A badge of shame

I have been drinking again. I spent the whole of last week drinking every night and morning and here I am, on a Monday morning, ashamed of myself, hungover and lost. I try to drink in moderation, but there is no moderation in alcohol abuse. Two tests on alcohol dependency marked me as a “High risk alcoholic”, that is to say that I am at a high risk for alcohol abuse. The one thing that I had dreaded and loathed all through my youth, that of being is a drunkard, is what I am on the road to becoming. The guilt and the shame are a burden that I carry on my back. The urge to drink is so strong, it is like being thirsty all the time, the frustration of in-satiation is so intense that I can feel it claw at my heart and compress my lungs.

I confessed to my old man that I am having drinking problems. My closest friends know it and my father does too. They want me to cut down and abstain, but here, in the cold evenings where my disillusionment weighs down on me and ties my feet, I feel a temporary delusional release in alcohol. It makes nothing better, it solves nothing, it clears nothing, but it is a poison that I willingly take because deep down, I am my worst enemy.

A haggard face looks back at me when I look in the mirror. I forget what I look like, I have forgotten what genuine happiness feels like. Academic brilliance is a curse, and even as I sit coughing, dizzy and depressed at a desk, writing answers to complicated questions with ease, I feel nothing. I scored 4/6 in my Physics test last week, and this week, 5/6, while sitting hungover and deeply ashamed of myself. My colleagues are intimidated by me, (one of them said so, she is an older woman and empathetic) and they view me as a self-contained, confident man whose age and nationality are incomprehensible.

I am sitting at a lecture now, unwillingly and feeling fatigued. Adara sits on the other end. I can’t face her as I drink. She fills a gap in my mind. She is like a ray of sunshine in the gloom in my mind. Colours return in my head when she is there, unaware that she is the only reason that my days are a little redeemable. I have a mad crush on her but it is as undesirable as my dependence on alcohol. I want to shut her off from my mind like I want to give up my whisky, but it is so difficult, so tiring and so cold. I long for rest and a voice that is not mine to soothe my shame. For now, there is only silence and a heavy rain.

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