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Angel of the Darker Drink

By Maggie Turner

November 8, 1999

Angel of the Darker Drink

9:00 a.m. I have been thinking about "drinking" lately. For me the word "drinking" is laden with meaning. It tugs and pulls ruthlessly at the unconscious threads of dread and romance in my psyche.

On an intellectual level "drinking" is something for which I hold a deep distrust and certain disdain. As an activity it is so often indulged to excess that it disrupts and destroys many lives. To the many who are cursed with alcoholism it is much more than a beverage or social ritual. To the many that love or live with an alcoholic it is the serpent in the garden.

On another level that I cannot identify in English, "drinking" holds an allure and fascination with a powerful grip. It holds a promise far more compelling than mere relief from pain. "Drinking" mediates the rigid and damning element of cultural conventions. In providing the "drinker" with an overt activity that defies propriety, "drinking" allows the individual to control where, when and how societal disapproval will manifest. If one must be damned, let it be on his/her own terms. In our culture relatively few have access to "success", in economic and social terms. Yet popular belief has it that it is attainable to the deserving. It is not surprising that mechanisms have emerged to mediate the resulting imbalance for the majority.

"Drinking" is often associated with passion and creativity. Many fine artists, composers and writers are known to use alcohol to excess. "Drinking" does, I find, paint the world with a rosy glow. The harsh edges are softened; emotions flow more freely, the mind wanders unrestricted. This has appeal and perhaps in itself is an experience that can enhance life. Reality can never live up to the view created by the physical enhancement provided by alcohol. We have to live in reality or risk destruction. As disappointing as it is, the world can never live up to our visions or we to the visions of the world.

"Drinking" holds great appeal for me, but to indulge myself would lead to certain destruction. My psyche unleashed presents not only the unfettered joy of exploration and expression. My psyche holds a river of despair so treacherous that it's power must be respected. I would not unleash this upon myself. "Drinking" would allow the powerful forces of my psyche to wage war without regard for personal survival.

I am afraid to "drink". I respect my fears and only occasionally take alcohol, as a special event.


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