“I know you’re in Seattle where it’s legal, but our client requires a, uh, drug test. Will that be a problem?” “Nope! I haven’t smoked in close to five years.” “That doesn’t really matter. Just as long as you can be clean for about 30 days. [1,2,3]” What happened five years ago on March 17th 2013 that made me so adamant against smoking cannabis? It’s not a happy memory. Here’s the story of why I fight this battle.
How did this happen? Is there a correlation between my childhood raised secondarily by videogames and my reality where much of it involves tempering my overexposure to reality to avoid finding myself in a drunken stupor? I doubt the hours I spent playing games like Mario, Final Fantasy, or EarthBound caused this. Encouraged an addictive framework? Perhaps. Spend another 10 minutes to level up, throw yourself to the mercy of inebriation, only to rinse and repeat?
“Don’t go to the dark side.” “I’ve been there. It’s not really fun. I’ve been trying my best ever since to not go back[1,2].” Since becoming sober nearly 5 years ago, most of my actions have been about making the world a better place. I’ll act selfishly sometimes to avoid going back to the dark side, otherwise, my actions mostly center around helping others: acting without judgement, lending a hand, or even just not being shitty.
What’s your comfortable limit? How much until you say to yourself “that’s enough” and actually call it enough? Do you know at what point you’ll go too far? For me (and possibly others), there’ll be an excuse planned out rather than a plan to excuse myself from the situation. We’ll take it as far as it’ll last. Even Wednesday, with an endlessly refilled coffee cup, I know I still have improvement room with my resolve.
“What did that [overhead announcement] mean? It sounded cool!” “It meant [basically] in 30 minutes, all hands on deck[1,2].” Coming up on 5 years ago, I was just bumming around in life, and ended up working at a thrift store for the hell of it. While looking for new junk is my primary reason for going, I also like going to remind myself of the times I hopped into gnarly trailers full of donations to salvage rarities.
Words mean nothing when you’re stressed out and longing for that familiar, harmful way to decompress. Even close to five years later, the numbness of having a drink or five is still ingrained in my psyche as the ideal evening. We must instead practice alternative actions. Since I don’t think as clearly in the evenings, after constantly confronting stress, I go to sleep early to subconsciously wade through that stress to arrive at actionable solutions.
In ten years, how will sobriety look? Not just mine, but our scientific understanding of addiction? We have antidepressants, anti-anxieties, antipsychotics, and SSRIs to potentially destroy our free-will to dampen our emotions. How about something less extreme? Will we have a pill addressing only the physical reactions to stress… possibly causing addiction? Will stories of insobriety still weigh me, and everyone, down? Will polite society become more accepting? Will we see sobriety root cause analysis?
Ten years ago, rage and other emotions consumed me to the point of lashing out irrationally. Now, rage and other emotions still engulf me with their negative solace- that part hasn’t, and may never, completely go away for me, or any of us- it’s just I have more coping mechanisms. Maybe that’s the root of addictive behavior? Being unable to cope with the harshness of reality? We should then find subtle positive solaces within reality.
My annual review comes up in March. Five years with “the company.” Five years of arriving ready to work, punching in the proverbial clock of redemption, every single day, regardless of how much I feel like calling in sick to escape into a daytrip of entertainment and debauchery. Part of what I’ve learned over these past few years is that if I find myself out of work, I must immediately get another gig lined up.
How much can we understand of this world? We go through school to study as much exoteric content as we can and maybe specialize in certain esoteric topics. Some of us might push the boundaries of research and help the rest of us. Others reject all that. Their realities will never be fully understood. We’ll never really “know” fringe thought the same way we do popular thought. Is it because we just can’t understand everything?