Often I pondered if there was a way out of this purgatory. There were countless close calls, days I feared I would further digress into a human pincushion, strung to alcohol IVs, drifting aimlessly through hospital halls for all eternity. However, I wasn’t the only one who felt concern for my well being, as my overpaid therapist at the bar had finally cut me off for a reason. Sure, it knocked me flat on my ass–but there may have been something to the bouncer’s curative right-hook.
After a nap on a glassy sidewalk, I woke up in control of my life–at least more in control than I ever thought possible. Even after my swelling revelation, the lifetime of misadventures were far from over. They continued to be fueled by an ever lingering temptation to be clever.
There was a time where, in my spirituous-dementia, I found solace in a television show featuring an English actor playing an American doctor. This doctor–no more than a junkie with wit–saw into my hollow soul. This bastardization of the medical industry understood me. He was there, watching me pour my life out into a rose-colored puddle on the ground.
And the doctor did not approve.
No one in the childhood dwelling in which I resided enjoyed the show, instead they often criticized the unethical repercussions of its broadcast in a god-fearing nation. Between switching between Judge Judy and Dr. Phil during commercial breaks, it hadn’t even dawned on them that I had kicked my nasty habit. Maybe they never liked me either.
In five syllables, the fabricated doctor spoke a little bit of truth about the world.
This put things into perspective. Just because I stopped drinking, after all, did not mean I stopped being an alcoholic. And alcoholics lie, especially the highly functioning ones. One might say it is their primary addiction. However, that is not to say I have never woken up from a coma after trying to get back into a friendly neighborhood tavern I was no longer welcome in. That happened. The only difference is I wasn’t laughing about it at the time.
Instead, I was in the bathroom stall of a Casey’s Convenience Store, staring at my shattered reflection in the mirror, commiserating with the poor, broken soul staring back with disgust. He shook is head in disbelief, the same way someone shakes their head after being told their cat played chicken with a school bus and lost.
Truth is, I was dying. Just not fast enough to escape the pain of living life without another drink. But to get to the root of my problems, I had to live a little while longer, to survive the horrors of the human psyche, to put pen to paper. I had to dive deeper into the nine circles of my personal hell, which of course meant drinking more poison, the one thing that made the horror palatable.
It was never just the alcohol. No. I was no John Bonham (renowned drummer of Led Zeppelin) choking on the remnants of his breakfast after a rock and roll orgy. I was Dustin Triplett, ghostwriting academic smut for Craigslist ungratefuls, a man desperately trying to hide his shame with a pseudonym consisting of his middle name and that of the street he grew up on–two of the things he hated most–but most of all, I was someone who was lying to himself.
Someone once said I had a gift for the shit I did at the pressed wood, mahogany hoax I called a desk. I didn’t believe them. In my mind, they were polite liars who gave me no choice but to respond in the only way I knew how: by lying back.
Oh, and did I lie.
For years, I found that lying to myself was the only way to get through life. A sip of wine washed my melodramatic existence down, only to throw it back in my face the morning after. The therapeutic elements of the cold, unsanitary tile on a bathroom floor will take you places, self-loathing becomes self-realization, and the lies become reality.