30 Days Sober
I’ve always had a bit of a reputation as a heavy drinker since I came to Tokyo. It’s not hard to do, the city and the culture support alcohol in a big way. In fact it’s legal and easy to walk into a nearby store, buy a beer, and crack it on the street. No one will bat an eye. I can’t think of a place back home that would offer “all you can drink” specials. Sure it’s only two hours but a guy like me can put away quite a lot.
And there the problems start. Looking objectively, I’ve wrapped a lot of my personality in drinking. Alcohol lowers the drawbridge of my mind and the hordes of my thoughts and emotions a let loose. For the most part, it starts with the jesters, gamboling and dancing. Throwing confetti and pies, doing cartwheels. Entertaining for awhile perhaps. Depending on the mood and the room maybe the philosophers and political pundits come out instead. More often than not the night ends there. The drawbridge closes as the jesters and philosophers return to their rest.
Some nights do not end soon enough.
Should the bridge stay down, the chains snap, darker things come out. Swirling shapes cloaked in shadow with swords made of pain. These dark creatures flood out in a great tide, cutting down the jesters. Snickt
Lately I think I’ve lost control of these dark creatures. More and more come out when they are set loose. Frankly I’m rather surprised that I still have friends. Recently I’ve been literarily picked up off the street in Roppongi and taken care of by good people I’ve only known a few months. I’ve yelled my problems at my friends in the dead of night and they’ve listened and tried to help me even though I’m beyond remembering anything.
I’ve been a difficult person to be around because I’ve hated myself for reasons I know and others I can’t put a finger on. Far too often I’ve tried to drown that hate in booze. But hate is a strong swimmer.
I suppose that part of how I justify this behavior to myself is by saying “writers drink”. For most people they can probably control their intake, know when enough is enough. I can not. I’ve been told this several times. There’s a point for me when drinking suddenly becomes automatic. I’ve recognized this myself but I can’t stop doing it.
Last night I blacked out and did and said a lot of crazy things. Luckily in the grand scheme of things I’m a pretty decent drunk. Don’t start fights. My drunk texts are usually spelled correctly and legible if absurd. I might break things sometimes. My problem is I don’t remember much of anything after a certain point. A risky move in Jenga is about the last point that the time line is cohesive. This morning I had to call in sick to one of my jobs. I could barely drink a cup of coffee without spilling it on myself. I often pride myself on being a logical, thinking, intelligent person, so why do I keep doing stupid, stupid things?
Hence the title of this post. I’m going to go the next 30 days without any alcohol. I was able to quit smoking for the last two months so perhaps I can do this too. I’ll try at least before I’m forced to remove “functioning” from “alcoholic” and replace it with “full blown.”
Though I doubt I’ll say much more about it on this blog. I already wrote about my struggles with myself in the story “Brand New Monster”. In case you didn’t figure it out. If you haven’t read it give it a look, I wrote it in a fugue state bombed out on a bottle of wine. People seem to like it.
For those of you that like to worry (you know who you are), I’m not planning on hurting myself, on purpose. But every time I wake up at home without remembering how I got there is a time I wonder how I didn’t fall in front of a train or down a long staircase. Drunk autopilot I guess.
Anyway, I also don’t want to talk much about my decision in person either. I’m not writing this as a cliche cry for help. I’m not looking for that kind of attention. (What? A blog on the internet not a cry for attention? Are you high??)
I just feel more comfortable jabbering into the aether.
I need to slay the darkness within, or at least lock it up tighter, banish it to a dimension of gold and fuzzy kittens. These 30 days will hopefully help me to do it, but I am the one that will have to strap on the armor and stab the night with a gleaming sword. It is my burden. My trip to Mordor. My overwrought metaphor/copy-write violation.
There are people far worse off than me. I understand that. But that doesn’t change the fact that I have a problem. I’m just extremely lucky to have friends that will pick me up when I fall down. Thank you those that know.
(PS: Payday is tomorrow, I’ll count the 30 days as when my next paycheck comes. Goal is November 25.)
PSS: Here’s a really goofy video I like.