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[ Personal Narratives ]

Tuesday 16th July: Foundations

So this is an older blog post, (am now writing on Tuesday 9th September) but it touches upon themes running through my posts in general, and is something that I really just wanted to share – essentially I’m not sure there is that much difference between the 24 year old man typing this, and the 17 year old boy who contributes to the below, but that’s a separate blog in itself.

Having just read an article that crashes agonizingly close to home for me, to be point where I re-read it, considered crying, ran a bath, lay in the dark and listened to Fleetwood Mac and Gaslight Anthem (it had been a long day anyway) willing myself to actually cry, I got to thinking.

The article in question, titled ‘My drinking years: “Everyone has blackouts, don’t they?”‘ by a lady called Sarah Hepola and published in The Guardian (read it here –, read it now, read it again) crashed down on me for a number of reasons. Firstly, I wish I could write with the unapologetic, stark, brutal honesty that Sarah does in admitting to her faults – I am struggling to admit to my faults as fully as I should and deal with them as appropriately as I could – and secondly because I have been where she is in experiences I have never shared, am not ready to share, and maybe never will. In short, I was blown away to have someone feel so close to me through their words and experiences, and yet to feel so untenable in where they have got to, compared to where I am.

I started drinking heavily when I was 14. By the time I was 16 I was all too familiar with what a blackout was, and I had woken up a couple of times to find that I had vomited on myself in my sleep – playing a classy little game of Russian Roulette if ever I did! By 18, I had tried to rally myself – bring myself closer to getting the high grades I knew I was more than capable of achieving – to get into a top 5 uni to study history, and I was exhausted from the weight of my expectations, the weight of others, and the weight of knowing what it felt like to simply let go, slide down and embrace the relief that I knew could be found at the bottom of a bottle of vodka.

Sometimes its difficult to write what you really feel – am I too honest? Am i not honest honest? Am I self-righteous? Am I too self-centred? Am I funny? Am I creating a hole for only myself to fall back down? Barriers up! Barriers up! Is my post too long? Will people identify with what I am writing, or will they just judge me because they might know me? Will anyone from my place of work read this?

Will people laugh at me, pity me, or both? I’m not asking for either.

I find it difficult to write something on a deeply personal level, that I feel satisfies me creatively as having expressed what I need to express, without opening myself to a trip down memory lane that is just too personal. So now, after reading Sarah’s article, I wanted to share something with you that I wrote when I was 17 years old which was then, and is now having re-read it for the first time in 6 years, a hugely personal scream of frustration, of anger and of exhaustion.


Like a hooker to her heroin,

I turn to you

My comfort, my secret, my rock.

Spent emotion melted by photoflash

And mopped with calculated efficiency,

Can only be replaced by you.

Numbness, nonchalance, drowsy acquiescene

As the stone replaces the diamond.

This density, this depravity, can only be found in you.

A splintered emptiness consumes,

Emboldened by my weakness and lust.

Powerless to defend, my towers are broken

And yet

I have control

As there is nothing left to save.

Flint edged originality, eroded by coarse acidity

Into a cavernous have of memory and mundanity.

As the cliff slides into the sea

I discover there is no life jacket

Needed in your tepid waters

Where effervescent shame

Keeps my consciousness afloat.

Saturated with your stench I drift from day to day

On a makeshift raft

Riding your waves of rubble.

What would I be without you?

Will I ever know?

Can I even remember?

Like blood from a stone.

The heat of a thousand searing suns

And the weight of this mountain

Could press endlessly

Without effect on this rock, uncompromised in its obstinacy.

Nature will not quench the need that you refuse to satisfy.

The diamond,

Stolen by your gilt smitten fingers,

Will find me again,

Aching and crying on a cold marble floor,

In the barren ballroom of my dreams.

Me, aged 17, published in the school’s end of year magazine – because

sometimes you don’t know what to say, or the best way to say it,

so you start writing and it just feels better.