Hi. I’m Rick. I’m an alcoholic. Functioning, in my own head, as a positive influence on society. That may seem like a load of shit, coming from someone addicted to staring down the bottom of a bottle, but the things I do when I’m like that are…fantastic. It may seem like I’m bragging and you would probably be right. What I do when I drink is create things.
After the first few drinks I pick up a pen, because ink flows much better than pressing a bunch of computer keys. I start by doodling, always doodling, to choose a random set of feeling from the pictures I draw. Then I put words to my feeling somewhere around the fourth three fingers of whiskey. When I drink I fabricate illustrious pictures of live and love. To say they captivate the mind would understate the power of such words. After the next few drinks I contemplate finishing the entire fifth of my inhibition lowering draught. Typically I do.
I wake up with fewer memories than I should have. I sometimes lose my notebook, or wake up with it strewn across my chest. But as horrible as I feel I always am lightened when I see what I’ve done. I honestly don’t know how I do it. It just connects something in my brain, synapses start firing differently and I’m gifted with a transcendence of verse.
I can write sonnets dripping with elegance, or ink covered in viscous violence. Sometimes they’re stories enriched with more feeling I could have ever experienced in my life. Where these things come from, I’ll never know. Ask me to write something sober. It’s hilarious, this change in personas. Choppy, inarticulate language spewing from superficial pores that I wasn’t aware existed. Unfortunately, as luck would have it I have continuously drank myself to death. To waste away like this is as unforgiving as it gets. Luckily for me, I was able to generate massive amounts of prose for thirty years before it did me in.
I sit in bed, all alone in this house, save my caregiver. The alcohol has been ridden from the establishment, but I have a godsend in way of the liquid gold. My nephew, Eddie, sneaks in when Rose is asleep and puts brown bottles of whiskey under the mattress for me to sip from as I lament on my life. This gift and curse was given to him the same way it was given to me.
He has it differently than I and we have discussed this frequently. I let the alcohol open my mind slowly and let ink pour my words on page in waves of drink. He takes narcotics, and I do not put this lightly. From what he has told me he may have a few drinks before taking stimulants in the form of cocaine. Once he reaches a certain point of no return, he combines a psychedelic drug to enhance his mind like mushrooms or acid. Then things get interesting. Where my mind is a river, his is a dam that explodes upon contact with this combination. He sticks himself in a room for hours on end, frantically depicting all that is in his head.
You could not begin to explain his writing in terms of words. He illicits color and feeling on a page in a massive explosion of membrane intricacies unknown to someone like me, who has never known emotion such as his. It’s intense and provocative, with a touch of lunacy that is quite endearing. His mother, my sister Helen, says that there is a similarity in the writing. A thirst that never is quenched. As if we are terminally waiting for something that is never meant to be. She talks about our issues in meetings the three of us attend together, the ones where they tell you about your problem.
I hate those meetings more than anything, and so does Eddie. We learned a long time ago to sit through them and shake our heads yes at the healing power of group therapy. It was better than the initial few years of the rebellions we staged in those groups. Helen would run out crying in many as we argued and yelled, sometimes engaged in physical altercations. Sob story after sob story of their problems, and praise be to Jesus, they were saved on a Tuesday night A.A meeting all those years ago. Those things weaken the human perspective. Addiction is just a word, not an illness. I’ve been through that type of rehab and the only thing it made me realize was how boring life becomes infected with sobriety.
Plus, Eddie and I, we bring gifts with our alleged illness. We grab the human soul and shake it to understand the real world. We have made a lot of money through our inspirational delights. Our respective legacies will live on in the spark we leave behind someone inspired by us. To steal this gift from us would be cruel. To steal the opportunity to read us would be the same.
If we weren’t such narcissists, we would say we were doing it solely for the people who we could reach with our rhetoric. Instead we do it for ourselves. It feels good to dispel intelligent design from your fingertips. So maybe I’m on my death bed. Maybe I’m crazy to continue to wet my lips as I will. Call me what you will, but first let me tell you why I started drinking the way I do…..
If you wish me to continue with Richard’s story, let me know.