• Michael Noctor

Alcohol and Sausages

I had been searching for this photo on and off for quite some time. It’s the image I used when I started my Forty Day Challenge on November 1st, 2016. The photo is so staged and lacks authenticity, but I didn’t notice that first time ‘round and it’s an image that brings back positive memories.

I remember one person telling me that forty days was a ridiculous target, that I should have aimed for a shorter period. Six days into that challenge I was in company. I popped out to my car to get something. I was on the brink of driving to the off license. The only reason I didn’t was because I had been speaking to my daughter the previous day and she had been saying how well I was doing. I’m laughing out loud now; I am lolling. In the end I went for forty-six days and it was the beginning of my new relationship with alcohol.

During the first lockdown I drank so much that I sickened myself physically and psychologically. Towards the end of it I began a one-hundred-day challenge that lasted forty-two days. It ended when I had a few celebratory drinks because I thought I had found a new place to live. It continued when that arrangement fell through – thankfully, in hindsight – and it continued because I was going through one of the most depressing periods of my life. I wasn’t depressed, but my circumstances were and having a few beers every night was a great help. I’m human and am not immune to the escapism that comes from that stomach-warming, brain-warming, tongue-numbing, idea-changing, mind-altering (sorry Ernest) liquid alchemy. Haha, it’s a long, long time since I used that quote.

So, it’s a new Forty Day Challenge, and it’s Day 5 – I started early – and it will be interesting because I am not living in my car this time ‘round. I’m living in a beautiful studio apartment with a fridge that has more beer in it than food – I don’t keep much food in my fridge coz I live across the road from Tesco Express – and I’ve a full bottle of JD along with four new JD glasses and two ice buckets. Jebus! For a man who lived in a car, who was a bohemian vagabond, I’m doin’ alright. I feel I have sold my soul for a bit of home comfort.

Something strange has happened since I moved into my new home. I have gotten a turn off sausages. I have porridge every morning with a sprinkle of cinnamon bark – good for keeping blood sugars low, apparently – with a chopped-up banana. It’s so tasty. It’s like having a dessert for breakfast. So, the other day I did a bit of a fry-up, for a change, and after a couple of bits of sausage and black pudding the breakfast went into the bin, and I hate throwing out food. I haven’t had a fried egg since, never mind any of the other stuff.

On the way home the other night, I passed a spot where I knew a man was sleeping in his car. It was a cold, cold night and sure enough his car was parked in his regular spot. He was on my mind, but then I thought how I did it for approximately 840 nights and I was fine. There were times when it was less than pleasant, but generally I was fine and in so many ways it was a very positive way of life. So, I’m sure that chap is fine. Here’s the thing, I’d hate to have to go back to that way of life. I don’t think I could do it again, but that’s bollocks, because we humans are well capable of resilience.

That’s enough from me for today.

Happy Tuesday,