The following stories told in the first person were recorded on a cassette tape recorder on the evening of February 11th, 2015 in a local bar. The speaker was a man of medium build, sitting alone, telling these tales to whomever happened to be nearest. The author received permission from both the speaker and the establishment’s owner to record these sagas. The identity of the speaker has never been revealed nor authenticated, and inquiries into such a matter remain inconsequential. As such, they will not be made here.

 

I woke up, and the hangover hit me in the head like a freight truck. I stumbled to the bathroom, and caught a glimpse of a neandrethal looking creature staring back at me. I was drooling stupid, and I knew there was no chance of me getting to my finals in the state that I was in.

 

So I started to drink. That was the only logical choice, because otherwise I would have only be able to curl up into a ball for the rest of the day and cry myself to sleep over my failed final exams. That wasn’t gonna happen. No sir, not if I had anything to do about it.

 

I figured I needed to drink enough to overcome the hangover, and then a good deal more to get in the zone for finals. Looking back now, I see that my thinking was even more fucked up hung over than it was drunk. But anyways, I started mixing vodka with whatever pop my roommate left in the fridge, usually diet cherry coke, whatever the fuck that is.

 

I didn’t use the pop for the flavor. I used it to speed up the rate at which I could drink. And diet fucking cherry coke worked just as well as anything would have in that particular situation.

 

I drank one glass, two, three, and four. I figured that I should have one more before I left, to get myself fully prepared to go for the next eight hours without a drink. Man, that was a real shot in the nuts now that I think about it.

 

I’m really ashamed of this next part, and I hope you fine young gentlemen and lady will not judge me too harshly from this story. I hopped in the car, and started driving my drunk ass the 45 minutes East to my college campus, over there on ******** and ********, right over by ***. You know?

 

Yea I was in no condition to be driving, and I knew it. But I did it, followed all the traffic laws and speed limits and made it there. I knew that I had been wasting a lot of time that morning making drinks and trying to find that episode from this show, oh fuck what is the name of it? Well anyways, I was super late by the time that I got there, and I started walking as fast as my drunk legs would carry me.

 

Not a minute into my trek, I had to pee. And the type of pee after you’ve been drinking and drinking for hours and haven’t visited the bathroom the whole time, and then all at once your bladder says “Fuck this!!” you know what I mean?

 

So it was still pretty dark out, and I just whipped out my . . . sorry ma’am, I just started peeing right there in the wide open parking lot. It was early enough that nobody else was there, as far as I was able to see that is.

 

Some poor bastard was probably walking through the parking lot at the same time as me, and oh jesus what a sight I must have been.

 

The drunkest son of a bitch in the world on a Tuesday morning at 6 a.m. whipping out his . . . sorry ma’am . . . urinating in the middle of a parking lot on a college campus.

 

Jesus fucking christ.

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The following stories told in the first person were recorded on a cassette tape recorder on the evening of February 11th, 2015 in a local bar. The speaker was a man of medium build, sitting alone, telling these tales to whomever happened to be nearest. The author received permission from both the speaker and the establishment’s owner to record these sagas. The identity of the speaker has never been revealed nor authenticated, and inquiries into such a matter remain inconsequential. As such, they will not be made here.

 

It was finals week, and I was drinking. And drinking is putting it mildly. I was knocking myself unconscious every night of the week, and then recovering the entire next day. I would wake up and get hit in the face by the looming hang over. I would stumble to the kitchen and chug at least two bottles of water, in the hopes that this would ease the suffering. It never did.

 

I would then grab two ibuprofen from the medicine cupboard, and take them along with my morning medication. I was taking medicine for depression, but I don’t know why because I kept drinking away the benefits every day.

 

I’ve gotten off track. It was finals week, and I had been drinking heavily every night. But it wasn’t a problem at that point, in my mind at least, because it was only at night and nobody could tell what I was doing.

 

So I started drinking in the morning too. I figured I would drink a little, go to class, and by the time the booze was wearing off I would come home and go to sleep. Probably drink some more first, of course, but then pass out. It seemed like a perfect plan, because after all I did not care one bit about how I did on those finals. I was fully expecting to fail the classes anyway, so drinking before having to sit through them seemed like a great plan.

 

Big fucking mistake.

 

I just kept thinking to myself that I would get all my work done that night, I would have a few drinks and it would be a good time. But after I had a few drinks, I really did not want to do any of my work. And that was fine because I was drinking and I felt pretty good.

 

Until the next morning.

It finally clicked. She was finally able to understand her life, and what had led her down the path that she was on right now.

 

She had. She had done it all by herself, made all the decisions and called all the shots. She had been angry at other people, pointing to their mistreatment as the source of all of her woes. She would say to herself, “They just don’t understand. They don’t care about me or what I’m going through. They only care about themselves.” That was probably the biggest irony of it all. She was the one who only cared about herself, and completely disregarded the feelings of those around her.

 

Her problem wasn’t that she abused drugs. It was that she abused those who loved her. She chose the chemicals over the people that did everything in their power to help her. And it wasn’t a one time thing. It was a recurring decision that she had made. Time and time again it would come down to a simple choice between her loved ones or the drugs. And time and time again she had devasted her loved ones by choosing the drugs.

 

It’s like a spouse that continually cheats on their partner, but blames their cheating on the spouse. They wouldn’t have to cheat if they were listened too, if their problems were taken into consideration once in a while. How many times would someone allow their partner to cheat on them before finally calling it quits. Before giving up on them once and for all, because they made their priorities extremely clear.

 

It was a lot for her to take in all at once. She had thought these same things before, but when she finally began to comprehend how much damage she had done, before now she had just stopped admitting her faults and reverted back to blaming others.

 

In all actually, the actions of others may have played a part, they may have played a very big part. And eventually those actions may have to be addressed. But she was the one that was preventing that from happening. How could she expect everyone else to look at themselves and change their behavior if she wasn’t willing to do the same for them. And her behavior so outweighed theirs that it was almost comical that she had pointed it out in the first place.

 

She began to rethink some of the issues that she had brought up about them in the past. At this point she started to realize that she had been lying to herself just as much as she had been lying to everyone else. She had to keep telling herself that everybody else was doing things wrong in order to live with her own decisions day to day.

 

When a person realizes that they can no longer trust their own judgement, it shatters any sense of self that they had. She was a broken person. She did not feel whole anymore. But she knew the truth now, and that comforted her. She felt relief that she never had to hide any of this again. Like when a best friend confides in you that they have done something to betray your trust. Anger is the initial response, but as that fades away relief becomes the primary feeling because now you know that they care enough about you that they had to come clean.

 

She knew that she had a lot of making up to do. She wasn’t even sure if all the making up would be possible. Would it be feasible for her to mend all of the fences and repair all of the bridges that she had destroyed in her crusade for intoxication? Nobody could possibly know the answer to that question.

 

She knew that if somebody had treated her the way that she had treated so many of her close friends and family that she would have been long gone by now. That made her feel exponentially more guilt, but also intense love and a desire to return that devotion that they had so selflessly shown her.

 

She knew what needed to be done. She had to stay truthful.

 

She had to be honest.

He thought a lot about how much he wanted to be free to do whatever he wanted. He didn’t want to live by other people’s rules anymore. They were always telling him what to do, what not to do. Why did they care so much? Why couldn’t they mind their own business? He wasn’t hurting them at all. They just kept him from doing things because they didn’t want him to have any fun.

 

They didn’t want him to feel good. That was all it was. He wanted to do what made him feel good. Is that too much for anybody to ask? Hedonism is natural to the human being. Seeking out what is pleasurable is what people do normally. It’s how humans evolved, isn’t it? That is how the human species has flourished, by seeking out what is pleasurable and avoiding that which is painful. It’s biology.

 

And more to the point it was his life!!! He could do with his own life whatever he wanted. They were just keeping him from being his own person.

 

But he knew that that wasn’t the case at all. He knew that he wasn’t striving to be free. He was striving to be enslaved. Ever ruled by his addictions, catering to their needs for the rest of his life. It is one of the greatest ironies of life in the modern age that things which bring the greatest physical pleasure most assuredly cause the most pain in it’s aftermath.

 

And this was a pain that he was very familiar with. He knew when to expect, how long he had to wait. And yet he kept going back for more. Always coming back for more. That doesn’t sound like freedom. That doesn’t look like freedom. That looks like a man that has been beaten and imprisoned by his own doing, serving a chemical master whose bark is worse than his bite.

 

Those he said were trying to keep him from freedom were actually trying to save him from servitude. He twisted their actions to fit into his scheme of things. He had to make an excuse for his behavior, because otherwise he had to admit that he was a bit insane. Not by any fault of his own, but by the fault of the chemicals that he used to poison himself.

 

They were the rationale ones and he knew it. But he couldn’t admit it to himself without admitting that he had to let the chemcials go. He had to forever banish them from his life, never to return. For he knew that one single wiff of their scent would send him tumbling back down the rabbit hole.

 

That wasn’t freedom.

Being alone

He sat at the edge of his couch. He flicked through the channels of the television, not really paying attention to what was on each of them, just flicking until he decided to stop. He had no idea what he stopped on, but he didn’t really care to begin with. He just wanted to have something on in the background.

 

He set the remote down on the floor next to him. He picked up his notebook and pen and put them on his leg. What was he going to write about? He didn’t know. He didn’t even know if he really wanted to write anything. But he knew that if he was writing something he wasn’t taking something.

 

He wanted too. He really wanted too. It would make whatever was on the television so much more interesting. It would make life in general so much more interesting. But he knew he didn’t need interesting. He needed boring and mundane.

 

That was what he had been running away from for so long. Boredom. He didn’t know how to be bored. He didn’t know how to entertain himself when nothing else was. He couldn’t find things to do by himself other than taking pills or drinking. And that was the entire problem right there. He hadn’t ever learned how to be bored.

 

He always had to feel good. He had never entertained the idea that he should be sad or he should be angry or he should be bored. That was impossible. Being sad or angry or bored felt so bad. He did not like any of those things, and because he didn’t enjoy them he shouldn’t have to experience them ever.

 

At last he had finally found the cause of all his problems. He knew that it wasn’t the addictive quality of those substances. Millions of people all over the world used the same substances and many of them had no problems. It wasn’t other people not understanding his suffering or not listening to him. And probably most importantly it wasn’t part of another disease of some sort. A disease that needed to be treated and suppressed with drugs.

 

It was the inability to be alone. To be by himself. He was scared of himself. He didn’t know what he would say to himself, how he would entertain himself. But that was only because he had never practiced it. He had never invited loneliness into himself to see how he would deal with it. He raced away from it in search of a cure. But loneliness isn’t something that needs to be solved or cured. It just needs to be felt. And that’s it.

 

That’s it.