Alcoholism
The virtue of alcohol (short musings and various thoughts)
Category: Alcoholism
Tags: alcohol virtue pain chronic relaxation fatigue stress psychology medication


In a corner of my livingroom, mixed in with my records and stereo-equipment, I have a small, rugged and steadily growing collection of various whiskeys. Straight across from this eclectic collection of ambrosia, there is a small bar containing wine and various spirits, mainly strange german herbal concoctions, meant to aid in digestion and in general provide good health and longevity. I don`t know. I just love the taste of it. Go down four flights of stairs from our apartment, and you will encounter the "winecellar" a small rectangular room containing my homebrewed beers and wines, as well as a more serious collection of storebought wine, each bottle saved for a special occassion. Of course, as always is the case with special occassions, the special occassion is whenever I damn well please.

These collections of heavenly nectar are growing at a fairly steady pace, ever since I traded partying for relaxation and quantity for quality.

Suffering severe pain and fatigue for about eighteen months left me in a bit of a odd state of mind. Being diagnosed with a severe chronic pain/chronic fatigue disorder, after a lengthy run to-and-from between doctors and psychologists, experts of medication and specialists in psychotherapy, psychobabble and strange, ethereal diagnosis that meant little and helped me less, (especially considering the farcical nature of my various psychiatric diagnosis all proven to be wrong, then replaced by another, yet another, yet another) left me in an even stranger state of mind. Of course, my partying days were over. Granted the partying had been declining rapidly over several years anyways, and given my age I was already dangling from the precipice of this shit ain`t worth the hassle anymore. There are limits, of course, to the amount of abuse a body can withstand. Getting drunk once a week is not exactly abuse, as such, but add the chronic pain and fatigue to the steady decline of my body due to age, and it should become clearer than adamantium-armour that the hangovers would just be getting worse and worse. The morning after, previously treated as a lazy-day, became unbearably painful and clearly the shit really weren`t worth the hassle.

I do love alcohol still, however. The difference now, as opposed to the years of hearty, hardy partying lies in the amount consumed, as well as the reasons for consumption. Where before the desire for intoxication shone, shines now the desire for relaxation and reward.
Of course, it sounds ridiculously selfcongratulatory to reward oneself at the end of the day for doing nothing but accomplishing simple tasks that everyone does everyday without even thinking twice about it. And that is quite simply because it is incredibly selfcongratulatory.

With my levels of pain and fatigue and it is incredibly severe comes the inevitable result: ordinary tasks, however mundane, drains me of energy. With the lack of energy comes the pain, and vice versa. A vicious circle, difficult to break, brought on by years upon years of a personal lack of ability to cope with stress. Piling up tasks, piling up to much of everything and everyone and leaving precious little time for myself to find that center of calm that I desperately needed. The end result of living like this, hiding it as well as I could for reasons unclear to me, for several years were two years where I averaged three hours of sleep a night, and spending my waking hours in a state of near-constant panic. Of course, this could only lead to the inevitable collapse of my body both my mind and my body turning against me in a great wave, crushing me to the floor of the ocean and squeezing all the air and all the life out of my body.
These two years marked the end of atleast fifteen years struggling with severe psychological distress, for which I received precious little help and support instead being severely medicated and left in a odd pseudo-comatose state for several years. That`s healthcare for you. Don`t go to the root of the problem. Don`t heal. Subdue. Bury it under mountains of drugs. Drown the sorrows in pharmaceutical rain. If you can`t see the issue, it ain`t there.

This leaves me in the state I am in, a point in my life where I find it necessary and of course helpful to celebrate myself for achieving mundane tasks: cleaning, laundry, caring for my dogs, and so-and-such.
One single drink, or a bottle of wine shared with my darling wife at the end of the day. Of course, it`s not just the alcohol that causes the relaxation. The alcohol is just another factor in sometghin that is almost ritual in nature: the sound of the cork opening, the pouring of drink into the glass, sitting down and feeling some semblance of calm washing over me and then having a sip and realizing that, even through the layers of fatigue and pain, through the anguish and the torture of my aching joints and muscles, I made it through another day, I did it, and life is, for what it is and despite it all, still pretty damned good.


- Kim Solvang Andersen, Sandnes, 2018

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