>Help yourself to the beer in the fridge.
It sounded like a nice gesture but really it was a plea to get the alcohol out of my house — alcohol that I drove across town to buy from a restaurant on a Sunday because the distributor was closed and I needed it.
It wasn’t enough anymore to drink the metallic tap water or coffee, that other drug of mine that I fed myself slowly and steadily every hour of the day. No, for every upper, I need a downer. And my racing heart and mind were stilled every evening if I just drank. Just enough to get a buzz. Just enough to lose the control that would keep me from having one more beer. Or five.
Two out of three days this week I have woken with a hangover. My body no longer cares how much alcohol I put into it, but instead of gaining a tolerance as I had done in college, my body violently rejected any semblance of alcohol. One beer would leave me slurring and my head pounding. No matter how much water I consumed, the next morning was just as bad.
I thought about my weight every time I drank a beer. How many calories are in a bottle of lager? But usually I skip dinner anyway — alcorexic — cutting calories and making it easier to get drunk.
And getting drunk is always the goal. Because what else am I going to do? I don’t have a significant other. I don’t hang out with people in my neighborhood. I don’t even have internet.
I have boredom and silence to be alone with my horrid thoughts. Thoughts I used to be able to shove away but now I’m finding I no longer can. As I get older, hope is rapidly evaporating and my bleak prospects are left scorching in the sun.
I got help, sure. I’m on medicine so in theory I don’t have to self-medicate. But every time I need to adjust my medicine I have to take off work and go to the doctor’s. They’ll think I’m a hypochondriac but in reality I just need them to prescribe me something different or something stronger. I’m supplementing with whiskey which I think chemically might negate the medicine anyway.
And it takes weeks to see my doctor. In the moment, there’s a newly sharpened knife in my right hand and an ice cold drink in the other. In the moment my body hurts so much that I think the silence would be better if it were
But I don’t tell anyone this. I just drink. And drink and drink. I drink and I try to forget that one time you came over just to watch a tv show with me on my couch; one that no one else would watch with me. I try to forget the day you left, how it felt when you said you fucked Tony at a backyard party. I try to forget that once, long ago, you were the one sending me a daily text; a reminder that I was loved.
And I’ll try to forget the ache of not being able to wake up and see you, even after our conversations have returned to normal. I’ll try to forget the rising panic that my life is slipping away and I’m still too scared to love myself.
Mostly I drink to forget. To numb the painful silence that’s filled with all of these things and more.
And I can begin a night with good intentions but as my eyes scan the bar I just feel alone again. And honestly — honestly — puking at 1am and again at 4 isn’t glamorous but at least I’m too sick to use a knife. At least I’m too sick to count the pills in the cabinet.
I can rank my vices from worst to most-bearable, and by far, alcohol I can bear the most. But in the end, it’s the most costly and my bank account is growing small. So this is the habit I’ll choose to stop. And I guess I’ll always have my little knife and my jagged pills to fall back on.