When I woke up first I'd already wrote the word 'peril' in thick letters on the bathroom floor. That was the start of it. My lost month. It began with something as simple as a weekend seeping into a Monday afternoon. A slight line being crossed. I'd always convinced myself that as long as I had a cut off point at the start of the week it didn't matter how many times I got wrecked. The slate was always wiped clean with a Monday, only this particular afternoon I continued drinking into it. I couldn't really explain it other than it was relief not to have to think about anything other than my next drink. In truth it was quite liberating really.
So I continued. My slug pub crawl. Day by day. Not in an artistic or poetic way, but just in a depressing mechanical motion of someone wanting to retain a numbness. It seemed so selfish and so stupid, but I literally couldn't stop myself. It was like disappearing, away from the mind numbing job and the grey responsibilities. Life really. The motion of putting a glass to my lips was all that mattered. The lost hours inbetween, the scattered conversations with strangers, the ticking of a dead clock joined the dots of my days together. I was a bar fly. The wallpaper of Wetherspoons. Socially acceptable for a time where the relentless caner is king.
It only took a few messy scenes for all this to change. An unconscious slump on a table, a heated argument that gets out of hand - for people to stick a different label on you. That's when as Bukowski said you begin to 'stink up a room'. Suddenly I found myself being ushered to doors by managers in white starched shirts with ambitious fringes. It was a game. Finding a new drinking establishment I would quickly wear out my invitation by my increasingly volatile behaviour. Without knowing it my volume button was being pushed way past eleven and my self awareness was being rubbed out like a line drawing. Pretty soon in fact I had nowhere left to drink in. It hardly seemed to matter. Within the space of two weeks I was pretty much somewhere near being a full blown alcoholic anyway. Terrifyingly, I'd hardly seemed to notice the transition.
Things accelerated behind closed doors too. I took a demonic pride in getting up early enough to stockpile my alcohol for the days ahead. My newsagent became my dealer, a sad eyed, ruddy faced man whose expression became a little bit more concerned every time I pressed my diminishing notes into his hand and shuffled away from his shop with a carrier bag in my hand. It hardly mattered. Once inside my flat, I bolted on the latch and began the descent into my daily routine. Without knowing it I'd waltzed slowly into the business end of self destruction. Alcohol does that to you, it creeps on to your shoulder like a last defender. There are no beatific peaks like drugs but the slow rubbing away of the senses like two pebbles stuck on a black shard. It's like sinking slowly through quicksand, only every day that quicksand gets a little thicker and harder to pull out of. After a while I even stopped trying. I stopped walking and stumbling around my flat and just began crawling. I ceased to eat as well. Nothing passed my lips like a religious martyr for days on end. I weakened. But I was never weak or strong enough to stop drinking. Even now the complicated irony of that statement seems huge.
The physical stuff I could cope with. The painful grips like an electric fist punching my kidneys, the drops of blood spattered like a brush stroke in my vomit, were less worrying than they should of been. It was the mental stuff that was a monumental battle. I began to hear voices and see shapes that seemed to ooze out of the walls like they had leapt from a Goya painting. They didn't seem to have my best interests at heart. They would arrive in the cold night ( I'd had my electricity cut off by now ), when I was trying to capture half sleep. They told me to drink more, to leave the flat, to do worse things. When that failed due to my physical state they started to swoop and leap at me like Hunters bats. They were relentless and seemed to grow bigger and more violent by the day. Eventually I could take no more. I summoned up all the pathetic strength I could one night and waited for them with a cricket bat. As they arrived I swung at them with the fervour of an eighties West Indian cricketer. I battled with them for what seemed like an age. When id finished I also noticed that I'd also somehow managed to take out and smash every window in the entire place.
Ironically it was this what saved me. The police were called and were quite surprised to find me grinning contented in the corner of the room talking about a huge battle with metaphysical demons. They took one look at all the bottles strewn about the place and nodded to each other. They'd seen it all before. They got in touch with my distant family. I was lucky too. I was a gentle enough arsehole for people to care enough about me to help me. Behind the scenes people got me help. They rallied around and eventually I was so shocked by the entire episode I actually stopped drinking altogether.
It almost seems surreal now in fact, but it's weird how my dark drunk month started from little more than an overstepped weekend. Now I stay in and watch Ant and Dec.