I bought a pair of beautiful, hand-cut, crystal glasses for my expensive vodka. I’ll only drink expensive vodka. Straight. Over cubes of ice that crackle when the liquid coats and covers them. I relish the sound, the tinkering as they fall into the glass, and then the quiet crackle as the vodka washes over them. I love the quiet clunk, as they tumble over one another with every mouthful. I like the way the petite glass sits in my hand, the way the cut crystal reflects the light, the satisfying heat of the vodka in my throat as it slips into my belly.
I have discovered, that regardless of my drug of choice, I am ritualistic. I create small, measured acts that take me from sober, to not sober. Important acts that let me know that the sharpness of reality will soon be dulled and all will be okay once again.
I am rarely in my pure, sober state. And when I am not under the influence of something, then I am generally hungover from whatever drug I have taken last and I am filling myself with the next substance that will take me from sober, to not sober. From unbearable to just bearable.
I am an idiot, you know. For all my studies and training and for all the psychological theory I can churn out for others, I had no idea why I am so desperately, pathetically, inextricably and hopelessly dependent on substances. I told this to my psychologist just last week. “I don’t know why I need to be not-sober!” I cried. “I should be happy! I have a loving partner, a good job, a nice car, a new unit, a new puppy, friends and family who care about me…why am I so fucking miserable without drugs?” I told her that for 17 years – that’s half my entire life – I had abused one drug or another and I just didn’t know how to be sober anymore. I just didn’t know why I couldn’t be sober.
My psychologist went on to describe the neurochemical changes that I have created in my brain. The dependency. The alterations in dopamine and all those feel-good neurotransmitters that make “normal people” happy. Well, I’ve fucked mine up. I initially took drugs to cope with all my pain and to survive. But long after I stopped needing to escape and survive, long after the dangers had receded, my brain only knew how to be happy when I was high, and so, it kept wanting and needing and demanding substances. It screams at me relentlessly from the moment I wake, to my last conscious moment at night. I have created an insatiable monster inside of myself that I cannot fight anymore.
I am so weary of this battle. I just wish I could have the drugs I want so I can carry on living my day and not obsess about it. But, as anyone who has read my other posts will know, I can’t have my drug of choice, codeine, anymore. I have very limited access to it. I cant afford enough cocaine to get high. My tolerance to valium is climbing higher and higher. So I drink. I loathe drinking. I loathe it because I love it too fucking much. I have played The Drunk in my time and she was someone who I didn’t like, nor respect. I hated myself back then and I don’t care to go back to being an alcoholic.
Maybe that’s why I choose the ritual nowadays. I remember myself back then. There was no ritural, no savouring of the drink, no fancy glasses. There was cheap wine and shots and blackouts – more blackouts than I could even imagine. There was shame, deep, dark, painful shame that drove me to more drinking and more blackouts. Perhaps that’s why I choose the ritual now, to pretend that I am somehow beyond that shame. Superior to that drunken mess that would vomit in her sleep and pass out in public bathrooms.
But. But it seems I will succumb to the drink if I must. In the absence of codeine and cocaine and valium, I will drink my expensive fucking vodka in my fancy fucking glasses so I can quiet the beast that lives in my brain. So I can have some peace. So I can be okay. I just want to be okay and I don’t know how to do that without being on something. This has been my identity and my way of living for my entire adult life and part of my teens. How the fuck do I forge a new identity and leave these substances behind? How do I wake, look in the mirror, feel, and keep on feeling until I am past the pain and discomfort. How do I do that? Just the idea of it, has me reaching for my dainty, crystal glass and pouring that icy, hot vodka down my throat with sweet relief.
Image by Orkhan Farmanli on Unsplash