Friday, January 07, 2011

Drink Yourself To Death

 An open letter to  the Amalgamated Alcoholics in my past, present and future:

Have another drink.

I wish you would simply put a gun in your mouth, swallow poison or jump off a fucking bridge instead , because that would be a much quicker and cleaner way to kill yourself and it would save the rest of us a lot of trouble. I've seen the results of a self-inflicted gunshot to the head and it isn't pretty but at least the carnage is limited to one room, nothing a new rug , some spackle and a coat of paint can't fix.

On the other hand, it might take years or even decades to drink yourself to death and you can cause an amazing amount of harm and damage in that time. You can try to minimize the harm by   increasing the odds of an early demise;  adding drugs to the mix and driving around completely fucked-up out of your mind or picking fights with cops, dealers and bouncers, but these things tend to have extremely negative consequences for you and  the people around you.

Ever know somebody who got killed by a drunk driver? Perhaps you were at the wheel. After all, you aren't really sure where those dents came from. That might be paint. Or not.

But so what? Other people have stopped meaning anything to you. You have found what you need and what you need is oblivion and anyone who tries to keep you from vanishing into the void is just a problem to you. Everybody is against you and nobody cares and after all they are the ones with the problem, not you. You say it isn't your fault, you are the victim of something or someone else.

Boo the fuck hoo.


You can't possibly expect me to believe any of your evasive and contradictory bullshit, can you?

I wrote the fucking book of drunken lies and excuses and I know what you are saying and what you are saying is bullshit. Baffling deadly bullshit.

I once worked really hard at getting to the place where you are going and guess what? I got there. Alcohol ate a hole in my body and gutted my soul until there was nothing left but a fat, filthy thing stuffed with tubes and kept alive by a machine.

I survived,  but I wasn't expected to and I sure as hell wouldn't count on being so lucky if I were you. That acid reflux is just the beginning, you know. You won't feel most of the damage until all of those tiny perforations and ulcers finally become one giant open wound and you start vomiting little pieces of yourself. That's when it really starts to hurt. The worst part is when they shove the stomach pump up your nose. The best part is when you sink into a coma , because that makes the pain stop. It is sort of like a blackout- if you wake up you won't know where you are or how you got there. If you wake up, that is.

Most of the people who reach the place where I went never come back. Sometimes they survive but usually death occurs within a day or two. And it hurts a lot. It  hurts more than anything you have ever felt and all they will give you is a tiny IV driplet of Valium, which doesn't even register on your brain because years of abusing prescription medicine have left you with an incredibly high tolerance to most drugs. But you can't really tell the doctors that, can you?

You dumb bastard. You did this to yourself.

In a little while someone is going to come in and roll you over so they can wipe your ass for you because you haven't regained control of your bowels yet. It can be embarrassing. A drink sure would put you at ease but they don't serve cocktails in Intensive Care so you'll just have to lay there and listen to the sound of your skin crawling and turning itself inside out, over and over again. The worst thing about that sound is that no one else can hear it and when you mention it to the nurse she sends a counselor in to talk to you and you wind up dodging questions about suicidal thoughts. Asking someone who just woke up from a coma brought on by alcoholic withdrawal and blood loss  if 'they have ever been depressed' is a really stupid fucking question, so make sure you give a stupid answer, namely "no, of course not. My chronic drinking was a daily life-affirming celebration of all that's good."

If you can lie really well (and what drunk can't?) they won't lock you up in the psychiatric  ward. So lie. I did.

I know what it feels like to be alone. I know how it feels to have something you desperately want to share, to make known, to be heard , held, loved and finding no one that seems to care; how it feels to face the loneliness caused by indifference and misunderstanding, real or imagined. Some of both, maybe.

I know how it feels to need someone right here, right now and finding no one, no thing there to comfort you and waiting for something, anything to fill all of those minutes become hours become days. The immediate future can be a crushing source of anxiety and dread, every simple responsibility becomes an impossible Sisyphean task and you just wish that someone or something would come along and make all the noise in your head stop. Really, I do. I feel some of that every day. Lots of people feel some of that.

Loneliness is no small thing, it is not something that can be cured by Netflix, puppies and the 'Like' button. It is serious shit that can hurt you and leave permanent scars. Not a fun way to choose to live, isolated and unloved and drinking the hole deeper each day

But nothing compares to how bad it feels to be strapped to a table while you listen to surgeons discuss your dim prospects of survival. They had to strap you down because you kept having seizures on the operating table which made it impossible for them to sew up your shredded guts and the blood transfusions aren't coming fast enough. Hopefully they will notice that you have woken up and will administer more anesthetic, because this is a real low point in life for you and you'd rather not be awake for it. In any case, the doctors will give you all the details when you wake up. If you wake up.  They'll tell you about the straps and seizures and the time your heart stopped and they thought you were dead.

And you think you have it bad because you're alone on Friday night. It could be worse, much worse.

Why not do your dishes now? Learn to play an instrument or practice one you already play. Read a  book. Bake pies.Write a letter to a friend. Blog. Pet the cat. Walk the dog. Sew. Change your oil. Build a ship in a bottle. Play a video game. Watch birds. Paint. Call me. Listen to the radio. Pray. Take a walk. Mop the floor. Masturbate. Do something that isn't drinking. That leaves a lot of options, you know.

In fact, the only thing you can't do while you are sober is get drunk. Other than that, there are endless possibilities open to you. Or there would be if you weren't too drunk to leave the house.

But that is your choice. You made your gutter, now you sleep in it.



NYD said...

This is good. A dose of anger and contempt is often quite useful at getting others to wake up as well as keeping yourself on the straight and narrow.

Allan said...

Hey! Long the heck are ya?

That post was spurred on by a recent event that is unthinkable and unbearable...but not worth dying for.So I wrote instead of dying.

billy pilgrim said...

how's your sleep?

in my drinking days i used to drink myself into oblivion to get a good nights sleep. i'm suffering from insomnia these days but a little sleep deprivation is better than giving in to the demon rum.

Allan said...

I have lost some sleep over a recent series of miserable events, but usually I sleep pretty well and get up before dawn every day, something that would have been inconceivable in 2004.
Alcohol doesn't provide quality sleep, imo, plus it sucks when you wake up too...I had a problem with pills , so I can't rely on them either. Burning calories helps a lot, you hit on that w/ the biking and can-grabbing.
I'd never advocate the use of illegal drugs of course, but if I weren't so adamantly anti-drug, I'd simply get stoned and sleep like a baby with great dreams and without a hangover. Just say no!

Craig D said...



(Whether you like it or not.)


A. Friend
P.S. You just saved me from wasting time on yet another blog entry about being laid off and sick with no Medical Insurance because of the layoff. I baked cookies, instead (No lie!)

Allan said...

Cookies rock! But it can be good to write the bad feelings out of your system too; there's no shame in that.

Angel said...

Holy crap Allan... this was an incredible read!
I just wish the people it was aimed at would actually read it and pay attention!
I thank the Lord every day that my sister C managed to get herself out of it and has been sober for 5.5 years now, and I am so glad that you managed to do the same.