Stepping Over the Edge

On Martin Luther King Day, I reconnected with some of my old friends from a crazy, drug-laced era of my life. I still have no problem abusing controlled substances where and when I feel like it, but I’m very low-key and almost always sober these days (…have been for a few years, now that I think about it). I’ve always found the idea of addiction as a problem to be somewhat baffling, because I’ve always made a choice in the present moment to do whatever I was going to do (or not do). Anyways…

A few days before this little reunion at about 3:30 AM, just after throwing back a few swigs of peppermint snaps and going outside to smoke a cigarette, I ran into a guy I used to hang out with all the time – as far back as my sophomore year in high school – and after telling me he’d lost his truck and had walked in a drunken stupor for miles in the middle of the night to get home (a few blocks from where I live), he told me I’ve been missed and that I should call up my (former?) best buddy the following day. I ended up doing just that, and met up with a ton of people I hadn’t seen in two or three years, one of which was going on a beer run just as I was showing up and took my ‘order’ for a 12-pack of Paps.

As is almost inevitable with things like this, we all got to reminiscing about some of the crazy shit we’d done and the memorable times we had. And we got to drinking (among other things), which I hadn’t done very heavily in quite a while. Talking with one of the guys a few days after that, I shared this observation: I know how to get nice and fucked up without becoming nonfunctional or unable to find my way home on foot, and the reason I know how to do this is because I’ve gone so far over the edge, in so many different ways, all I could do was crash out at whatever house I happened to be at on a given night. I know where the edge is, because I’ve been over it… way over. With that kind of experience, if I don’t want to go over I seem perfectly able to walk on it without much fear of slipping over.

“The edge, there is no honest way to explain it because the only people who really know where it is are the ones who have gone over.”
~Hunter S. Thompson


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