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‘If this is hell, it looks a lot like Margate’

I wrote this before I gave up the booze but I still like it.

Every hardened drinker has had that morning when they’re lying in bed waiting for the call. Deep down you know that you’ve fucked up, but the details elude you. There are fragments of regret that kind of make sense, but the phone call will always bring greater clarity and that paralyzing regret. You don’t really want that clarity but there’s not a lot you can do about it. So, you lie there in your bed working out what you’ll do when you get out of prison.

I’ve often thought that life doesn’t have to be this way. But it is. And although I’ve tried to be a better person, I don’t like the hours. Trying to be a good and moral person looks exhausting. I’ve got this mate who’s following the moral path and he looks fucked; puffy around the eyes, sexless, skint, and eating a kilo of chocolate a day just to avoid being sectioned.

There’s this other mate of mine, who’s just had a kid and he looks all doughy-eyed with family love. Tired, yet gloriously happy with his lot. I give him five years and he’ll be smashing down the front door of a brothel with a cock that resembles a forearm that’s been seared on each side of a griddle.

So, what do you do? Take the bacchanalian path to incarceration and an early death, or the righteous path to a four-bedroom maisonette and dribbling, incoherent Christmas dinners with the in-laws? Fuck, I haven’t got a clue. Nobody does. Devout people claim they have all the answers but taking a vow of silence and living in a cave sounds boring as fuck. That can’t signify the meaning of life.

I remember the first time I had sex on a pill, I proclaimed that that was the meaning of life. Especially when we had a huge bifta in the middle of it all and I came so hard that a vein in my neck twisted around on itself and I thought I was having a stroke, while shitting myself at the same time. Shitting and cumming at the same time is magnificent but the clean-up is embarrassing and inconvenient. Cue Atmosphere, by Joy Division.

But I’m descending into scatology and that’s so unfashionable these days. In this age of moral enlightenment, being a prick is a right prick of a job. If the Marquis de Sade were publishing his books today, he’d have legions of arty left wing types demanding that his books be burned and that his very soul be cancelled by the editor in chief of The Guardian (the keeper of cancelled souls). These are the same people who read de Sade’s books today and think they’re cutting edge because they’re old and ahead of their time, plus de Sade’s French, so he can be excused. The modern alternative is 50 Shades of Gray. Very different to The 120 Days of Sodom, which I’m sure Johnny Depp aspires to but doesn’t quite have the internal fortitude to navigate, post defamation proceedings.

Anyway, these are my Notes from Underground (yes, I know it’s a book by Dostoevsky) and I’m going to stop ranting now and tell you how I got here and why I’m destined to rot in hell.

To be continued …

(The title of this piece is a quote taken from Peaky Blinders, spoken by Alfie Solomons)

The last time I got blootered

It happened a while ago now. I’d been off the booze for months but got beaten up on a job, sustained three broken ribs and a busted up face, so I went straight to the shops for a promotional sized bottle of whisky and ordered a big bag of Banana Kush. 

I sat in my flat for a week, getting drunk, smoking spliffs and popping some painkillers I found in the bathroom that somebody had left there a few years ago, when I was a functional alcoholic and had a normal job, with benefits and cycled to work.

Over the course of the week, I got fuck all sleep because my ribs hurt like hell and hospital was not on the cards. So, I watched telly and numbed the pain. There was the occasional knock on the door, which I ignored, and people were concerned when they called me because I made less sense than usual. I have only vague memories of that week and I’m happy about that. So, let’s leave it there and move on.

When I eventually snapped out of it, I was still in pain but realised I had to go to therapy. At that stage, I’d been in therapy for 18 months because I’m a fucking nutter and all that stands between me, and total annihilation is a wee white pill. Anyway, I went to therapy via the pub, where I had three double whiskies, and then swanned into therapy thinking I was Jack the Lad but really looked like Gollum after a marathon session on xHamster. And that’s where it all started to go horribly wrong.

For those of you who’ve never had a blackout, it’s fucking scary and try as you may, you can’t remember a thing. I woke up the next morning with a cut hand, a bottle of red wine spilled across the bed and a load of voicemails that could only mean one thing, trouble.

The first message was from a mental health facility mentioning something about a firearm, the second was somebody from the Old Bill and the rest were from people I’d never met before, all telling me stories that didn’t add up. With my ribs still in a sorry state, I got up, got dressed, drank a bottle of red wine, and got the fuck out of my flat.

Twenty minutes later I was at my friend’s house trying to explain what had gone down, while swigging from a one litre bottle of gin and knocking back more unprescribed painkillers that were fucking awesome. Seriously, if painkillers and alcohol didn’t kill you and destroy your life, I’d spend every second on them forever. Unfortunately, life is better when I’m drunk or high, or both. But it comes at a price. 

After a longish haul on the gin, I built up the courage to listen to the voicemails again and made some reconciliatory calls …

Anyway, to cut a long story short, I’d been ranting and raving in therapy about tracking down the two men who broke my ribs, stormed out of there with revenge on my mind and went to the pub across the road where I got into a barney with a local, pretended to have a gun tucked down the back of my trousers and smashed the lad’s head into the bar, walked out of the pub, answered a call from a concerned mental health triage person (my therapist had contacted them), talked to him about the incident in the pub – told him to fuck off, went to see Greek Steve, got more wine, went home and called an old friend who was hosting a lovely dinner party on the other side of the world, passed out on my bed, spilled the wine and woke up with only one thing on my mind; a drink. 

So, after finding all that out via a few awkward phone calls, I decided to call it quits once the litre of gin was finished and get back on the wagon. And here I am now, many moons later, having narrowly avoided being sectioned, arrested, and beaten to death. All in 24 hours.

Thankfully, I’ve kept my shit together this time but like all self-centred addicts looking for a round of applause on a talk show for not wetting the bed, I’m bored. Plain and simple. I’m less stressed and not afraid of my phone anymore, but life’s different and that’s my fault. I got myself here and I’ve never wanted anybody’s sympathy.

But my parting advice is this, if you find yourself walking the path of addiction, remember you’re on your own, even with other addicts by your side and concerned loved ones telling you everything’s going to be okay, you’re flying solo like Kevin Spacey at a high school reunion. So, when you wake up after that night, and there is always that night, the motherfucker of all nights rolled into one vulgar bundle of joy, and wrapped in self-loathing, get your shit together and stop bein’ a fucken idiot. You owe it to yourself.