While one could make an argument that the connection between alcohol and the addicted human brain is a complex one (accounting for neurological misfires and genetic predispositions), subjectively I would say my personal relationship with alcohol was pretty simple: I drank it a lot. I liked it. I didn’t care what it did to me. Towards the end I didn’t care even what it was that I put into my body — so long as it had the desired effect. Lather rinse repeat. A fifth a day keeps life at bay. So on and so forth.
Alternately, I would venture to say that my relationship with alcohol on the other side of recovery is pretty simple, too: it doesn’t exist. I don’t drink it at all. I barely even think about it any more. I have cut it out of my life, like a malignant cancer (a process which, by the way, has taught me a lot about how difficult–but important–it is to minimize the consumable toxins in life…toxins which may well include people).
Not all are so fortunate to have such a finite and sharp-edged distinction between self & substance. I came across one such example yesterday, in the form of a post from one of the more innovative & intriguing social media profiles I regularly visit (Humans of New York).
This particular post yesterday immediately struck me for a couple of reasons, 1) being that it featured no recognizable features of the man in frame, only his feet, which would have been his choice in allowing himself to be photographed; and 2) that those were a pair of well-dressed feet/legs.
Curiosity piqued, I proceeded to read the caption blurb beneath the photo, which is most usually a pull quote from an interview the photographer conducts when he asks consent to shoot.
This, to me, is a snapshot of America. A man that wishes only to provide for his loved ones…but can’t pull ahead, as a cog in a machine designed for failure. A man who, when he finally sees some semblance of success…falls right back into the trickery of old habits.
I wouldn’t wish that back/forth/back/forth upon my worst enemy. It’s like a prison sentence to be invisibly chained to the conniving wrists of an abusive lover. Break the shackles…live above.
Or, you know, “drink responsibly,” like the adverti$ing indu$try would have you believe is the key to happiness. In an episode earlier this fall on how those sh*tty ‘free’ mobile games that have become so popular relentlessly hook users into mindless pay-to-play schemes, South Park took parallel shots (pun intended) at the alcohol industry. In a world filled to the brim with pandering and ever-suspect marketing ploys, I’m finding some of my favorite comedy bits to be those which ruthlessly call out the blatant hypocrisy…and of course South Park, being the bastion of social commentary that it is, nails it.
“DRINK IT ALL YOU F*CKING P*SSY!”