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A Dark Celebration

“Let’s have a black celebration, Black Celebration, Tonight, To celebrate the fact, That we’ve seen the back, Of another black day” Martin Gore

I remember back in college at the fraternity when it got to the end of the day the beers and wine coolers were broken out. Marty fled to the refuge of his Seven and Seven. But what were we celebrating? 

dark night photoLife for me at that time was both an illusion and a delusion. I had an emptiness that needed to be filled. My first semester I did excellent academically getting all A’s and one B in humanities. It brought me no satisfaction. The next semester a lot of my focus went into pledging the fraternity. I fell into the trap of using alcohol and drugs. The wild lifestyle was much alluring as it seemed everybody was having a wonderful time. That was far from the truth. My ‘friends’ were putting up a facade.

After the first semester, I enjoyed my summer. I went to Rhode Island with my friend Pete. When we arrived we promptly got drunk and went on a ride with somebody we didn’t know. We got let off miles away from where we were staying. Both of us heavily intoxicated lay on the damp grassy field of a churchyard in a semi-conscious state. After an hour of misery, we arose and began the long walk home. On the same trip, we were drinking on a cliff overlooking the ocean. The police came and ended the party. Though we were all underage we didn’t get into any trouble only a reprimand.

I was determined to end the drinking and partying. It as a hollow and empty life and it took a physical toll on me. When I returned to school I took a course to get ahead. Come next semester I was rush chairman for the fraternity. I embraced living on the edge and lived up life. Now others were looking at my life thinking that I was happy. Perhaps at the moment, I was but it didn’t last long. When rush ended my life again seemed purposeless. I began an introverted period of searching.

It was funny because I was learning things all during my college. My first semester I learned how to sit down and concentrate on my studies and work hard. Many people would sit down to study and simply talk and waste their time. When I pledged the fraternity I learned about brotherly love and got away from my selfish self. As rush chairman, I broke out of my shell and learned to be outgoing.

Still all the while I was a captive of misery. Night after night I would turn to the substances for a ‘black celebration.’ A black celebration is when one parties without any reason say like a birthday or New Year’s Eve. In effect, it is avoiding the realities of life by altering one’s consciousness through substances.

I will make a bold statement, anybody turning to substances to alter their mood on a regular basis are not happy people. I don’t care if they have massive amounts of wealth, fame or anything else, the tenet stands true. I can say this by personal experience and observation. So all these rock stars, billionaires, and millionaires, athletes and movie stars the indulge are fooling you.

I was a classic example of peer pressure. I am quite confident that if I never fell into the lot of ‘friends’ that I did I would have avoided drugs and alcohol. However, I was seeking out such a lifestyle when I left high school and went on to college. It seemed that people who used substances had better lives. I was certain that my life was miserable so I was willing to take a risk and try something new.

In the end, I have nobody but myself to blame. I do not feel bad about these events in my life. Life, after all, is a learning experience and one needs to make mistakes to grow. If one never opens the box they will never know what is inside. I no longer have ‘black celebrations.’ I have come to the point where I can look at the evil and ugliness of life and understand my place within it. Maybe more important I can share my experiences and help others.

Here is a dark book called ‘Dark Matters.’ It is a thrilling science fiction collection of three novellas. Check it out.


A Dark Celebration

John Kaniecki

John Kaniecki is a full-time caregiver for his wife Sylvia. He is a published writer and works with the Church of Christ. John has lived with bipolar for over thirty years and has been hospitalized nine times, three of which were committed. John has chronicled his life story in his memoirs "More Than The Madness". Also of note is John's book of poetry "Murmurings Of A Mad Man" which are poems written about being committed in Graystone Psychiatric Hospital. John believes in the power of words to change the world for the better. His website can be seen here. His books can be seen on Amazon. You can visit his personal blog "Turn A Page Or Two" here.

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APA Reference
Kaniecki, J. (2018). A Dark Celebration. Psych Central. Retrieved on March 24, 2019, from


Last updated: 29 Jun 2018
Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 29 Jun 2018
Published on All rights reserved.