Billy Sangster

Stuff out of my brain

A Drink for the Sewer Rats

Today I did something that, if I’d done it even a year or two back, I’d have considered sacrilegious to my own principles. Something that if I’d seen or heard of anyone else doing, would have outraged and saddened me to the core of my very being.

I poured twenty four cans of Tennent’s lager down the plughole of my kitchen sink.

Granted, it was out of date (I’d bought it in January when I moved to this house), but that didn’t make it seem any less weird when I did it.

I’ve been actively trying to knock the drink on the head recently, you see.

Since before it was legal for me to do so, one my main ambitions in early life was to go to the pub and get drunk. All the cool people did that. Everyone at our academy knew someone that had managed to get served in a bar and had ended up pissed, having the time of their life. Sexy girls went to bars and got served easily it seemed. Sexy girls got drunk and did sexy things with boys. Boys like me, if only I could get in the door and convince the people behind the bar that I was eighteen or over. Why hadn’t that bloody moustache grown yet?

After what seemed like an age of trying and failing, my friends and I eventually started getting served in the local hostelries and we took full advantage of that fact. Every night possible we’d spend every penny earned on the noble pursuit of drunkenness. This was our golden age.

Getting drunk opened quite a few avenues for me. Being naturally shy, I found that the confidence I gained while under the influence was the key I needed to express “the real me”, especially to the opposite sex.

So we did our fair share of getting pissed, having parties, getting shagged and dealing with the (surprisingly mild, in hindsight) hangovers.

Ah, those were the days.

Not these days, however.

When I split up with my wife, I foresaw myself, in a pit of despair, drowning in alcohol to numb the depression and loneliness. Alcohol and meaningless sex. That was how I’d deal with this latest trauma in my life. But it wasn’t to be.

The easy, meaningless sex had all but dried up. The loneliness only became apparent when I went by myself to the pub. The hangovers that lasted a few hours at most now inexplicably lasted for a day or more. Three days, on some occasions. Nah, it was time to let that part of my life go.

I moved further away from Aberdeen in a somewhat subconscious effort to keep myself away from the bar. But I wasn’t going to give up drinking, just do a little less of it. Well, I’m doing a little less than even I thought I would.

Now I seem to be actively trying to avoid instances where I might be tempted by the demon drink. I’ve more or less stopped going to gigs, apart from the ones I organise myself. I can’t remember the last time I went into Aberdeen, to go to the pub, just for the sake of it. I haven’t even seen the new set-up at the Moorings, for fuck’s sake.

So the lager I bought when I moved out here sat in a corner of the kitchen acting as a platform for the trainers I use when cutting the grass. The two twelve-packs were a part of the furniture until I thought to check the sell-by date. Three months out.

Things are definitely different now and you know what? I don’t even miss it.

I’d love to tell you that I’m more productive these days, but I’m not. I’d love to tell you that I feel fitter than I’ve ever been, but I don’t. I’d love to say that my mind feels sharper for the lack of alcohol in my bloodstream, but it doesn’t.

Will it last? Probably not. Have I finally grown up? Not a chance.

All I’m aware of is that (near) abstinence feels right to me just now. And I’m going to continue with it until it doesn’t.

So bye-bye lager. The rats in the sewer can have a pint on me. There’s plenty more where that came from, I know.

Just don’t know when I can be arsed to get any.