This is the Gateway

Alcohol. It’s not a good drug for me. This is what I thought in the early hours, listening to the wretched church bells chime the quarter hours between two and four a.m, insomniac from a sudden lack of someone else’s codeine, flatulent from the cider, marinating in noxious intestinal effluvium and reconsidering my long and wrong relationship with alcohol. It’s been my gateway drug, in ways that no other drug has been – a gateway to stupidity, to ill advised sexual shenanigans and gruesome acts of violence against my person. It’s never been a true friend, just a sociopathic travelling companion, urging me on and giving nodding encouragement and permission to every stupid whim I ever entertained. I used to agree with the Butthole Surfers’ motto that ‘it’s better to regret something you did do, than something you didn’t do’ – but I regret a lot of things that I’d have regretted a lot less had I never done them, to be honest – and alcohol has so often been a cheap and easy way for me to borrow in the moment all kinds of justifications and excuses that I’d never be able to afford to pay back later. I should stop drinking. When I drink, I forget to pray for the angels – but it fills the spaces between the yawning gaps so quickly and effortlessly and is always there tomorrow when the space is wider and the void is hungrier – and that void is always there, always.

My upstairs neighbour has taken to sleeping on his living room floor so is, in effect, now snoring on my ceiling, in my ear, among the fermented guff gas and the clatter of the buses and the wailing drunks and the church bell, mocking the passing of a life where the wheels never really connected with the road, fifteen irretrievable minutes at a time…

I remember the time I pretended to try to kill myself. I didn’t want to end all my possible lives, just the one I had…

All these sick and miserable cul de sacs, all reached staggering through the same tilted gateway. Nobody ever poured it down my throat but me.

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