Tuesday 2nd June 2015
‘Courage is a peculiar kind of fear’.
Today, for the second time in a few days, you’ve used the phrase ‘There by the grace of God……..’ Your demon, the elephant in the room, blinked, an eyebrow raised. Your illness, takes an embarrassed cough, then confidently announces its presence like a peacock assured of its sexuality, spreading its wings and splashing itself all over Sky News, Twitter, and Facebook and will no doubt be in every UK newspaper tomorrow.
Charles Kennedy, the Ex Liberal Demarcate leader, died today at the age of fifty-five. His disposition, demon, bête noire, and now his executioner: drink. You have long been an admirer of Kennedy but saw the look of alcohol in his face. The tired look, the look that replaced the fresh faced MP of the early 1990’s, puffy blepharitic eyes, and cheeks of excess and late sessions. The look of superior intellect, confused, influenced but contaminated by another, higher in ABV, contributor to his thoughts. Other intellects and academics have argued that they have expanded their thinking by its presence, it might be so but by God Charles could run rings around his political contemporaries, with or without it.
Live hard and die young? But be remembered for your spirited repartee, banter and deep philosophical Claret formed opinion? God, it reads less convincing the next day.
That’s thrice on a page you’ve used the word ‘God’.
It’s a Habit. (And you will come back to God later).
Habit, like arriving home after work, late, having taken 6 hours to drive from London to Penrith, needing the toilet but needing to get home more. Even before the cistern has finished flushing the cork is pulled and the southern levels of stress are subsiding.
‘It’s a school night.’ She says.
‘Yeah, but I’ve been in my car since 5 o’clock and my heads still buzzing.’ You say. The pattern forming habit.
But it was different for Charles, and it’s different for people who do not have control, lost or otherwise.
There is a dichotomy with drinking. You like and enjoy a fine wine, you appreciate its balanced flavours with a meal. You have enjoyed a cognac and a good cigar, and felt the uplift of a Jaegermeister at the end of a long, steep, Austrian red.
But, you’ve also been on your hands and knees in the pantry, consumed with desperation at 2 o’clock in the morning, looking in the cupboard for anything vaguely alcoholic to feed the demon. Then, woken up on the sofa in the half light, the glass half full still in your hand, the demon has shit in your mouth and you despise it, and yourself.
What is the hunger and where does it come from? Why is there a craving to have another drink? Is it liquid armour against the pain, the loss, the regret, the guilt, and the anger? Do you have these emotions even though you haven’t lost anyone and you’re not grieving? It’s too late to ask Charles, so you sit there alone, 1.05am, everyone is in bed. You’ve been drinking for a week without a break, but never during the day time, is that the next step in the race to the bottom?
Charles tried many times to control the demon, and failed. His son came along in 2005 and he was even more determined to give up his addiction, but failed again, permanently.
So God? It’s hard to remember, but you had a life before the 4th October 2013, you had a good life and in this madness you have spoken with ‘God’ to try to help understand where it’s all gone wrong. You had a perfect life; three beautiful children, a beautiful home, a healthy relationship, you have loved each other since you were kids, and you have always had decent, hard-working friends. Many of these things still remain in place, but without Dominic, none of it remains the same, including God, that’s if he ever had a place in your life.
You have always respected friends views and religious beliefs, and respected the church for its general pastoral care, but you have never been a believer of an omniscient being who created life and the earth in a few days. However you do believe in a sincere young man who promoted love, in a hostile world, who encouraged friendship and understanding in a war of cultures, and you believe sincerely, he was killed for his beliefs.
So why do we default to God in times of crisis? Either, asking him to help us out of the crisis, or usually more latterly, blaming him for not helping us and getting us into the
crisis in the first place.