Alcohol Is The Underground River of Sorrow Beneath This World
Our Society’s Flippant Attitude To This Deadly Drug Needs To Change
The shards of glass from his own broken wine bottle tore his hands, but he was beyond pain. Blood streamed down, but he was beyond pain, anaesthetized by 1.5 Litre bottles of cheap red wine which he chugged, wine staining his beard, and making him look like a vampire.
I want to help this man, but I hardly know this man. Quiet, keeps to himself, except when he is on a bender, which is often. Then there is nothing to do but pick him up off his lawn, convince him to go inside, to go to bed, and sweep up the rest of the glass. Tickets for public intoxication are all over his house, but this is not a policing issue- it is a public health issue. This disease is rampant and has been allowed to run rampant.
Alcohol use is joked about, and that is all harmless for most people. But there is a darker side. All families have secrets. Your friends have secrets. Many of them medicate to get through their days or nights. Many live with alcohol in their bloodstreams. Many structure their lives around where they will get their next drink.
Binge drinking is glamourized. We loved it, me and all the teenagers I knew and hung around, and we grew up fine. Being 16 and finding this wonder drug was…wonderful. Until it wasn’t. Until some fell into its sinister grip. Until some had their lives thrown off course.
For most of us, even if we have an alcohol binge, we nurse the hangover and move on. We joke about, eat cheeseburgers, and move on. But what about those who can never move on? Have you ever seen someone sleep for 12 hours, wake up, and chug from a vodka bottle by the bedside? Have you ever blacked out for 3 days while on a binge? Have you ever felt like the walls were talking to you?
Alcohol is the river of sorrow beneath the world. It trickles through the leaves of our family trees until it reaches the roots.
It destroys lives, ruins families, takes loved ones from the world too soon. It is the poison in our blood. It is a ruinous technology unleashed when humans learned how to use fermentation to make a liquid that makes us “feel good”.
I know alcoholics. You know alcoholics. Whether they are passed out on their lawns or sneaking a drink from their office desk drawer, you know them. They are here among us. They are us- our brothers, sisters, cousins, coworkers, doctors, lawyers. They live this struggle, and many perish in the fight. Their cells cry out to be flooded with sweet, sweet booze, even as their minds and souls suffer.
Alcohol promises us transformation, at least for a time: our brains pleasantly spiked and buzzed, our selves more chatty, more “cool”. In true human fashion, we leave the consequences and after effects to be worried about later.
There will be no good conclusion to this piece. You might be reading it and thinking “I need help”. Alcoholics Anonymous is a good start. You may be reading it and thinking of a friend or relative. You could attend an Al-Anon meeting. Just know that this drug, perfectly legal, and socially acceptable in many ways, is a dangerous one. Know that many drift down that underground river, of beer, wine, and whiskey. Know that many drown, too ashamed to come aboveground and ask for help.
@MatthewOldridge is a father, husband, and educator. www.matthewoldridge.com