A friend and I exchanged woes by email this morning. Mine were minor complaints compared to hers. Her job was getting her down. I sympathized, remembering being in a workplace where nothing seemed to go right. Wherever people gather, pain lurks in the crowd. According to Colin McAdam, “…our lives are a pageant of tiny tyrannies, of people real or imagined forcing their will on us.” (The OA–On the pleasure and perils of whisky,” by Colin McAdam, Harper’s, 2/14, pg.67.)
McAdam’s comment was his way of explaining the virtue of hard liquor. For him, drinking is “a sort of suspension – not oblivion or escape, but a moment where my needs are met…” (Ibid. pg 68) Those needs were private spaces where, even in the midst of other people, he could make an inner journey of self. (See blog 2/5/14 on a related subject)
I know what McAdam means. I once drank myself into a near stupor. It was an experiment. I was among trusted friends. To be honest, I took little pleasure in the experience and never felt a desire to repeat it. What I remember about the event was my extended monologue to Lucifer on the question of whether or not he was capable of free will.
Most people will admit they take a drink to relax, to shed inhibitions or to escape the “tiny tyrannies” of daily existence. But it can do more. It can expand our thoughts into places usually reserved for the unconscious. Call it a whisky state of mind: a state where revelation is possible. Many artists have resorted to liquor for this sort of stimulation. The elegant Sylvia Plath was one of them:
I began to think vodka was my drink at last. It didn’t taste like anything, but it went straight down into my stomach like a sword swallowers’ sword and made me feel powerful and godlike.
― Sylvia Plath, The Bell Jar
Of course, Sylvia Plath killed herself; but that had more to do with life than drink.
(Courtesy of www.christianforums.com)