3.2 The Sobriety Diaries
I admit I am powerless over alcohol. My life has become unmanageable.
“Abandon your pride if you want to walk this way” It was the old man I ignored so many times before. It was the old man who begged from me, who found my parking place and promised a great deal on feather dusters and brooms. “If you want to take the first step you have to leave all that shit behind” I looked at him with scorn. Fuck off and leave me alone, I can deal with this by myself.
“That’s the problem, it is way too clever for you. Listen to your shrewd arguments. Drink that fine red wine and you become a philosopher and an artist. Drink a little more and you become the village idiot and then just a bit more and you are a brute. Go and drink as much as you want and see where it leads you. So you want to take the first step? Forget it, you need to put on your humility shoes before you can walk this way, brother. With those pride shoes you have on you better be careful because you will slip, you need modesty boots. Big fucking modesty boots to walk on this ground, brother. It’s fucking holy ground.”
“So what must I do?” he held my gaze as he considered my question. “You have to fucking let go.” He said after a long pause. “You are beaten at every turn with this shit, it will outsmart any clever argument you have. And, you need to be honest. Yeah – that’s a big one if you want to take the first step. Really, really honest. Honest with your woman, honest with your kids and most of all,” he pointed at my chest, “honest with yourself.”
“Oh and it’s going to take balls, big, big fucking cojones. The Big A has got you by the shorts and there is fuck-all you can do about it. When it comes to wine you are a pussy.” The old boy was getting pushy, but on many levels he was right. “Look at you, with your fancy clothes, your house and your car. You think that you are a big deal at work? You are nothing. You want to stop drinking but you can’t. You drink, you talk shit and then you abuse everybody, those you love. Respect? Fuck, what a joke.”
I have done that, I have hit the bottom of my life. If I scrape it, if I want goodwill and trust, if I want self-respect I have to scrape vary hard, the barrel is almost empty. And so in a small moment, a sliver of clarity, I put one foot in front of the other. The road ahead looks long. “I am an alcoholic” I whisper. The old beggar smiles, “fuck yes, and I am an alcoholic too. I have so much to teach you.”