What is a Vicious Alcoholic?

I once watched a video of Mike Tyson briefly commenting on the concept of him being a vicious alcoholic. When asked about it, he said he couldn’t really explain it. Strangely enough, I identified with it – deeply. And while there’s a big chance that my entire perspective of the concept differs greatly from his, I still feel driven to describe it.

Being a vicious alcoholic is, in my mind, the vicious mentality of going toe to toe and blow for blow with alcohol itself. You fiercely, determinedly, and in many cases (including my own) unknowingly challenge the burning liquid to a bloody duel to the death.

Luckily, humans have a function in our bodies that shuts down our entire system once we’ve gone too far. In most cases, this should kick in in time. For those that push too far, they’ll either find themselves in emergency care or a far worse fate.

To be a vicious alcoholic is to be vicious towards alcohol – to be unwilling to go down, to quit, or even bow down to it. The thing is, this is silly. Much like how we wouldn’t challenge our fists to strike at and break through steel pillars, the human body cannot win against alcohol.

Yet, some of us try.

We try because it starts off as fun and harmless. We try because the more the walls between friends come down, the more we find ourselves willing to go further into the depths of hell with them. We try because at a certain point, we find ourselves willing to even take a bullet for someone. And surely, a bullet is far worse than “a drink” isn’t it?

After all, alcohol is a distinguished and enjoyable drink. Drinking is an activity promoted by those we aspire to be like. The world of alcohol is full of color, intricately designed glassware, and names with nuances of exoticism or prestige.

Surely, this beautiful elixer of a liquid which glows and sparkles in the light can do me no harm. Surely, I can go one more round. And surely, one more round cannot hurt me.

So we charge again.

The bell dings and we throw up our gloves and take our shots. We go until we find ourselves awake, unsure of the events of the past twelve or so hours and surprised at the realization that we’d been knocked out.

At this point we spend the rest of the day and sometimes multiple days nursing our wounds and slowly pulling ourselves together.

The entire process starts off funny. We spend time recollecting memories and piecing the night back together with our friends – similar to the way we’ll watch actual fight recaps – filled with ooh’s, ahh’s, shocked expressions, and some hearty laughs.

But the more we get back into the ring, the longer it takes to recover. Alcohol was never pulling its punch, our bodies just can’t take that kind of beating time and time again – reminiscent to the short life span of professional boxers and high contact sports.

The problem with drinking, is that we fail, over and over, to understand that IT is what we are in the ring with. We think we’ve been in the ring with life or what have you, and that alcohol is a friend with its arms around our shoulders, cheering us on and wanting us to be happy and carefree. In reality though, we’re getting blindly socked in the stomach… mercilessly. But it’s all been no fault of the alcohol. It’s our own vicious unwillingness to go down.

Those of us who work hard to train our bodies to go the distance, to fight back against the odds and will our bodies past our boundaries and limitations over and over are the most susceptible to the trap of alcohol. For we will climb back into the ring, we will take another shot, and we will ferociously flail, slash, and claw our way to victory in any normal circumstance.

The trap is that our tenacity and fierce determination reacts instinctively, much like an overreactive reflex. By the time we even realize that we’re in the ring of an unwinable fight, alcohol will already be delivering its KO punch. It is typically mid-shot that the grim and foreboding thought finally crosses our minds, “I think that was it.”

It’s at this point that our knees and limbs lose control. We wobble as we walk. The world swirls faster than our eyes can see. We reach out and hold on to anything we can… but we’re out. And before we’ve even come to our senses, alcohol has already hung up its gloves and left the building. It’s won and it doesn’t even care – no need for an announcement and no need for an audience.

To be a vicious alcoholic is to be a vicious and fearsome spirit. One that will ruthlessly, knowingly or unknowingly, get back into the ring against an unbeatable entity. It is self sabotage in one of its most candid and camouflaged forms and it preys heavily on the strongest willed of us all.

In my eyes, this is what it means to be a vicious alcoholic.

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