I am so tired, dog tired, to the bone exhausted. I have a pile of books, at least a third of a notebook of scrawl I haven’t converted into words, and all I can think of is whether or not I can hold on at the shelter, if I am going to get this apartment in a better part of town on the subsidy, with a couple of tiny bedrooms and a cute little living room, and wondering just why the housing people want hours of my time tomorrow as well as today. Then worrying about Wednesday and trying to get ID from city hall. Worrying worrying worrying when I should be writing writing writing. I have my little routine of eating some thc and cbd tablets before I go to sleep, but make sure I take days off. Gotta keep my addicts brain from getting used to a particular state of being. So tonight is my night off from getting stoned. Everything hurts. Everything aches. I wish my body hadn’t been so smashed up for years, I am paying for it all over again and again. Night after night. Years of numbness, years of abusing pain pills and now I hurt physically there is nothing to take the edge off.
I won’t drink. If I drink it is game over. I am just so tired. I am not allowed to play my guitar after 8pm. I can’t even sit here and pick around writing silly little songs. I’ve a problem with my left eye – scarring from where the cornea healed up after being socked in the face hard by Mr Charming, the erosion is sticking to my eyelid while I sleep and swelling. I have been happier, but at least I know why I can’t see very well on that side. I am so tired. I will feel better tomorrow, even if I have to get out of here for an hour or else be dragged to a community meeting I can’t handle attending.
So here I am, listening to Marianne Faithful. She is right about the rage. She is right about a lot of things. She is right about the heaviness of the burden of addiction. Getting angry and buying a bottle. Getting mad and getting high. Self destruction and self attack might not help, but it is better than destroying someone’s eyesight or breaking their legs. The only person I ever hurt was myself.
Alcohol can take you there, for sure, but getting smashed and walking around Times square with a gun and a lack of self control isn’t the best idea. Alcohol. Alcohol has destroyed my oldest friend. He is such an irretrievable alcoholic that even living with him for a while had me drinking so hard I ended up physically addicted. There is nothing to be dismissed about mental addiction to booze, to drinking a bit too much, but those days when I was buying a gallon of vodka every other day, and drinking all of it alone beat any drinking I had done before into a weepy submission. There has to be a lot of anger to drink like that. “I’d take a shot a minute” sings Marianne. I’ve been there. There is only one way to get a serious alcohol problem, start early in the day, and continue 24/7. You cannot eat and drink like that – it sobers you up too much and you can’t stay ahead of the drunk. I stopped eating almost entirely. Drip drip, steady and fast, get up there, get really good and drunk, and then keep it topped up, flying, surfing the ethanol rage wave. It took far more than a couple of weeks drinking like that, drinking to keep up, to start getting the nausea and the shakes. It took dedication and work. It was heroic. It was immensely difficult. I was glad to be over it. The only addiction I ever managed where my mind hated it and my body needed it. I jumped off and right back onto the pain pill jail-line, breaking pills and for a while, content.
Here is the problem, a guy drinks heavy and he is somewhat of a hero in his own lifetime. How many songs have been written about moonshiners and drunk tanks, last shots, and lionizing the beer and whiskey regime. A woman who drinks is another kinda animal, a different creature to those looking in. The same people that cheer on the heavy drinking guys, whisper in mean tones about women who drink. There are put downs and gossip, florid tales are swapped and whispered asides from more sober, more boring, tighter wound individuals. Heaven forbid she is a mother, or she hops from bed to bed, or she gets wild and crazy or sad and weepy. Or screams at a bunch of rednecks who were intent on partying, but gave up too early on in the night. Yee fucking hah. Whoo fucking hoo. Lightweights. It might be my finest hour, triumphant and holding onto an empty fifth of white rum, while they ran to their beds after insisting on waking me up in some oregon campground while I was wrecked with sadness. I felt like the figurehead on a ship, lost my sea legs, but still afloat, hopping up and down screaming PJ Harvey songs out of the camper window, spitting fury at the people who threw beanbags at my trailer wall for hours. Shame I can’t remember it. The Boy still talks about it in awe. “Hey ma…remember that time you…” It is our joke. I am grateful he was amused rather than horrified.
Marianne restores the mythos of the heroic female addict, the drinking goddess with a gun in her suitcase, who lays looking at hotel ceilings wondering if this is gonna be the day she dies, looking at the city from rear windows of cars, and casting her eyes to the tv screens and the green flashes of neon, and the tipsy topsy carnival ride of loose legged boozing. Marianne to the rescue, Marianne on her wall in Soho that she lived on when she fell from grace and got good and addicted again. Marianne the junkie, Marianne the drunk, Marianne the artist the singer, the writer of songs, and purveyor of Broken English. Marianne the Pied Piper of women who break the rules. Women who drink like men, curse like sailors and rage against the unfairness and dullness of it all.
Someone raise a glass for me.
I don’t dare.