The Drinker, who was not drinking for some days now, was in a terrible way. He was quite convinced that no one could address the physical and emotional pain, brought on by his abstention. Those who drank, he was convinced, thought such a pursuit a benign and short lived attempt at reformation. Those who didn’t (i.e., did not associate as drinkers), likewise, he felt, thought this was another attempt, a simple feigning, for absolution. The Drinker, had in his attempt for societal affirmation, he felt, lost any semblance of a social network of support.
The Drinker had not always been in this terrible way. Quite the opposite in fact. He had for a number of years looked down on heavy drinking as low-brow and alcohol as a petty intoxicant. The Drinkers original attraction, if you could even call it that, had simply been one of social happenstance. Increased use had been born merely out of a desire for friendship and to ease the natural inclinations those in their twenties possess in regards to growing their social network. The Drinker, in his recent temperate actions, had found that the intoxicant had, in fact, only made him petty. Less friendship, had been filled, with more acquainted Drinkers, which lent itself to nasty and argumentative nights.
The Drinker had, at the height of his social prowess, been quite sophisticated he felt. He was, after all, cultured and educated. “If you’re going to do something, you might as well do it right”, had always been a moto of his. The Drinker often used words such as terroir and bouquet, and enjoyed having serious discussions on fermentation and the societal importance of regional alcohols. It made the sting, of being called, “a rude ass,” by a once dear friend, as he left the Drinker, halfcocked on a stool, laughing with some people he had never met, all the more biting.
The Drinker had felt, until most recently, that consumption had made his life fuller, more adventuresome. He can remember his late nights out in foreign states, places where the names were difficult to say, but where after a happy hour he could be found attempting discussions on politics, and swaying arm and arm with local fútbol fans, whose team names started with Real or Club. The Drinker remembers fondly the exciting touch of new lovers, in wild places, mountain lakes and hot springs, beneath starlit skies, moments only possible he thought, because of liquid intoxicants. The Drinker now wondered if he had the courage to speak to anyone without several beverages, and knew without much self-reflection that travel, much farther than the nearest large city, would have been riddled with self-doubt and anxiety. The thought of new lovers only made him snort out a self-deprecating laugh, and an “as if’” under his breath.
The Drinker’s loneliness, in his new abstinence, was excruciatingly present. He had been drinking now, for several years, to feel better, which helped greatly during consumption. It had however, he found, become unbearable when he was not drinking. The Drinker had drunk, he knew, to quite his nerves, but now they resonated endlessly. The Drinker had drunk, he knew, to relax, but he awoke nightly in sweats and trembling that were, in his opinion, bad on an institutional level. The Drinker had drunk, he knew, to find peace, but toiled in the heat of his own presence. The Drinker, new he was losing, at a game he thought he had so long ago been given the title: Victor.
The Drinker, had not given up all hope yet though. He knew the world had things to offer, even if his own life, he thought, did not. Despite his absolute disdain, for his new found continence, he also knew he had little left to lose. He was certain the only thing in quicker digression, than his habit to drink, were his standards. For the Drinker to heal, he knew that he must be honest. If he was going to be courageous again, sophisticated again, at peace again, friendly again, relaxed again, adventuresome and entertaining again, he could not drink again. The drinker had realized that what he thought was his ticket in to an exciting life, was now, most certainly, his ticket out, and by god he was going to take it.