I know them. The Irish Down Under. They work hard and they drink hard too. More often than not there is nothing but fun and merriment. More often than not, nay a drop of harm comes by anyone. The long weeks deserve a long session to unwind and release. What is the point in all work and no play?
I served time in many pubs in Australia…Serving beers, drinking beers and managing the busiest one of them all in Bondi Junction. I saw many of the lads and lassies on the rip from Friday through Sunday. I saw the best and the worst of them. I encouraged responsible drinking and I turfed out many’s the boy and girl who was schuttered, aggressive or had their fill.
I know the Irish Down Under…I have been one for over five years. I know us and there is something that happens to us when we leave home and come so far away. We are released from the prying eyes, the Mammies and the Daddies watching you over your shoulder. You are free to earn money, live with mates and get absolutely baloobas.
I did it all here. I drank in every pub that would serve me. I snorted any drugs and popped any pills I could get my hands on. I spent days on the session and acting the bollix. I loved it. I loved the lush, the mayhem, the party and the 24 hour pubs. I indulged and I enjoyed. Life was mental craic but was a life worth living.
I cut it close. I streaked through many the pub. I jumped off many the bridge. I cut, scraped and cracked my head in scuffles, stumbles and squabbles. I got away with it. I snook through and was able to remain intact, alive and functioning.
I knew my luck was gonna run out. Some day I would slip off a rooftop. I would yap back at the wrong person. I would cut myself open somehow in some unfortunate way. It was all a matter of time. It was a matter for statistics. You do something dangerous when you are drunk for long enough and something bad will happen.
So I gave up the drink. And the drugs. And the rest of it. I gave it all up because I knew that someday I would fall down a stair well or do something that would be irreversible. I knew it would come. I knew it would happen. It was inevitable. There was nothing else that could happen.
And so I read about another Irishman who has passed away after a night on the piss which has ruined him. Padraig Gaffney I salute you sir. You made a mistake and paid the ultimate price for it. Whatever happened that night in that hotel can be very easily put as drunken madness. What has happened since is the tragedy. No life is worth being lost because of drunken mistakes.
I have been following the story of Donal O’Sullivan who disappeared near my old pub in Bondi Junction. I was delighted to see he was found. He is in a critical condition and I wish him and his family peace and health. I don’t know the circumstances that had him end up where he did so I cannot comment.
Both men, their friends and their families are going through incredible stress and mental pain. It is in times like these that you see peoples true colours and I hope that people rally around them and help those who need to be helped.
There are lessons to be learnt.
I have seen it all and done it all. Nothing surprises me anymore. As Irish we think we need to drink and all the rest. We think we have to live up to certain expectations about being on the piss. We think we need to act in certain ways, drink in certain ways and be certain ways.
I say to you this…Just be yourself. Be yourself without the drink for a while. Love your sober self. Love your sober self and enjoy who you are. Fuck the begrudgers and fuck those who ridicule you. Fuck them all.
So many young men and women are putting their lives in danger. If you have that mental gene, that deranged Irish drinking gene then you will know that someday you will put yourself in the line of fire. You will put yourself in circumstances which could lead to bad, sad and upsetting consequences.
It is not a matter of “if” or “maybe”. It will happen. These were two more normal hard working Irish lads who liked a drink. There are thousands more who are simply lucky it was not them.
People may blame Barmen, Drink, Society, the Politicians or the Cops. You can blame whoever you want. But there is only one person who is responsible for any able bodied free human being – and that is themselves. You are the only one responsible for yourself.
You owe it to yourself to look after yourself. If that means looking at your drinking and thinking long and hard about your choices then that is what you need to do. Drinking can ruin lives. Not only through serial alcoholism, but by simple bad decisions made while drunk or tipsy.
You owe it to yourself to look after yourself.
Nobody deserves to lose their life or end up in a critical condition in hospital because of drink. Nobody. We all deserve a happy and prosperous life. We have to see how to make the right decisions to live as well as we can.
So many young Irish lads have died here in Oz since I first came in ’98. Most of the time it has been something that happened when drinking. It may have been a fight or accident or some messing gone wrong, but the Drink has been there through it all.
If you drink hard, then you need to think hard. What kind of life do I want for myself? And do I feel lucky? Because without luck then someday you will end up in situations which can put your life in danger.
Do you feel lucky?