Pool Fulla Liquor Pt 1

When my brother was born my father poured champagne all over him in the maternity ward. At the age of 63, Hemingway sat down on his porch in the early hours of the morning, poured out a glass of rum, and shot himself. ‘Holy Intoxication’ was encouraged in Ancient Egypt as an alternative state of being, a link to the world of the Gods. When Harold took an arrow to the eye in the corner of a field near Hastings in 1066, his first words were ‘bring me my wine’.

Humans like booze.

There’s that thing which says a drink is the tonic for all occasions. Happiness, misery, sunny days, rain, to celebrate a life coming into being, to mourn a life passing on. We drink to remember, we drink to forget, to commune with others, we toast our own company, we drink to feel different, we drink to prolong going back to feeling the same all over again.

I stopped drinking three months ago, and it has been such a fucking weird trip that i have to write it down and try to give form to it because it has been one of the most confusing things i have ever done. When people are candid and throw their truth in your face without you asking, you stray into the murky waters of the #overshare. Unless you make it interesting, and then with luck it becomes characterised by its interest, rather than the fact someone is dumping the contents of their emotional hold-all over you whilst unloading it from the luggage compartment of their soul.

Dude in the corner's face says it all really.


I decided to stop drinking because it had become repetitive. Not in the sense that i was doing it metronomically with no control over it, but in the sense that nothing new was coming from it. There was a gut instinct in me that i wasn’t doing enough to deserve it, while at the same time i found myself drinking in order to mute this voice in my head, drinking to bind the hand whose finger was gently prodding away at the root of this feeling of undeservedness. On top of this, there was the added motivation that at weekends, one too many was leading me to do my best Toni Montana impression more often than i would like, which my sober-self concluded was fundamentally and categorically a waste of time, and i know enough to know a waste of time is the bedfellow of a wasted life.

There was also a feeling that time spent even not having that concrete an idea of what i was doing, was nonetheless time better spent than that filled doing something i understood was fundamentally bad for me. And things weren’t working out like that. Instead these two pastimes were playing a protracted game of musical chairs with each other, making an arrangement behind my back to sit down together on the one remaining chair in the room, linked in a warm embrace.

At the back end of another weekend, i made a decision and the shutters came down, and i stopped. I remember the subsequent first friday afternoon, sitting there with my mate staring deeply into the hues of his pint, watching the condensation form on the outside of the glass. And then going home the following weekend to see my parents, telling them i wasn’t drinking. And my father looking at me as if i’d just tied my shoelaces together, reminding me more than once at lunch how interesting the wine had become since it had begun to breathe, and how not to have a small glass with the main course was 'absurdo'.

The thing is i agreed with him. I’m definitely on the side of the drinkers. When i go out for dinner with someone who announces they aren't drinking there's a voice in my head that immediately lets out an extended groan, and something in me lowers the bar for the potential of the evening. There is an unknown in a glass or two of something. And you sign up to that unknown once you take a first sip. 

There is no unknown in a litre and a half of Highland Spring.

I count myself lucky i'm not one of those people who can’t ever have a drink of something again. In the knowledge that a big part of alcoholism lies in the denial of its existence, i can say with confidence i’m not there. For me this is an experiment that will at some point come to a close, and yet for the moment i can feel the presence of an unmoving 28-stone bouncer manning the door of my willpower that won’t let me reach for another drink again, until i understand exactly why i’m doing it. I have no idea what that understanding will be, but i know one hundred per cent that i'll know.

I haven't yet gone into why and how this whole process of sobriety became so confusing, but it was divided up into three specific stages, all as fucked up and delusional as each other...


So tune in for part two where i talk you through the world cup of sparkling water, social alienation, what never being hungover feels like, and the mid-morning urge to fill a swimming pool fulla liquor and to dive in that motherfucker.

And how it all got so fucked up that i almost had to go back to drinking to save myself from sobriety.

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