Like many people in our society, I self-medicate with alcohol as a quick and fairly inexpensive (and – as the luck of history would have it – legal) way to escape the entrapment of my mind, and quieten the relentless chatter of the neocortex, overstimulated as it is by the incessant barrage of media at every turn in our hyperactive culture. That warm, cosy, hugging feeling as the wine, whisky or beer slips down and does its business, shutting off the over-thinking, relaxing the muscles and warming the blood-flow. You can’t beat it.
However, a combination of a very drink-fuelled September, not having had a drink free day in a good few months, and not a drink free week since I was around 16 years old (i.e. 14-odd years), I thought I would jump on the Sober October bandwagon, and encourage myself to find other ways to calm my relentless noggin. I’m not unfamiliar with meditation and tai-chi, and I hope it’ll encourage me to find less damaging ways to peace. People like me need some way to quieten our minds, and so I am your guinea pig. Oink.
What has especially encouraged me is that I find the thought of doing it so unbearable – always a sign of something worth doing. I think those who have said it’s easy perhaps don’t have the same relationship with alcohol that I do, and probably don’t drink alone very often.
There’s been a great deal of debate recently as to whether alcohol and drug addicts are suffering from an illness, or just criminals who have made bad choices and only have themselves to blame. Well I don’t know, but I do know that our crazy, overstimulated society makes finding peace very difficult, and drugs in general are a quick way to change our level of consciousness. And this coming from somebody with a fairly easy upbringing. I can’t imagine how someone from a particularly (or even relatively) difficult upbringing could not seek solace in some drug or other.
Four years ago my brother died of his alcoholism – such was the escape he found from alcohol that in the end it cost him his life. I miss Tom, and there’s nothing I can do to bring him back, but if I can help others with the same plight, well… it still feels like nothing, but I guess it’s something.
I won’t be hounding anyone as I usually do, but donations are appreciated. I’ll be updating the thrills and spills in bite-sized pieces via Twitter @philipomeara
Thanks for reading!