The Hangover

images-3I am suffering from a bad hangover. A very bad hangover. Not even a shower seemed to help. It feels as if I have been stuffed with bags of sand and implanted with a metallic heart. My chest hurts. I am having difficulty breathing because of a pain in my back. Walking a straight line takes effort and my gut feels like it contains the remnants of a battlefield. All last night I wrestled with sleep trying to pin it down. Instead, I kept awakening with irregular heartbeats, pulsating ears and a parched mouth. I was nauseous and had images in my head of funerals and jumping over a cliff. A pin or nail seemed to be sticking out the side of my left temple- causing me an unbearable ache . My wife, snoring away by my side, was at peace in the womb of a deep inebriated sleep. I on the other hand was struggling….paying for my night of fun.

Even though I did not drink that much last night (three margaritas and two beers) I should understand by now that if I have more than one drink- all the ills of human kind are going to shower down upon me. One would think that after years of drinking and then spending nights and days in a kind of physical hell (that over the years has decreased the strength of my body and mind)- that I would sensibly abstain from having more than one glass of booze at a time. I have tried to invoke the powers of a healthy life style. I went on long meditation retreats and once did not speak for six weeks. I entertained a yoga practice everyday and ate raw food only- but still I needed a drink. This is no ordinary relationship.

I love drinking…and booze has been in my life for as long as I can remember. When I drink I am no longer stuck in human bondage. I am set free on a terrain that looks and feels like joy. My spirit is elevated beyond the constricting weight of my body and the unbearable lightness of my being puts a smile on my face. Even though I meditate for an hour a day nothing can come close to the power of now, the absence of mind that I feel after having a glass of wine or a beer. I never get so drunk as to lose control but I drink just enough to grow a pair of wings and fly away.

Since the day I was born I have grappled with a fear and trembling that has become more chronic as I age. This anxiety risks keeping me trapped in the safety zone of my home. Heavy thoughts that swim around in my head without traffic control are the substance of my disease. I work hard to disempower my thoughts and keep them from spilling over into the life I live- but at times it feels like a daunting task. Consuming alcohol is not only medicine for my spirit but it quiets down the negative temper of my feelings of impeding doom. For a brief period, while intoxicated I can be liberated from the insurrection that my thoughts wage against my heart, daily. The price I pay for indulging in booze is nothing compared with those few hours I spend in my bliss….or so I thought.

All morning I have been filling up on supplements. In the middle of the night I drank chlorophyl and ate sprouts for nutrients that I hoped would quiet my heart. I have read about how alcohol consumption depletes the body of vital minerals and vitamins causing sleep disturbances, irregular heart beats and a slew of other frightening symptoms. I was supposed to show up for my third “Meet The Author” day but instead I have chosen to stay in. When I am done writing this entry I will return to bed where I hope to find a few hours of sleep beneath my sheets. I can not help but to pity myself a bit and wish that this was not the fate that was upon me. I wish I could drink alcohol like so many others I know who consume it every day and have deep, beautiful sleep filled with dreams and a regular heartbeat. For years I was one of these lucky few consuming alcohol, coffee, cigarettes with no tormenting health effects. Then one day everything changed. Now that I have reached a certain age the only one of those vices that I have left is my booze- but I am afraid that soon this will have to go as well……and I will be left having to deal with myself.

Last night my wife and I bought an expensive bottle of tequila to keep around the house. For guests and fun. My plan was to put some of it in a flask and keep it upon my body at all times. I would douse the anxiety or negative thoughts whenever they arose like a man putting out a fire in his own head. I also planned on drinking the tequilla liberally in small amounts every day of the week….a night cap if you will. But now I am having to come to terms with one of the most difficult truths a man can face.

My body seems to no longer be as strong as my desire. My head is still foggy and my fingers hurt. I could swear I saw blood in my stools as I spent hours sitting on the toilet last night. The taste of alcohol is still in my throat. It all seems too extreme of a price to pay for a few hours of happiness. I want to say that I am going to hop on the wagon and never drink again. That I am done with that stage of my life. I want to say that I have learned my lesson and might be getting a bit too close to the edge. But I know that this is not true. I want to be able to drink, enjoy myself and then sleep like a baby… and I am determined to find a way. Even though I am going to get on the wagon and stay on board for a few days- I know that as soon as this hangover is gone and I have had a few day of rest- I will ask the driver to let me off so that I can enjoy a bottle of wine with my wife at dinner. For now I am going back to bed.


  1. Ain’t that the truth – and only 5 drinks you poor thing. This is a brilliant description Randall and quite poetic in parts, but I don’t think you are telling us the whole truth. You either drank really quickly, were mixing alcohol with other drugs/medication or have a deteriorating liver. Life is so unfair isn’t it?

  2. Yes…no one ever told me life would be fair as much as I want it to be. The irony is that I drank really good quality booze, fresh lime juice, good Belgian beer, etc…. I don’t think I drank quickly (although two margaritas I did drink rather fast since they were sooo good)- I spread my drinking out over the course of three- four hours. No other drugs or meds for me since I have no other vices other than booze, women and reading- as much as I wish I had more. I have thought about the weakening liver- makes me kinda shake at the knees to think that this could be the case (since I have been drinking for over twenty years). Thanks for your once again insightful comment. May have to stay on wagon a bit longer than I initially thought……

  3. I say through out the tequilla. It sounded just a little to much like the woman or man who is buying the bottle every few days just in case someone came over.

    Love Renee xoxox

  4. i wish you all the best randall in one day beating this. it can be done. please get the blood in your stool thing checked out asap, even if you THINK you may have seen it.

  5. I know the feeling Randall. I used to knock back gallons of grog, wake up the next day, have a shower and be right as rain. These days I get drunk after four or five beers, eat, fall asleep and feel miserable all of the next day. It is my body getting worse at processing the toxins. Makes me a much cheaper drunk though, which is good.

  6. Thank you all for these delectable comments. I must say I am two days away from that evening of drink. I spent today in a kind of meditation workshop then climbed to the top of a mountain and sat around staring at the sky. Just coming to terms with the fact that my body may need more help from me than I think rather than another drink (at least this week).

    Paul- I am glad I am not the only one experiencing this shift. I am at least happy to hear that you are able to sleep. But hell your Australian- you should have a naturally higher tolerance than us Californians:)

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