Putting the empty bottle back on the floor I returned to my resting position on the bed. The booze surged through my entire body I closed my eyes and savoured the moment. The power of this damn stuff never failed to amaze me. A few minutes were all I needed to start to feel almost human again. The nausea and terrible weakness that had gripped me from the instant I awoke lessened and my mind responded with silent and grateful thanks. Breakfast for Alan with a capital B! Bluechew

My room alone was enough to drive anybody to drink. I called it the Hole in Hell. The stench of human filth and stale beer was overwhelming. Who could blame Mary, my wife, for moving out. I spent my time alone on a double bed, King of a castle that nobody in their right mind would be caught in, made tolerable for me by a habit that had driven me here to start with. Was I bitter, angry, resentful? Not anymore. Those were questions for which I had no answers. Could I blame somebody or something for this? Probably. My mother, my wife, my boss, my neighbour. What the heck how about the guy in the bottle store? Now there was a good target. A few more drinks and maybe I’d storm in and punch his lights out. That made me smile.Anyway, enough pondering and time for another beer. If I was going to make it to the hospital I had to get seriously tanked up. The second beer went down like the first, quickly and gratefully received. A few weeks earlier I would have got up after a couple of dops and gone through to the office. At least then I had access to cold beers from the fridge. Even an alcoholic is fussy and I drank warm ones only as a matter of convenience or desperation.Unfortunately I now had to pace myself during the day as I was feeling extremely weak all the time. My business only opened at 8am and I had only 20 metres to stumble to work. I tried to stay out of the way in the bedroom until I ran out of liquor and was forced to replenish my supplies from the fridge.

For some reason the third beer of the day had lately taken on its own life and had become my ‘Head in the Toilet Bowl’ beer. My body had reached the end of its tolerance to the huge amount of booze that I was pouring into it. The third beer would force me to the toilet where I’d throw up everything I’d consumed. This normally left me lifeless on the floor, wondering what had hit
me. Sometimes Mary would hear the noise and come to help me she invariably found a broken man lying on the floor.The Doc had spelled it out: “You’re killing yourself Alan. Read my lips: your liver has had enough.” Lying on the bed waiting for the third beer to not let me down, it occurred to me that a lot of well-meaning people had expressed their views about me and I had ignored all of them. Mary, my parents, brother, sister, friends, business colleagues, doctors, psychologists. Even strangers had had their say.

The anger welled up inside. This was one part of Alan Butterworth gone horribly wrong. I never asked to be awake at six on a lovely Margate morning, waiting to be sick and craving something other people took for granted. It happened. Addiction and Alcoholism had done me in. The Anxiety of not gettong my daily fix was killing me. I was a case of Alcoholic Hell that you can end up in. I was not looking to blame, only to survive. I wanted to scream out loud that I was not that bad. I wanted to tell the world to forgive me, not condemn me all the time. For God’s sake, I could be you. Or worse, you could be me. If this was the life of Alcoholism then I wanted out.My pity-party was interrupted by a sudden need to rush to the toilet. I made it in time for once and vomited into the bowl. It was definitely getting worse and once again I ended up sitting on the bathroom floor wiping my face. Many times I didn’t make it and had to throw up wherever I was standing. I struggled back to the bed and waited for the attack to pass.

I was in no doubt that the average alkie spent a lot more time dwelling on the problem than was apparent to an outsider. We’ve all passed the guy in the street motherless on booze, or we know some guy in the office who seems drunk all the time. Let me tell you a secret: those very same people probably spend a whole lot of their day scheming and dreaming a way out of their living hell. But as much as I would have liked to lie on my bed and scheme the day away, my personal demon was not going to allow that. It was time to get up. Getting dressed was no problem simply because I had not changed my clothes for six weeks, and slept in them as well. My shoes were old slip-ons which presented no hassles. The trick was to get up and get moving. Twenty metres to the office with a quick stop-over at the fridge for a cold beer, then into my seat in the office. Once there the world was my oyster.n My days of secret drinking had ended months earlier so I wasn’t worried about Mary surprising me. I drank as necessary now and piled the empties on my desk. Only later would the thought occur to me about the damage I was doing the business. No doubt countless people had wandered in and been horrified at the sight of pile of empty bottles and the wreck slumped in his chair. Not that the wreck gave a damn. There were more important things to attend to, like keeping the demon happy and the beers flowing.

 

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