Why I do not Drink

The Lizard in the Wall

I had dropped a friend off at an appointment and agreed to wait until they were finished. It was going to take a bit of time so I went for a short stroll. I’m not one to walk fast unless it is for exercise. If there is a destination in mind then I will get there eventually but not at speed.

As I walked, a young woman passed by in the opposite direction. She wore the customary earbuds that have become a staple in any outing these days. I don’t understand why the sounds of the natural world need to be replaced or drowned out. I enjoy music as much as anyone but don’t believe it needs to be a constant companion. There are songs all around us if we only take the time to listen. She smiled as she passed, tickling my male ego. I silently chastised myself and carried on.

A young hipster clattered down the street on his skateboard, a cup of Starbucks coffee in his hand that splashed its contents out a few drops at a time as he pumped his leg to keep his speed up to optimum. He was talking to someone on his phone as he rode by, exhibiting the ultimate in cool persona. Secretly I wished he would fall, causing no harm of course, perhaps just a stumble awkward enough to generate embarrassment and loss of chill. I was never capable of riding a skateboard and resent those with the ability to do so, especially with coffee and phone in hand. Alas, he rode on competently conversing at volume enough to compensate for his rattling wheels. Whatever he had to say was of no interest to me but I was included nonetheless.

A squirrel darted deftly across the street, skillfully avoiding traffic to disappear into an overgrown hedge. Several crows sharply expressed their disappointment that the squirrel survived, denying them of a roadside snack while a dog barked on the other side of the hedge, obviously surprised by the emerging squirrel.

I paused for a moment when my eye caught an out of place addition to the stone wall beside me. I stopped to inspect the anomaly more closely and found to my surprise a lizard perched on one of the more prominent stones. This was truly a rare find as we have only two species of lizards in the environment here and neither are known to inhabit stone walls. At second glance it became clear that this was a plastic toy lizard and not a living one. It was posed in a manner that suggested surprise or defense as if it had just discovered my presence and I was a threat to its territory although in truth I believe it looked more as if it were laughing at me for my folly of having thought it was a living thing.

I considered why it was there and who had placed it in such a manner. It did not appear to be simply a lost or abandoned plaything or if it was, its purpose had been deliberately altered. Someone had placed it there for their own amusement in the amusement of others who would discover it there in the future. In my case, it had served its intended destiny well. I silently thanked the person who had placed it there and provided me the opportunity of discovery and contemplation. An unordinary thing in an otherwise ordinary day.

As I continued on my aimless journey it occurred to me that were I in a bar or drinking elsewhere or at home nursing a hangover or even under the influence of having consumed a drink or two, I would have missed what I had just witnessed. An attractive young woman would never have smiled at me, I would not have had the opportunity to imagine karmic retribution delivered to a skateboarding hipster nor be amazed by the death defying act of a squirrel crossing a busy street and I would never have found a plastic lizard lurking in a wall. These are not insignificant things. They are the stuff of life and living too easily ignored, forgotten, dismissed or neglected.

This is why I do not drink. Will you join me?

More by this Author :

I am Whole Again

The Conversation in my Head

Why do we Fear Sobriety?

The Edge

What’s in a Name

This post is by Rob Morton , the self published author of Stuff I Wrote

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Last Day One

I drink because I’m happy. I drink because I’m sad, lonely, angry or to reward myself for being sober for a week.

I drink because I want to. I drink when I don’t want to. I drink for no reason and any reason. I drink today because I drank yesterday and want to feel better. But I won’t. I drink alone sneaking bottles into my house so my neighbours won’t see and slip the empties out in the trash for fear the recycling centre staff think I’m a drunk.

I drink because I feel helpless and weak. I don’t drink because I feel helpless and weak.

There’s the irony in it. I drink to feel better but don’t. I drink to escape but remain a prisoner. I drink in celebration and create a tragedy. I revel at night and wallow in the morning.

It’s hard to believe or comprehend. At times, impossible to deny. Painful to live with but less so to be without.

I am bruised and tired. I don’t need that kind of hurt anymore. Today I will try just a bit harder. Today I will take one step towards healing. When today comes to an end I will have a yesterday behind me and a new day ahead.


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