She’s an elderly woman with one foot in the grave, the other in the saloon. Regularly in and out of our substance abuse ward, her story goes to show that some cautionary tales, no matter how horrifying, are simply not terribly effective to an accomplished addict. This is the story of the drunk.
|Figure 2.1 - A charming photograph showing former ____ ______ Mental Hospital staff performing a lobotomy.|
The woman and the other two men at the bar that particular night were certified drunks, and drunks amongst drunks. There are the open mic amateur night drinkers, there are the weekend warriors, and there are those sad souls in the trenches drinking alone on any given Tuesday night. And then there are the drunks. These are the addicts who take their addiction and self destruction to nearly poetic levels. And this woman and the two men were all drunks.
The bane of any addict is the necessary acquisition of more of the addictive substance. This is the cross to carry for any addict – and for a drunk that means never-ending trips to gas stations for beer, to liquor stores for booze. And the sizeable amount of money this eventually requires has driven otherwise reasonable men and women to humiliation through canned heat, mouthwash, rubbing alcohol, etc.
They call them the jitterbugs, the DTs, the creepy crawlies, the pink elephants. This is the second cross to carry for the addict – withdrawal. Alcohol withdrawal is the worst drug withdrawal, and the only withdrawal which can actually kill the addict. And our drunks were out of their addictive substance, and out of money and on the cusp of the throes of withdrawal.
Enter the stranger, maybe a little on the lanky side but handsome. A tall man in a cowboy hat, a cowboy with a charming manner and more than enough money to spare for a round of beers, two rounds of beer. And another round of beer and shots of whiskey for good measure. As the beer and whiskey flowed and delight and delirium overtook the woman, she was more than happy to take up the cowboy on his invitation to dance. And they danced. Several songs, each faster and more uptempo than the last. Another few beers and another few shots and more dancing, so fast and dizzying that she felt she may nearly collapse.
And then the joy of alcoholic stupor gave way to something quite disturbing as she noticed the stranger did not possess feet, but hooves. This, of course, is the point at which she had her moment of clarity, abandoned the party and promised to never touch a drop again. Her friends were not quite so fortunate. Joining the cowboy for a trip down 16 to Rodeo Clown Liquor, they were killed in a vehicle head-on collision. Two mangled corpses were pulled from the wreckage but the cowboy’s body was never found, and he was never seen again.
|Figure 2.2 - A quaint inset from a larger vintage color magazine advertisement for a long defunct local liquor store, Rodeo Clown Liquor|
And our heroine stayed true to her word, and stayed sober? No. She is still a drunk, and drinks daily to this day. From a long line of drinkers, she’s said to prefer a certain variety of Appalachian moonshine that’ll make you howl at the moon. As for the effectiveness of this cautionary tale? I’ve already killed a six pack of beer from MONDO-Mart as I’ve typed it.
|Figure 2.3 - A residence hall of ____ ______ Mental Hospital. Always room for one more...|