A lot of the reason I drank all the time was because I was bored so I figured I might as well traipse down to one of the four taverns within balcony urinating distance from my apartment and squander all my hard-earned third-shift funds on cheaply union made watered down bottles of pilsner because, of course I’m a writer. I’m supposed to be poetically fucked up and deep all the time to ensure that my legacy will endure.
When I’m not listless I feel antsy. Like there’s an ad hoc insect farm scurried beneath my flesh and all these insects with encyclopedia Britannica sounding names are chirping and mating and buzzing before feverishly skittering from one area code of my anatomy to another. Oh, the insects feel like they are wearing braces and are beginning to gnaw their way up and out but never quite make it.
Insomnia has also been a huge factor since when I was a daily drinker I would drink til I passed out and would then wake up and smile and pass out again. Since I instituted this fast of spiritual growth and development I have not slept for more than four hours a night except at my moms.
I realized today that I’ve had almost no friends commit to not drinking without being court ordered mandated to do so by either being manacled with a bracelet, a breathalyzer car starter, DUI, or jail time.
You get what I’m saying.
Ten years ago Bradley students (mostly spoiled sunburnt suburbanly groomed 20 year olds with ersatz i.d.’s) would get dressed to kill sliding down Farmington Hill in roving party vans on Thursday nights hitting Crusen’s first if they could get in before dancing at the Lucky Lady which would serve anyone who looked old enough to play ski ball at Showbiz. The night would almost always conclude at Jimmy’s across the street where Doug and I would sit for hours, imbibing Boddingtons, talking about soccer, talking about international affairs, ogling the girls as they stumbled in short skirts from the Lady into the shamrock cigar box that is Jimmy’s Pub.
One night when Doug and I were sitting talking to Vince when the fine ladies of PHI BETA TAM PON stumbled in and my hormonally addled trenchant lips commented aloud that I wanted to ‘hit that shit.’
“Wow!” Doug says again, excited.
Come here, I’ll show you how it’s done.”
I order eight Jager bombs (God whatever happen to those) and we sit next to the girls. Twenty minutes in everyone is laughing and Doug begins to give one girl a foot massage. He then looks in my direction and, in front of the modest Ladies of PHI BETA TAM PON wildly proclaims, in his beautiful bassoon sounding patois:
Midway through the composition of the paragraph directly north of this sentence I began to experience the worst withdrawal-related 'shakes' so far into this sojourn. It felt like my nervous system was trying to be jumpstarted only the jumper cables were conveniently connected to a surfeited outlet in Chernobyl. My arms seem to be involuntarily flapping even though I was unable to move. My entire body was Vesuvius only no lava would sporut.
I shook for twenty minutes. My chest became numb. I lied petrified in the center of my carpet.
I needed booze. One beer. I live fifty steps from the Owls Nest. I have plenty of money on me. One beer not as an aesthetic to get drunk. One beer as an antidote. A Pabst Blue ribbon panacea. One beer to stop all this shit. One beer to allow me to harness my limbs and get control of my body.
One fucking beer.
Without thinking I got up from my curled posture and headed towards my front door.
It was time to say the hell with this succulent sobriety shit and drink again.
I refrained from walking across gutter Waverly avenue and slamming a quick beer for solace.
I sweated and was numb and was all alone.
And I went back to writing.
This blog has meant different things to a number of diff readers over the discourse of the past week, all of whom I'm grateful that they are escorting me on this journey. Some have suggested that the reason I chose sobriety was that I was just mining for topics to write about. A lot of my friends who have COMPLETELY changed their lives around by choosing sobriety have insinuated that this forty days is just a strip tease since, in all likelihood, I probably will get shitfaced off of all of those delectable beers mentioned above sometime in the next year. Conversely, my beer drinking buddies, bros who have my back no matter what, have been avoiding me since they know how serious I am about completing this trek. I even missed one of my best bros birthday's last week because he knew if I showed up the two of us would just drink like there is no tomorrow and all would be right in the world.
The reason I am giving up the sauce for forty days has nothing to do with sobriety. It has to do with growth. Over the last nine years' I have drank more than anyone I know. I have squandered thousands of dollars a year. I have slept with everything. Have drank everything. Have worked countless hours of overtime. Have always tried to find peace and have always failed. And if this fast will make me a more giving writer, a better partner to my future spouse someday, and a better human being--i.e, if this sojourn of leaving the substance that I love will lead me to the life I desire by transforming the beer guzzling creature that I am into the man I yearn to become than I say game on.
Bring on the fucking shakes.
Bring on Day 7.
I am hitting that shit.