Hello, my name is Steve. And I am a happy alcoholic.

Steve Hussy's Guide to Drinking

I’ve often been a heavy drinker since 2001 and I’ve been continually surprised and grateful at how booze has enhanced my life. I’m just miffed that I’m limited to 500 words to explain why.

I firmly believe that humans require – and search for – some sort of addiction. The most common one is love. People will go through all sorts of misery for beautiful moments of companionship. Many suffer, but a lucky few find their “soulmate” and the happy addiction is complete.

Family can be another drug. Bringing up kids is often time-consuming, troubling and a financial grind. But some doting parents – family addicts – find their peace of mind.

For me, booze has been that great equalising force in my life. Much like finding the right medication for an illness, booze evened out my two main personality defects. 

The first one was the removal of insensible fear. Booze hasn’t made me stupidly fearless, but it led to more self-confidence and great experiences. I’ve had fascinating conversations with drunks and non-drunks on the back of being willing to ask them any question. I have been able to call a master Vietnamese chef, a “dogging” aficionado and a 92-year-old writer amongst my best friends. All on the back of being squiffy and thinking “what the hell…”

I also have my current job due to some hefty slugs of vodka and a lot of tooth brushing before the interview. I had the gentle ease of confidence that I certainly didn’t have the night before.

The second boost of alcohol to my life is simply enjoyment. A lot of people are conditioned to focus on life’s problems. Work, weather, relationships, family, weight gain, sport and countless other addictions that give people more pain than pleasure. Yep, I know, booze can be in there too. They’ve drunk too much and they’ve behaved like morons 

Avoid bad drunks. And if you’re a bad drunk, quit. If it makes you angry, violent, cuntish, dickish… why are you drinking it? Find the drug that makes you happy. It’s out there somewhere. Weed, family, TV, clothes, relationships, sex, pets, coke, food, movies, cheese, jokes, musicians, heroin, career, shoes, painkillers, porn, tobacco, art, valium… Whatever levels out your worries you need to grab onto it.

I enjoy drinking and the taste of booze. And I’ve been fortunate that I’m not a psychotic binge drinker. I’ve never blacked out, never forgotten large periods of time, never been arrested and never been in serious scrap. Every day, I get to the right level of drunkenness and then maintain it. Want to get out of shitty situation with a drunk? Offer to buy them a drink. If they’re so pissed that they don’t accept it, you’ll be able to beat them in a fight anyway. Even better than that, opt to drink at home or with a buddy. Bars can be fun, but they carry risks.

I’m not daft. I drink well over 100 units of alcohol every week. I’m a healthy and pretty lithe guy in his thirties but I know my liver will sink into hepatitis then cirrhosis. I’ve had a few bad experiences and two and a half examples of “brewer’s droop.” But weigh that against hundreds of great times.

So let’s be positive. I’ll die somewhere around the age of heavy boozers like John Cassavetes (age 59) and Patrick Hamilton (age 58).

I certainly don’t have a death wish, but I’ve reconciled that somewhere around my mid-50s will be a good innings. The final years will probably be very unpleasant, but having watched a close friend die of cancer and my grandmother go through Alzheimer’s, I wonder whether getting into my sixties will be as much fun as the peppy senior citizens in uplifting Saga adverts.

So, with a bottle of port and a warm glow inside, I can stand in front of you and say:

Hello, my name is Steve. And I am a happy alcoholic.
 
Name: Steve Hussy
Age Range: 30-35
Professions: Teacher, Editor of Murder Slim Press
Drinking Habits: Boozer
Life Expectancy: Ask Lucy Liver