Acid Heroes

April 1, 2014


Filed under: Backwords from Ace — Ace Backwords @ 8:21 pm
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I decided to see if I could go a week without drinking.  This might not seem like much, but I probably haven’t gone 2 days in a row without drinking over the last 10 years.  So this could be a challenge . . .   Generally, I’m somewhat of a “controlled” drinker.  I’ll usually start drinking around 6 PM.  And keep drinking until I go to sleep around midnight.  Usually I’ll drink about two 40s of Olde English malt liquor (alcohol content 7.4%).  Or occasionally a half a fifth of bourbon whiskey.  And I’ll sip away at that for about 6 hours.  What can I say.  I prefer doing that to watching TV.   And I’m almost always sober during the daylight hours.  I’m just mentioning this because I don’t want to give the impression that I’ve been on a nonstop, 10-year drunk.
DAY ONE:  It’s 7 PM so I poured myself a big glass of . . .  soda pop! . . .    So now I’m thinking:  Now what do I do?  I’m completely out of my usual rhythm and routine . . .   8PM:  I don’t know if I’m over-compensating but I just ate an entire jar of dill pickles.  The first seven pickles actually tasted pretty darn good.   But now I’m feeling sort of . . . UGHH! . . . .  7AM:  It was a weird feeling to wake up this morning in the same head space I went to bed in.  That’s usually one of the most jarring things about alcoholism:  the dreaded Next Morning.  It’s a very schitzophrenic feeling, because I wake up a completely different person than I had been the night before.  Vaguely remembering all the cocky and insulting things I had said last night when I was on top of the world, feeling no pain, and operating under that alcoholic state of grace (that coveted “I-don’t-give-a-flying-fuck” feeling).  And then reviewing my transgressions the next morning in the fragile hangover state of weakness and self-loathing.  So it’s nice to wake up for once without my first thought being;  “What do I have to immediately delete from my Facebook page now?”
DAY TWO:  Its my second day without drinking and I’ve been giving a lot of thought to exactly what is it that attracts me to alcohol.  It must be something.  Because I’ve been spending about $200 a month over the last 10 years on booze.  And I’m usually pretty tight with a buck.  One thing alcohol does:  It gives me a sense of purpose and direction.  Maybe a stupid sense of purpose and direction.  But purpose and direction nonetheless.  By that I mean:  I start off most evenings wanting to go from Point A (sobriety) to Point B (drunkenness).  So there’s a process that takes place.  A personal transformation even.  Because alcohol transforms me into a different person.  Which is something apparently that I want.  And I do think there’s a certain inherent human need to want to change one’s state of consciousness.  By all sorts of different means.
DAY THREE:  Third day without drinking.  Last night, experiencing this unfamiliar state of sobriety (so-called). . . .   This bland, stable, normal, nothing-happening state.  Occurred to me how drunkenness is often a state of mental derangement.  Not so much the first 2 or 3 hours of drinking.  But by the fourth hour, when my system is thoroughly saturated with alcohol, and the booze is surging through my veins and swirling ’round my brain . . . . . .   I’m also struck by this strange dichotomy about drunkenness.  Its synonymous with mental impairment and derangement.  As well as partying and celebrating life.  You think of the Skid Row alcoholic reduced to complete failure by booze.  And then you think of every sports team celebrating every championship with flowing champagne.  And alcohol is both, I guess.  And everything in between.  Maybe that’s why its so hard to get a handle on precisely what it is.



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Well, I made it.  But I’m starting to get a little green around the gills.

DAY SEVEN:  Well, I actually went seven days without drinking.  It was actually kind of pleasant.  I enjoyed the bland, mental stability of sobriety.  Made me realize that being drunk is a form of temporary insanity in a way.  There’s the Doctor Jekyll/Mr. Hyde lunacy of alcohol where it turns you into a completely different person.  As the songwriter Randy Newman put it:  “It takes a whole lot of medicine for me to pretend that I’m somebody else.” And some times you’re not pretending . . .  Of course this is part of the appeal of alcohol. I’m a painfully shy person so I drink to be transformed into a sociable person.   And then (unfortunately) there are the ones who with a lot of pent-up anger who use alcohol as an excuse to be transformed into their inner Hulk.  And I’ve known plenty of sexually-repressed people who need alcohol in order to become sexual.  I know this one closet guy gay who couldn’t accept he was gay, and he couldn’t get laid unless he was drunk. Then he could say;  “It wasn’t me, it was the alcohol.”  And maybe he needed that psychological out.  It would be nice if we all had perfectly psychologically integrated personalities.  But most of us don’t. . . . .    At any rate, this sobriety thing was an interesting experiment.  And I might try it again in a decade or two.



  1. Ace, been reading your blog for quite a while, and have enjoyed it immensely, wanted to find a way to email you direct as I’m not into FB, but this post got me over the edge. I’ve drank every day for years…and years…at my job now I have to go on call every so often, so I go cold turkey for a week, and at the end of the week I feel great, but hop right in as soon as I can. I’ve been considering quitting for good, for the sake of clarity, is all I can come up with. My life isn’t too bad right now, but if I don’t drink…my social skills are just nil. I don’t WANT to talk to anyone. I used to be able to drink and read, drink and play music, drink and draw, drink and whatever….now I just get tired in the evenings and not much productive comes out of it. Taking a break helps, and if the breaks get longer and longer over time…what the heck. You described the pattern very well, though. Greetings from an old friend from Nebraska!

    Comment by Marc Myers — April 3, 2014 @ 3:46 pm | Reply

    • Good to hear from you, Mark. Long time. Knowdja’ mean. My inherent shyness and discomfort in social settings has always been one of my big attractions to alchohol. Which alleviates that discomfort to some degree. While often adding new and more complicated forms of social discomfort. I guess its that old line: “Every form of refuge has its price.”

      Comment by Ace Backwords — April 3, 2014 @ 8:23 pm | Reply

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