A dark, smoke filled room. Awake and aware but struggling to hold a conversation due to the amount of shit I have pumped into my body over the previous 24 hours.
"You guys have been up all night? Wow. Its been such a nice day. I've been into town, gone out for dinner..."
A guy eight years younger than me said this after I had been on a 24 hour "session". You would think this is the point where I think... STOP. It was, until the following weekend.
We always had the best intentions...the main intention being have an awesome night! The amount of times we both said "lets have a week off next week" and come Thursday we were hitting it hard until 3am despite having a full day of work ahead the next day. It became normality. Gone were the days when I went out for a night out with my mates, had a great night and went to bed. Sleep was now for the weak. Anyone who either couldn't handle or wasn't part of this culture was written out of my life. This was now what I lived for.
The feeling of the sun stinging my eyes as I walked home as fast as I could trying to look "normal". Dreading the 5 minute walk where I may actually have to interact with someone who wasn't in a self induced zombified state of awareness. Dodging shoppers and tourists, catching a flicker of my own reflection in a window and not even recognising myself on my dash back to the sanctity of my front room where 90% of the time it would continue on for another eight hours.
Nothing was going to break this cycle. I know it now and deep within myself I knew it then. That was, however, until I found out I was going to be a Dad.
Now don't get me wrong here, I wasn't totally devoid of emotion and responsibility. We both had (and still have) good jobs, a nice house, a good relationship with our families and each other, but there was only so long it could go on for without it encroaching on one or more of these aspects of our lives. At the time you kind of know that, but like I said it was always "we will have a chilled one next weekend". That weekend rarely came round.
The little miracle that is now growing inside my girlfriend saved our lives. I know this now. At around 8 weeks we found out and it all stopped. It had to. The fact that this little guy could survive 8 weeks of what we did to our bodies is a miracle in itself.
It's been difficult. Especially with friends still living the same lives. Some understand, some don't, some don't want to. All of these I will save for another post. It hit home a few weeks ago. We were on a beach...IN THE DAY!! Awake. Aware. Alive. My girlfriend said something under her breath:
"I forgot places like this existed outside my own head"