Alcohol and the Wonderful Decline
I wake to debilitating nausea and the sense that I’m not entirely sure which one of my orifices is about to erupt. My morning is consumed by a bleak successive parade of hunched-over rushes to the bathroom where I will squat in front of the bowl, allowing the permeating smell of piss to dazzle the instability of my stomach until it wrenches substantially enough for me to experience the temporary relief of vomiting. Again and again. The trips divided only by fifteen minute intervals during which I crawl back to bed and wait for the sickness to rise once more. The substantiality of the liquid I am expelling will wane rapidly until the bitter trickle of bile skirts across my tongue instead. My hair glued to my face by tears, soft whines as my gut convulses, my limbs will tremble and I will passionately curse my terrible decisions and the miserable existence that has been reaped as a result of them. The day passes by my still form, once the nausea has subsided, as only a vague trace of sunlight in a dark, stagnant bedroom where I take refuge and depression seeps through my chest and mind in a malicious tide. My hangovers are worse than most others experience, I realize.
I have an astoundingly conflicted relationship with alcohol; the charming ecstasy and suicidal entrapment of it all. I enjoy being drunk and to an unsettling extent, I enjoy binge drinking. As a self-assessed introvert largely inhibited by social anxiety, aching to say the wrong things and behave badly, alcohol is a striking liberator. Its persuasive ring steers my behaviour and tells me in utter confidence “it is completely appropriate to take your shirt off at this moment”, “this guy is boring, look him in the eyes and tell him so”, “you look marvelous dancing right now”, “you can make that jump” and by two o’clock in the morning, its weary drawl convinces, “you have been wronged by everybody and everything in your life. Lay in this gutter and weep”.
Alcohol unquestionably drives a huge fraction of my sense of my social success; it then sweeps that brilliant carpet out from under my feet, stows it away and burns it every night. A night spent discordantly wailing songs at friends in the rounds of PA karaoke and ensuring the following day is occupied by the discovery of various mystery injuries by throwing myself around wildly can dissolve rapidly into hot tears in carpets and the irrepressible surge of emotional chaos that neither my boyfriend nor I will remember when we wake the next morning. Drunken sex is a clumsy, raucous ordeal of uninhibited fervency, amplified emotion and stunning confidence. It is the assured appearance of the fingerprint bruises that consistently dapple my chest and hips.
Its staple fixture in my lifestyle produces an onslaught of questions that render me terrified by the potential weight of the truth.
To what extent may some of my friendships be based upon inebriation?
Has my intellect withered as a result of my drinking behaviour?
Would my boyfriend and I love each other as much without our alcohol-doused nights?
Is my drinking suffocating my potential?
Why do I enjoy drinking so much when I witness others that surround me can clearly survive happily without it?
And perhaps most frightening of all,
Could I stop?
Perhaps the only question I can answer with full confidence is would I still be as good at playing pool without drinking? The answer being ‘no’. Of course, there may be a certain extent of paranoia that generates these concepts but there is also a marked honesty in considering that alcohol truly possesses the ability to tear lives apart; one that appears so thoroughly latent and abstract as long as others who are regulated by the same drinking habits surround you.
In order to quell my anxiety regarding alcohol, I spent approximately a month sober earlier this year. It was during this period that I first encountered the term “on the waters” in one of Sydney’s more unrefined and wonderfully shameless establishments. It struck me as such a beautifully idiotic saying that I immediately committed it to memory. If clarification of this term is required for those to whom I have just introduced it, “on the waters” refers to not drinking alcohol during a night out and instead drinking water. It is most usually adopted by crass drunk people in shouting at inexplicably lucid friends and almost inevitably followed by an insult that calls into question one’s sexuality. Its creation wholly implies the abnormality of drinking water instead of alcohol because who in their right mind would do that?
The truth is, I miss contentment in sobriety. I long for the inexpensive nights, viably early mornings and the subsequent productive days. I desire conversation that isn’t blatantly plagued by drunken slurs and meaningless rants. I crave a relationship that isn’t corrupted by the wondrous highs and devastating lows of alcohol-induced frenzies. And yet I’m still so unmistakably enamored with the lifestyle.
There may well come a time when I am forced to seriously reassess my habits regarding alcohol consumption. I hope that this time arrives purely by personal progress and I am not made forcibly aware of the genuine danger binge drinking poses by tragedy, as many surely are. I am more than capable of envisioning a time when the apathy, wet smiles, animated conversation, screaming passion, seductive pandemonium, grasping sex, always always dancing, early morning chip packets and playful kisses will no longer stand up to the sinister wasteland. I can only hope that when this moment arrives, I will be entirely able to find comfort in the single beer nights; the weekends will no longer present the obligatory insanity, rather I will go home with the boy I love, we will have wonderful sex, I will curl up next to him, close my eyes without the obnoxious disturbance of ringing in my ears and go to sleep.