“Different people drink for different reasons,” my mom tells me, “but for every drinker, there is a reason. What’s yours?” she would ask.
I know the reason, but I’m not yet ready to let on to her, as it’s hard enough to be straight with myself. Drinking, for me, is a way to ease the loneliness, a way to connect and feel a part of things that would otherwise be out of my reach. You see, I’m a thinker by nature, a deep thinker who can brood and lose myself in my thoughts. In my cerebral landscape, thoughts are like giant rocks that jut from the desolate moon-scaped surface, keeping me detached and disconnected from the rest of the world. I walk among the rocks, hearing the playful banter of those on the other side of the rock valley, whose path is not constrained, as mine is. Drinking transports me there, and binging lets me catch up to the seeming contentment, connectedness and frivolity of those who inhabit that world.
I’m insightful enough to use the word “seeming” because when it’s all over, I’m left feeling lonelier than before I started – knowing as I did before I started – that the place to which I traveled is not real for me. And the answer, I also know, is to redouble my efforts to make more comfortable for me the space within which I walk, to transform those tall rock obstructions that hold me hostage into majestic canopied redwoods, whose arms let in the sun’s delicious warmth, whose leaves dance with the breeze and offer view upon view of the sky’s glorious hues. The real answer, for me, is to take on the loneliness and sense of detachment, not through alcohol’s transitory magic carpet ride that, at its end, drops me hard, right back into that rock valley, but by working to make that valley not simply habitable but a place that’s warm, welcoming, verdant, cozy, a place of peace, rebirth and renewal – a home.More