I am This Bottle’s Bitch

by Eve Livingston

By now I’m guessing the cat is out of the bag and it is becoming increasingly obvious that often I find myself thinking about some of the darker sides of the human psyche, especially in the wee hours of the night.  By dark I mean those aspects of humanness resulting in suffering, struggle, turmoil, angst.

deaths doorNot infrequently, this suffering is a result of being in the wrong place at the wrong time.  Or not knowing whether in fact this is predominantly the case.

Sometimes it is being born in the wrong place at the wrong time, and/or to the wrong people.  Other times it is self-imposed.  Often it is a feedback-looping combination of the two.  Call it a psyche-alchemical reaction.  Potentiation.  A perfect storm.

Not that people typically know to what degree their suffering is self-imposed.  Sometimes they are only partially aware of it.  Sometimes they are not aware of it at all.  Other times they are quite completely aware and yet feel powerless to do anything to change it.  They feel that way.  Sometimes, even when they feel that way, occasionally people know, somewhere deep inside, that in fact a choice exists to be made.

To no longer be that bottle’s bitch, one has to survive the hardest breakup imaginable.

This is a breakup from the perfect nonhuman caretaker and companion whom, when pushed a little too far, becomes a sadistic, unforgiving plague.  The worst thing about her is she somehow manages to convince you she’s the only one you can turn to for solace when you’re miserably suffering at her very own hands.  Both Dom and Sub at once, this is a soulmate so adored–and so hated–that when you leave her the romance being left behind feels enticingly, torturously and entirely unfinished.

“I am this bottle’s bitch.”

It’s a quote.  I was absolutely floored by it.

What could more clearly express the tumultuous, love-hate relationship an alcoholic has with his or her bottle, an addict has with his or her drug?

I heard this pronouncement in an episode of Intervention.  I can’t find the link to point you to it, directly, but I can tell you what it was about these words that gripped my heart and mind so.  It was said resolutely and honestly by a young man whose life was, indeed, entirely structured by self-imposed, sadomasochistic enslavement to a glassy liquid neurotoxin.

Some might argue he was victim to his own disease, and that he was powerless.  They might take umbrage with my suggestion that this enslavement was, in fact, quite a bit self-imposed.  I cannot deny I have long and thought-out opinions about addiction and its current treatment paradigms, but now is not the time to get into them.  At the moment I’m really just pointing to the commitment this young man made to his bottle…the way he signed on to being its bitch.

He was 28 years of age, and, while not romantically involved with anything warm-blooded, he was well-loved.  People were quite taken with him, even if his love affair with death terrorized those who strove to save him.   He was living with an adoring, exasperated and enabling grandfather who probably still to this day is not sure whether he kept his grandson alive or walked him down the aisle to his death.

I regret not remembering the young man’s name.  I do not want to give the impression his unhappy marriage to vodka was all that impressed me about him.  There was more.  And his story is very, very saddening.  More than saddening, it is provocative, it is disturbing.  It is frustrating.  It is tragic.  Despite all that, when I heard him describe himself as he did, I suppose my mind latched on to the poetic wisdom in his words, and there he came to be the man who was his bottle’s bitch.

He was not in a relationship of any intimacy deeper than that he experienced with his vodka.  Every person in his life was well aware that what they had to humanly offer was of little merit compared to his complex and liquid lover.  They loved him anyway.  He was not as much mean to them as simply so deeply committed to being his bottle’s ill-kept prison wife that he had little time to notice them, really.  They knew he was going to die.

They tried to save him, but sadly they were too late.  His young body paid the price of a violent affair for far too many years.  His organs succumbed to accumulated, acrid deterioration.  Deterioration resulting from love gone wrong, and hate safely bound in a singularly destructive bottle.

This is not a finished look at this difficult and complicated topic.  I suspect in time you will hear me circle back around to marriages such as the one I am describing here.  There is much more to it than meets the eye.

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