In the end it’s usually subtle things that shape our futures. A spoken word, a gesture, or in my case a hangover.
Christmas Eve I got slaughtered on red wine and Carling beer at my mother and her husband’s house. They’d both gone to bed and I sat up, like I did last year and every year I’ve stayed there without a girlfriend accompanying me, and worked my way through my favouritest bits of the James Bond DVD box set. Saw the pre credits bits of Diamonds Are Forever (love that rat trap in his inside pocket!) and Die Another Day (Bond captured? Tsk!) before viewing most of the monumentally silly Moonraker (a punch up in free fall for the only parachute…OH YES!)
After that I watched a chunk of Russel Crowe’s Master and Commander and then at about finally went to bed.
Today, Xmas day, I’ve felt lousy with a bad hangover. I don’t drink so often any more and the effects are toxic not only on my arse, stomach and head but also my emotions. Forgot my 10mg of beta blockers at home so had to put up with anxiety and guilt brought on by a bottle of plonk and 5 cans of lager to myself. Around I finally realised something that had eluded me before but was blatantly obvious.
I really don’t like being drunk.
All my adult life from the age of about 18 I’ve got wasted when I drank. It’s only now at 42 that I’ve finally realised this wasn’t social or through love of the false euphoria that being shitfaced brought…but merely to do something, do anything. An escape and also to tick the box and say “hard drinking badass”.
Some of the most philosophical people I know are older than me. They have lived and made mistakes and have tailored their lives as a result of those errors. Their lives are now bespoke outfits that fit them, not perfectly but better than before. Their lives are no longer “one size fits all” but snug around the waist and cuffs.
I however have soldiered on for many years believing that this way was the only way forward and kept doing it through fear of simply wasting away into the oblivion of boredom.
Comfort zones are not merely going beyond what we see as safe but also to drop what doesn’t work in our lives. Things we retain merely due to the comfort factor that they bring us as they are predictable and therefore not scary even if they serve no useful purpose. Throughout everything I simply kept drinking heavily when I did drink as I believed there was some nirvana to be found that I was so far unable to reach, but would if I kept looking for it.
Realistically what you had is a guy drinking on his own on Xmas Eve, watching old movies till the small hours. Hardly macho or an example of embracing the gift of life.
Similarly sex is a big fucking disappointment. Despite what anyone claims I have never been somebody that feels obliged to look at ANY woman just because I haven’t had a shag for months. Legend has it that sailors on shore leave back in the day, prompted people to “lock up their daughters” and were so driven with lust that anything without a dick was fair game for being drilled up against the outside wall of a pub. While that indeed may be true, I’ve always wondered if it was just me who found refuge in my own imagination, negating the need for a real fuck as my own hands and the ability to create a scenario in my mind were always infinitely better than any drunken fumblings with a big, fat, ugly munter just to say “hey, had a shag last night!”
But…I’ve done that too. I’ve shagged someone just to be able to rack up another notch on the bedstead and have slept with some quite hideous birds. The sub conscious reason for all this is to say “look at me, I can drink like George Best and I am having regular sex. I am A MAN of a life rich with the fruits of pleasure.”
Now, as I sit up in bed at (having gone to bed at 7.30, still feeling shit) I’ve decided that my next step is that alcohol will no longer play the prop position in my life. It’s time to lose the crap that has slowed me down for so long and work only on what WORKS.
End of the day, I’m single, live in an apartment with a cat and have a job I don’t like very much where the pay isn’t brilliant and I’m on a part time contract. I could have walked away to find something else at any time. But I stayed BECAUSE IT WAS SAFE.