I hate this feeling. Some deep, overwhelmingly physical sensation, contorts my gut violently. But it’s not physical. It’s pride, humiliation, justification, disrespect, and all the things that I shouldn’t have to fight, yet it drags me down yet again. The urge to escape this feeling can’t be quenched by escapism. No matter how good whatever I’m doing might be, as soon as it’s over, I’m back to thinking about this. Can’t drink my way out.
I would go well past the point of social inebriation because I couldn’t handle the pain of reality. I needed panacea. The serene bliss of numbness outweighed any risk. I was also in a self-destructive mindset stating ‘not much is my fault,’ especially when I couldn’t address the stress and pain in my life, because I was the innocent victim, after all… The pain is still here. It’s just now I can actually fix it!
My addictions strangle me when I’m unable to cope with situations. Hearing bad news kills. Chilling, defined here as succumbing to any addiction, then feels acceptable. If you’re anything like me, we need to re-enforce our defenses, rather than ask that the constant barrage of life’s perhaps-positives and perhaps-negatives cooperate with us. It would be nicer to have a conflict-free life. That won’t happen. Let’s instead try figuring out how to build up our defenses.
I’m still five years clean and five years sober, but that third counter, the addiction to weakness: that’s been going for a few days now. Writing about that helped. Let’s run through an essay about how it’s been over the few days of being in and out of that old familiar zombing drone. It wasn’t without event casualties, though I’m feeling more solid while writing this than I have in a week… or perhaps more?
I don’t know what I was thinking on Tuesday, April 3rd. Probably nothing at all. I was certainly distracted by an overwhelming, lingering, emptiness, even though things are going fine. I just wasn’t feeling well. Not feeling “on my game,” being just sick enough, with creeping self-doubt mixes together into self-destructive disaster smoothy for me. With most of the remaining expired bottle of diphenhydramine, in fancy blue, I took 175 milligrams of the old familiar deliriant.
I don’t remember what stressed me out enough to possess me to drive home on my lunch break, drink enough 190-proof grain alcohol to get wasted almost immediately, before driving back into work to finish my shift. That event’s cleared out of my memory. It was certainly trivial, like someone saying something in a particular way I didn’t like or some process not working as it should, because I’ve encountered many harsher situations while sober.
If there’s one thing I’ve learned about self-confidence through five years of sobriety, it’s valuing myself more. This isn’t an exclusive trait of sobriety. I’m just more resilient against merely going with the crowd now. If they’re all going to the bar to go drink, and I’m not feeling particularly strong-willed, I’m comfortable saying no. Also, if anything doesn’t feel quite right, I’m more comfortable voicing my opinion, because what have I got to lose?
Today marks five years since I last drank. I’ve since been in many bars, been around many people drinking, but have had good enough friends to respect me, and steward me through. “If I saw you with a bottle in your hand, I’d knock it out and ask ‘what the hell are you doing?’” My external resilience has enough fortitude to endure pretty much anything now. I think it’s the internal weakness that kills us.
Some offensives I still carry even years after the one I offended forgave me. Maybe that weight subconsciously helps me avoid making similar mistakes? Maybe I haven’t forgiven myself for these transgressions? Maybe that’s the sting of ego’s pride against my intentions of living a good and decent life? How about those we’ve wronged that we can’t reach out to again and ask for forgiveness? Can we assume through symbolism that they’ve finally forgiven us?
“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.