Into the bottle we shall go

Into the Bottle and back again

After the third bottle you begin to think maybe, just maybe you have a problem. A little too much tonight you think as you stumble across the kitchen to pour yourself another neat shot of bourbon. After dragging the half empty bottle of cheap whiskey from the side you grab six shot glasses from the drying rack. You line the shots up like a pro, topping them all up perfectly to the rim and with one quick, swift gesture you down the first shot. Your far too gone by this point to feel the burning of the bourbon at the back of your throat, let alone taste it. You stand emotionless as you down each shot, almost in a rhythm. Your mind begins to drain away like the now empty bottle in your hand, more and more with each sip. “I knowws whart” you slur, slowly swaying over the sink. “A nicee glass of warta should get rid of it” you say as you reach to grab a glass from the cupboard. A simple task maybe, for the sober. You run your hands across the shelf only to knock several glasses out of the cupboard which smash around your feet. ‘You clumsy fooool’ you bark to yourself, not taking into account it might be down to the mass amount of toxin rubbish you’ve pumped yourself silly with and not just ‘clumsiness’. You finally get a glass down safely, pour yourself a glass of water and make your way back into the living room walking strait over the shards of glass. You down the water like your in a drinking contest and then proceed to wait for some kind of anti-drunkenness miracle cure but nothing comes, you’re still as drunk as a skunk sitting on your own on a Saturday night. After five minutes of waiting for the water to ‘kick in’ you decide to sod the water and grab the bottle of glens vodka off the side and slowly sink back into the retro chair you stole from next doors skip last Thursday night. You flick on the T.V to find re-runs of your favourite episode of Vicar of Dibley. You smile as you stare intently at the ten inch battered T.V you’ve renamed your luxury home cinema. You start to think about what Tina told you down The Dog this morning and wonder whether Suzanne and Seb really had an orgy with their workmates last night. You shrug to yourself as you think about what life would be like if you worked at a classy joint like them. But then again you did see Tesco’s were recruiting. "Maybe I’ll join” you grumble to yourself as you neck the rest of the bottle. It had been three years in May since you signed on and you’d never looked back. When friends or family would encourage you to ‘Get a real job!’ or to ‘Get off your ass and work for a living!’ you’d just laugh and reply in a sarcastic tone “Why, so I can be so happy like you eh?”. Most of your mates were on the dole with you anyway, most knocked up in a single parent counsel flat so you saw no reason to change, at least you weren’t popping out kids for a living.
Life hadn’t ever been easy on you. Growing up you’d always been told things would get better when you were older but they never did, they just seemed to get more complicated and stressful. Ever since your hamster committed suicide when you were ten you had been prone to ridiculous disappointments one after the other that most people refused to believe. There had been many ‘accidents’ with animals but none had affected you as much as your first pet death. Mr.fluffles was merely 3 months old when he somehow managed to stick his fluffy hamster head between the bars of his cage. At the time your mom had told you it was an accident and that Mr.fluffles had gone to hamster heaven, but really it might have been down to you feeding him jelly babies and forcing him to do tricks for your ‘Hamster circus’. Either way it was the start of a long line of suicidal pets. It was after Mr. Fluffles funeral your drinking habit began. A glass of cider and lemonade here, a can of shady bass there until soon you figured out a better way of getting the ‘real’ stuff. Your mom had won you a bear from bingo once and it was perfect for your little scheme. It had a Velcro belly to store anything you liked inside and in your case, at now age 12 it seemed perfect to hitch small bottles of vodka and gin. Soon you were stealing a bottle a time from the local co-op where you’d carefully sneak the bottle in when they weren’t looking then approach the counter to buy jelly babies and dairy milk to avoid suspicion. You started bragging to your friends about your ‘winnings’ and soon they wanted a share too. You revealed your stealing secret and pretty soon you find all your mates have got soft toys with Velcro stomachs that they carry around with them. It all seems too good to be true, but after a month and a half of this scheme you get busted by Chrissie Griffiths, your arch rival at school. She rats you out to the owner and you say goodbye to drinking for a long while. Now your mom knew, there was no more cider in the fridge or wine hidden behind the cereal boxes. Whenever you went over to the shop she came with you and even if you managed to sneak off the owners had you under complete surveillance. After a few months without your ‘door to craziness’ you got used to life without alcohol but that wasn’t for long. You never classed yourself as an alcoholic as you said you didn’t ‘need’ it, it was just fun for the moment. Alcohol to you was a porthole into freedom, you didn’t care what you did or what had happened to you. You could say things you were dying to say, do things you would never do without the drink. You were confident, funny and everything you wanted to be. As you grew older your habit heightened until at age thirty-one you gained the life of a night worker. Sleeping most days and drinking all night by yourself you had a simple, but depressing life. There had been chances to change many a time, choices you rejected with regret. At thirty-one most women you knew had begun a family, or at least had children. Sometimes you longed for children, not because of the family element but just for someone to keep you company and care for. You knew you would probably be a lousy mum but you couldn’t help but picture yourself in a nice house doing finger painting with the kids, whilst waiting for your dashing husband to come home from a hard days work. It was a dream that, as far as your were concerned, was only going to be that of a dream.
You wake up to the sound of the television humming as the channels go off air. It’s five in the morning, you walk over to the curtains to reveal the sun making its usual journey into the sky. “Everything’s so woozy” you say, as you try to keep yourself upright. You can no longer differentiate between tiredness or drunkenness, all you know is your body hates you. At this moment all you want to do is curl up in your duvet and watch pride and prejudice, washing away your depression with the hope of finding your own Mr. Darcy. You repeatedly slap your face to supposedly knock the drunkenness out of you but nothing works, you stumble upstairs slowly but carefully before catching site of a letter at the door. You hadn’t noticed it earlier on and you rush to the door to grab it. It was handwritten and you almost gasp when you see it. You rip it open and start to read. The letter was short but to the point and yet you find yourself reading it over and over. You cant believe it, astonishment overcoming you. It had been almost ten years since you had spoken to him, and yet it seemed so recent in your memory. He proposed a date to meet, his choice of words quite shy. “Can it be” you whisper to yourself, but you don’t want to get yourself worked up as you don’t want to set yourself up for another downfall. You walk over to the mirror, letter in hand and look at the now ageing woman you have become. You brush your hair back and smile, you no longer want to be this woman and you didn’t want him to see what you have become. You go into the kitchen and pour everything from wine to apple shots down the sink. It was time for a change, you become hesitant and your almost afraid of it but you want it too much to give in. You pour a large glass of water and again approach the stairs. You get to your bedroom and find yourself just lying there, thinking. You had tried to change your habit’s a few times but you always came crawling back, but this time you were desperate to change. It suddenly occurred to you you’d wasted most of your life down a bottle. This time you decided not to throw the opportunity of changing away. “No more regrets” you say and your eyes begin to drift and you slowly slip away into your new life.

Into the bottle we shall go

claire jones

Birmingham, United Kingdom

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a place many of us are sometimes.

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