I’ve read most of the great alcoholic/addict fiction out there (The Lost Weekend, A Fan’s Notes, Jesus’ Son, Carver’s Stories), and believe them to be very accurate and handled well by writers who have lived in such hells, but none of these books seem to come as close to getting inside the mind of an alcoholic as Malcolm Lowry’s “Under the Volcano”, which I’ve just re-read recently. A few lines:
“All mystery, all hope, all disappointment, yes, all disaster, is here, beyond those swinging doors.”
“how, unless you drink as I do, can you hope to understand the beauty of an old woman from Tarasco who plays dominoes at seven o’clock in the morning?”
“The Lighthouse, the lighthouse that invites the storm, and lights it!”
“But d.t.’s are only the beginning, the music round the portal of the Qliphoth, the overture, conducted by the God of Flies…Why do people see rats? These are the sort of questions that ought to concern the world…”
“What is man but a little soul holding up a corpse? The soul!”
There’re plenty more, and the novel does not depend on the rants of an alcoholic mind, rather the connection between the mind (everything imagined, remembered, fantasized) and the physical body and world, not to mention the spiritual nature of place.