Friday, August 20, 2010

Guilt and Booze

Here's the question: Have you ever woken up after a night of hard drinking to the feeling of horrible guilt and shame, so strong that you feel utterly repulsed by your own [fractured] tidbits of memory?

I distinctly remember a few facts about waking up after a night of drinking, or fun, or going out, etc.  Previously, I'd wake up lazy, head pounding with hurt, and take care of basic priorities: water, rest, nutrition (if possible).  At some point, though, waking up became a shock.  My eyes would snap open and I'd be assaulted by a cascading waterfall of guilt and subsequent panic: guilt because the night would come back to me in wall sized panorama, each pinprick of distortion, almost hallucinogenic in a way.  Memories broken up and sliding on top of each other, unraveling at the edges to connect to a splice from some other scene, a lyric, chorus, response; some facade of relief at going outside into cool air.  After some time experiencing these newer sorts of panic attack hangovers, they started to incorporate previous days' promises not to drink that night, to be supported by even more promises that I'd make not to drink the coming evening.  The next morning would inevitably roll around to announce itself like a punch in the face, as if the day between didn't happen, as if the first five minutes of the morning was the only time I was actually living, or the only time I could reflect, I'm not sure.

But then the aching metaphoric limbs get a little stretched out, some calls are made, a few exercises done (exercise is a guilt killer), perhaps, and some normal everyday functionality is had, and before you can stop to breathe, the night is upon you, and you feel fine, perhaps a little run down like you need a cup of coffee or some fresh air.  And what turns out to be a little fresh air, or a little pick-me-up, is the drink, as only it can be.  Normalcy returns like a flood after the first two drinks.  The old social self is friendly again, a best friend, saintly in gratitude and observance, and intensely aware.  Sensations come back. All the color that had been lost, that you never knew you were missing, return from a long fascinating journey with stories and anecdotes and personal winks.  A favorite album on a stereo you never knew could exist.  And then you're excited again, and participatory, and life sits at your heels, and your friends are all clued into exactly the same reality.  Such relief.  And they all drink, and all of you drinks, shying away from that other self lurking in the corner, ignoring him.  Eventually you signal for the pleasure to end.  Four in the morning.  You wander home through parks with moist cool grass.  You find yourself a freshly printed Sunday New York Times (you even start astutely reading it), and you find yourself home again, the light fading up, when you decide that you're finally tired enough to sleep, after all of the productive behavior you've had, and slip down under the blanket of consciousness.

No comments: