My alcoholic memories are like scrambled pornography: I know they’re perverse but I can’t make out the details of their depravity with specificity. But, well, do I want to remember a crucial detail about the time I found a bottle of wine sitting on top of a public toilet and drank it behind the wheel of my car, said detail being that the bottle was already open when I found it? Not particularly. Would I have completely forgotten it if Facebook’s “On This Day” feature hadn’t trotted it out and rubbed it in my face? Absolutely. Reading these memories in all their diseased glory they become high res, 4K—I’m transported back to the moment I lived them. Being reminded of these miserable announcements on a daily basis is a good way to keep perspective, a gratitude list that has already written itself.
I am forced to remember, for example, exactly how miserable my daily existence was a mere four years ago.
February 24th, 2015
If you haven’t seen me in a while, it’s because every time I leave my house I regret it. I apparently have, in my third decade on this planet, been stricken with debilitating anxiety (presumably because life wasn’t hard enough as is). If you have any tips as to how to quell a ceaseless chattering in your chest, please post them below. I’ll do anything at this point, up to and including believing in some form of higher power. (It’s that bleak over here, baby.) Please do not send me some sort of private message, because then I will feel obligated to respond to it, and it was hard enough typing this fucking thing. Love
Comedy’s Littlest Victim”
On February 24th, 2015, I was living in a studio apartment so small I could touch my bed while sitting on the toilet, so cold I could see my breath and feel my bones. Sometimes I would turn the oven on and open it for warmth. Don’t do this. You could die.
Eleven days prior I had my first panic attack while hosting a open mic at a dive bar stumbling distance from my apartment. I tasked two comedians with the job of driving me to the hospital, convinced that death was imminent. Laying on a plastic mattress, I confided in them that I had started drinking again. “Life’s really hard,” Chris responded. “I’ve tried to quit smoking ten times. I just can’t.” He eventually did.
“Have you been drinking?” the ER nurse asked. “No,” I answered. “Did you yesterday?” he countered. “Yes,” I maudlinly replied, crocodile tear snaking its way down my cheek. “A lot.”
I had been drinking to blackout every night and not telling anyone, and now I was sobbing on a plastic mattress with an IV plugged into my arm. The thought that the two could somehow be connected did not occur to me. In the weeks and months afterward I would claim to be completely bum rushed by this new, perplexing “anxiety disorder,” portraying myself as victim in helpless posts, believing I was as blameless as I was helpless. Conveniently enough, the only thing that made the chattering in my chest stop was drinking. Finally, an excuse! I couldn’t stop now—my hands were tied! ”You’re poisoning yourself, you fucking moron” I want to yell through the computer screen.
I continued to spin my wheels, both off- and online, convinced that not only was I a lost cause, I liked being one. To say I’m embarrassed of the years I publicly presented myself as such would be an understatement. But if social media has done anything, it’s allowed those spiraling the opportunity to lead lives of loud desperation.
August 24th, 2015:
“I like being alone. Sometimes when I’m alone, I write. I’m writing this right now, alone. But most of the time, when I’m alone, I don’t do a goddamned thing.
I wake up at noon. I joylessly drink a cup of coffee, maybe two, and kill time until The People’s Court starts. The People’s Court is the only thing I look forward to. It is my purpose for consciousness. I love nothing more than watching fiery Latina adjudicator Judge Marilyn Millian dispense “rough justice.” It is always the same story on her program. Someone agreed the money was a loan but later, in the context of a televised lawsuit, insists it was a gift. The pit bull that was, “your honor, always real good with my kids” violently attacked another living being for the third time; its owner cannot process why the act would be worthy of litigation. And so on. And so on. I find comfort in its consistency.”
If there’s one regret I have from my wet days, it’s that I didn’t start drinking as soon as I woke up. I thought if I waited until the sun went down I didn’t have a problem, which means my illuminated hours were spent lying prostrate on the couch, hyperventilating into a paper bag while waiting for “The People’s Court” to start. Every day was the same, as consistent as an episode of “The People’s Court” yet the antithesis of comfortable. I’d startle awake in the closet I slept in with an ice pick headache, resenting the daylight that streamed in through slatted windows. I’d sob and dry heave and hallucinate things that didn’t exist. My hand shook when I picked up my coffee cup. The only time it didn’t was when it was full of whiskey, not coffee. But that would only come at night.
I was too stupid to realize I was going through alcohol withdrawals. I was stupid enough to believe I had no agency over what was happening to my body. Another visit to the hospital, a year and a half after the first, dissuaded me of the fantastical notion that I was a powerless prisoner in my own skin. But until then, I layed in stasis. Now, I only lay for the purposes of sleeping. In my bed, which is no longer in a closet—rather, in its very own room. A bed…ROOM, if you will. My “anxiety disorder” has magically disappeared. My reason to live is no longer a syndicated television program.
And, accordingly, my posts have become less demoralizing, no longer embarrassing. They now contain something the others lack, a semblance of hope.
November 29th, 2017:
“Kim Deal is sober. If Kim Deal can get sober, anyone can get sober. Hell, YOU could get sober. Try it, you might like it. And by ‘it,’ I mean, ‘not resenting the daylight.’”
I like it. I like being able to leave the house before nightfall, to drive a car at noon or midnight and not worry about killing myself or someone else. And I like the new Breeders album, too. It fucking rips.