While living my best life I attended Eden’s 30th birthday. The event was at Mosman Hotel in a small outside room upstairs. It was a hot Stormy day, the kind of weather that sets the mood, that promises drama and excitement. It’s the kind of weather that lacklustre cinematographers use to tell the story when they lack the artistic ability to convey a nuanced mood. But yeah, it was promising weather for a promising night. I was ready to get wrecked and the weather had my back. I generally have a pretty solid tolerance for alcohol. I would back myself in a drinking competition against anyone but the most hardened of alcoholic miners. Tonight, I was going to test the tensile strength of my liver and I was going to have a blast doing it. I was enjoying myself catching up with my old Uni crew. It had been three months since we were all together, the last time was Charles 30th. It was the year of 30th birthdays, the year of everyone saying goodbye to their twenties and most of them stepping up to the ‘I’m an adult for real and proper now’. Obviously, I didn’t do any stepping up, but the people around me were starting to make those life choices. I had polished off my 3 bottles of white wine and decided to switch to vodka, as you do in the second hour of drinking. I decided to be a reformed former smoker for the night as well because it seemed like a good idea at the time. By this stage I was visibly drunk, but there is never any stopping Dionysus. Dionysus doesn’t want your speed zones, Dionysus doesn’t see your stop signs, Dionysus wants to have fun, and fun happens at pedal to the metal. The thing that stopped me, my metaphorical wall if you will, was a cigarette. After smoke bombing myself for hours, it was a cigarette that tipped me over the edge. The room started to spin uncontrollably. It had been a while since I had drunk that much and smoke bombed myself that hard, and the consequences of my day hit me all at once. Like Sally Pearson, my system just gave up on me, lay down and cried, but unlike an Olympic rowing team there was no-one left to row row row my boat to shore. Like introverts everywhere I decided to do the dodgy bail, to sneak away and order an uber and hope no-one noticed. To my surprise as I exited the pub there was 4 taxis already lined up. I tried to order an uber through my phone app because it’s cheaper than a taxi but I was by this stage incapable of using my phone. It’s entirely possible I was trying to order my Uber on the back screen of my phone or maybe even on a shoe like a funky modern version of get smart. The point being it wasn’t working. I decided to take a taxi because, while expensive, it was within my current capabilities and I wanted to get home. We got about 2 kms in the taxi before I started to feel violently sick. As politely as possibly when incoherently intoxicated, I asked the driver to pull over so I could throw up. He pulled over, and I opened the door just in time to throw up. I threw up so violently that I briefly lost consciousness and came to, face down in a pile of vomit in the gutter. Half in and half out of the taxi, I languished there like an uncoordinated flamingo. I had hit my head on the gutter, torn my ear at some point, and was covered in a foul-smelling wash of blood, vomit and shame.
The taxi driver came to help me, but not wanting to compound the disgrace of my moment I shrieked at him not to come near me because I didn’t want to befoul his lovely uniform with my fluids. Yes, from my place in the gutter I shrieked about befoulment and body fluids. I slowly eased myself into the gutter and paid the driver and told him to abandon me where I fell. He was a kind man, and tried to insist I get back in the car so I could get home, but I waved him aside, and insisted he abandon me to my shameful fate. As he drove away, the sky opened up with an almighty clap of judgment. The rain belted down with the ferocity of a vengeful god. I sat there in the gutter, bleeding from a head wound, while the rain washed away the stench of my vomit with the strength of a power-hose turned upon a piece of fine bone china. I was feeling somewhat fragile, and when the gutter filled with rain and I was briefly washed a moderate distance through the gutter. The only thing moderate about my story was the distance I was washed through a gutter in the middle of a biblical storm. I was convinced that God was an angry God, he was going to smite me, and I was going to die here in the gutter. The coroner would be unable to establish cause of death, alcohol poisoning, choking on my own vomit, drowning in flood waters or being suffocated by the shitty nappy floating towards me were all likely options. I was going to die in all of the worst ways possible because my body had betrayed me, and my shame was going to announce itself with maximum unsubtlety. Here in this gutter lies Dionysus Roberto Theseus, he died from alcohol poisoning, with shit in his mouth, and not even a class 1 storm could wash the shame away. Obviously, it didn’t end like that, I’m here and I’m writing this story, but at the time I was sure that that was going to be my legacy. Elvis Presley was the king, he died on the shitter and that became his legacy. What hope was there for me, a humble homo who had not yet had my ‘jailhouse rock’. Determined not be the pervert found dead in the gutter with a nappy in his mouth after the storm broke, I summoned up all of my strength and called Emma. I gave vague directions to the location where I had fallen from the taxi, and explained I had travelled a brief distance through the gutters and luckily, she managed to locate me before I was washed down a storm drain. She took me home. I don’t think I have ever felt so pathetic or ashamed. I had planned a messy night, but I had flown too close to the sun. I had never drunk injured myself before, let alone seriously faced death in such a degrading manner. It was time to give the alcohol a rest, time to see if I could face the world sober on a regular basis. I was going to try 30 days without alcohol, but an addiction specialist told me it takes 90 days to really get it out of your system and get back on track. I don’t know what the future holds, today is day 7. By the time you read this I may be free of my demons, or I may be living out my days in a rehab facility. Only time will tell.