Imagine that you love pizza. Not just love pizza, but LOVE pizza. It makes you a bit chubby, but it’s worth it for the taste and the way it makes you feel. You love pizza so much that you even plan your life around it – you let it dictate how you spend your time. You sometimes even take a day off sick just so that you can stay at home and eat pizza. Mmmm you love that tasty goddamn pizza. But then you hit your mid-thirties and BLAM!…
…you’re not allowed any more pizza. Doctor’s orders. That killjoy, A-star-plus-achieving, text-book-loving, stethoscope-wearing motherfucker.
You plod on through life, doing the best that you can not to think about the lovely combination of passata sauce and melty mozzarella. It’s hard, but you know it’s the right thing to do. Occasionally you’ll walk past a Pizza Hut and the smell of delicious baked pizza dough will almost draw you in through the door, but you know you need to stay strong. Life with pizza would be short and unmanageable. Life without pizza will be flavourless and bland. It’s a conundrum, but you already know the answer. No more pizza for you.
But what about when I’m old, and there’s not much life left for pizza to steal away? Who’ll care if I eat pizzas on my death bed?
Maybe life isn’t so bad after all then. I’ll live life to the max, and then when things start getting shaky I’ll go back to my pizza, and I can die happy. They’ll find me in my favorite comfy chair, a smile on my face, an open pizza box by my side, heartbeat at zero bpm.
So, fellow drink-addicts, my question is this. Do we secretly hope that one day we’ll be able to go back to that thing that we love so much? Are we driven by the secret hope that one day, no matter how far into the future, we can drink again?
This was a topic that recently came up in a text chat with my mate Float, who wrote this lovely guest blog for me, and is now knocking on 2 months sober. (Gawaaan lad!)
Bad as it sounds for an alcoholic to be motivated by more alcohol, it may not necessarily be that bad a thing. If that promise that you’ve made yourself, that one day you’ll enjoy a drink again, is enough to keep you on the straight and narrow for the majority of your remaining years – then surely that’s a good thing? And then, when you reach your twilight years, 30 or 40 years of sobriety under your belt, are you reeeeally likely to be interested in going back to the booze? Chances are at that point you’ll only be interested in Werthers Originals and adult nappies. Possibly the odd wheezy half-arsed wank over classic episodes of The Golden Girls.
I have no conclusion here, rather I just wanted to put my rambling, hare-brained thoughts around this topic down into something loosely resembling coherence.
In terms of my own motivation – I can’t deny that the thought of one day, as an old man, being able to sit and drink some ice cold beers whilst listening to my favourite albums from my youth does sound very cool, if not a little overly-romanticised – I’d like to think though that life will throw me some more meaningful aspirations than just beer. Living an entire lifetime just so that you can one day sit and get drunk does sound a bit sad, but then again – that’s probably addiction well summed up. Sad.
If and when we do reach those twilight years, the idea of going back to drink may not turn out to be quite be the revelation we’d hoped it would be, either because we’ve genuinely stopped caring about getting blasted, or maybe even because we’re fiercely proud of the sobriety we’ve achieved. Whatever the reason, fear not brave warriors. All will not be lost. We won’t have reached the finishing line in vain.
There’s always pizza and The Golden Girls.