the importance of Self in the relationship, the loss of youth, the missed opportunities that now look so good, the fact that he/she didn't squeeze the toothpaste in the right place, that you spoke down to me in front of my friends... Where lies the responsiblity?
As a teenager
I was living in an agressive, alcoholic household that alternated between repressed and unleased violence. The emotional currents that had helped conceive me, raise me and feed me reached a peak that lasted several years. My emotions became increasingly inward and although I was abandoned by the source of many of my problems (my father had dropped me with my nana to live), I was delivered into the hands of one ill equipt to sort my brain out. Namely myself. My life seemed pointless and intense and and turgid and muddy and yet the sun shone, the trees were caressed by the shifting zephyrs and the moon passed over my head at night.
And there was D. H. Lawrence.
I didn't drink with my friends. I tried a couple of times but after one or so glasses I'd begin to feel nauseous. I figured I must have been allergic to the stuff.
I didn't smoke cigarettes. I was athletic, jogging, aerobics, weight training. Putting smoke into my lungs seemed a pointless and distructive activity.
I didn't do any drugs (prescription drugs not included). I wasn't in a drug crowd when I was younger and by the time I was offered differing stimulants I had already formed my own philosophic barrier against drug taking.
I believe my mental state broke down because of the internal stress I was putting myself under with so much hatred in my system. I was totally unhappy. I felt that life was painful, torturous experience. I didn't know of an avenue of escape. I couldn't see out of my life.
I stopped seeing most of my school friends. They were boring, thinking only of money, jobs, possessions and boys.
I wore baggy relaxed clothing.
I sported what my Grandmother called anti-social hairstyles.
I ate a block of chocolate every day.
I drank eight cups of coffee a day.
I was in my first year of university when my vision changed. I saw things hiding in corners. I'd moved into a small unit in Auburn Road and the bathroom frightened me. It seemed to close in on me when I was in the shower. I felt victimized.
My first adult friend
The only real defect was his alcohol dependency. But it wasn’t like drinking every day, first thing in the morning. It was more about needing alcohol to relax, to socialize, to have a decent weekend. Obviously, I resented his need.
One night I came home and he was lying on his side by the toilet bowl. One of his friends was standing by his side. My heart was frozen. If anything I felt like kicking him where he lay. John was wary, he knew I didn’t aprove.
‘He’s had a little too much to drink. But he’ll be alright in the morning.’ He was whispering loudly. That beer scent oozed out of his mouth towards me.
‘And you brought him home?’
John nodded looking down at the unconscious body. I went to my room, leaving him to rot.
I didn’t like my friend Ivan to go out without me. He would always come home totally bewildered and so full you couldn’t get a straight answer from him. He never remembered anything the next morning. But I did. I couldn’t wipe the images and anger from my heart.
I was called late one night. Ivan in hospital, the car having run off the road. He’d been sleeping at the wheel. John was with him. Nobody was seriously hurt. Police had been driving behind them when the car had run into the side of the road and the nearest tree. He had to go to AA meetings as punishment. His lawyer told him to look spruce, intelligent and they would talk about his brilliant academic career ecetera. He lost his license for two years, but there was no cash paid out and Ivan didn’t suffer. He drove when he had to, daddy would have paid what there was to pay.
I made him promise never to drink and drive again. Threatening him with my absence.
I was unhappy though, dreading the weekend.