By Roy Gluckman (Empty stage. No lights. Upon speaking, a spot light lights up Roy, our protagonist and subject under discussion. He lifts his bowed head slightly and begins addressing the crowd nonchalantly.)
I’ve always interpreted the quote by Napoleon Hill quite literally:
“You are the master of your destiny. You can influence, direct and control your own environment. You can make your life what you want it to be.”
However, realising that “my destiny” was not, in fact, up to me exclusively, and that rather it involved a myriad of other players whose actions were out of my control, was a massive turning point for me. It was at this point that I decided to go all Hunger Games on life. I needed to manipulate various forces, influence supporting actors to master my own destiny, to achieve my desired outcome.
This attempt at controlling myself, others and my environment were both futile and exhausting. For myself, however, this exhaustion went unnoticed and unacknowledged. It was normal. Control, or the illusion thereof, became customary. Became habit. Became, well, life!
(Roy, smiling coyly, places his one hand in his pocket and walks casually stage left as he continues his monologue below. The spot light follows him.)
I never drank to forget my troubles. I never drank for enjoyment. I never drank for social lubrication. I drank for ALL those reasons and NONE of them. See, these reasons listed above are really symptoms of a greater cause for me. And that cause was the need to both gain and relinquish control. I drank for release; for silence. I drank to get to a point where I was able to let go of control. To “roll with the punches”. To be flighty. To be flirty. To be spontaneous. To be an asshole. To be a lover. To be a rebel. To be free.
Binge drinking was my time to say:
“Ok, someone else take over, I’m exhausted”.
And someone else would take over! We called him Holiday Roy. Holiday Roy fucking rocks! Holiday Roy cares about Roy so much that he does everything within his power (and I mean, EVERYTHING) to make sure that Roy needn’t worry about control while he rests. He is a warm and caring soul, ol’ Holiday Roy.
But this Captain/co-pilot scenario between Roy and Holiday Roy became unsustainable. Holiday Roy’s fervency and skill in creating environments for Roy to be able to let go of control began taking its toll on the Captain. Loss of control began to bleed into Roy’s life, creating turbulence. Something needed to change.
After identifying these patterns of exerted control in my life, and the resultant need to drink to relinquish control, I decided it was time to implement ways to unravel them (arguably in an attempt to control again). Giving up drinking was one such way. Getting messed up, and allowing myself this “out” was too easy and had become increasingly risky.
(Roy stands dead still and stiff center stage and raises his right arm with his middle three fingers raised, referencing The Hunger Games.)
Holiday Roy, had to be surrendered. Without him as a co-pilot, it became incumbent upon me to unravel my patterns of daily control, so that I could fly once again, freely and unimpaired. Quitting drinking became one of many ways in helping me do this, in letting go of control and re-establishing the rules of engagement.
(Roy takes a seat on a stool, stage right. Places his elbows on his knees and leans forward, as if to draw the audience in)
Although hugely advantageous, it has not been without its trials and tribulations – facing this world of ours wide awake. I invite you to join me as I journey through this somewhat unchartered terrain with a series of ongoing dialogue exploring some of these challenges, concerns and triumphs that not drinking has brought into my life.
(Roy slowly and deliberately rises from his stool and begins walking off stage toward the back. He pauses and turns to deliver his last line.)
Self-indulgent? Perhaps. Cathartic? IMMENSELY!
Roy is a speaker, facilitator and musician. Follow him on Twitter and Instagram @RoyGluckman.