The best and worst thing for maintaining one’s sobriety is employment. There is no better crutch to rest your mind upon than your employment, where any subconscious faults in your life can usually be reasonably blamed on some external factor like a boss, colleague, or situation. Yet that constant career pressure can break us down if we don’t moderate our workaholic tendencies. Spend an extra five minutes for polishing something? How about… five more minutes?
I can’t have the one thing that best eases my nerves. Nor can I have the second, third, or fourth-place things to acquiesce that occasional itch that burns so deep within my psyche to drag me through the inner depths of psychology that can’t be cured through a leisurely day outside, hanging out with friends. When the sun and the sky mean nothing, that’s when it’s time to shift focus to the only valuable thing:
No Smoking signs are a joke in Seattle. As I walked toward three people smoking at a No Smoking sign, I saw the one closest to the road blow smoke all over the sidewalk. Smokers like this infuriate me because they disrespectfully ruin public perception with negligent behavior, unaware of any pain they cause by forcing others from their sobrieties. Approaching fast, I kept my intense gaze burned on his eyes, walking closer, ever closer.
We are mostly imprisoned by the insecurities of our minds. For every actual obstacle we face, there are plenty more that are just because we’re too tired, we’ll procrastinate, or we just can’t imagine it’ll ever happen. When we don’t confront the realities of what we want versus what we have, we become miserable, sometimes lashing out at others, or other times abusing ourselves. There is no need to keep yourself chained to good enough.
The anxiety wouldn’t stop, no matter what I tried. Everything I could think of to fix the anxiety just didn’t work. All I had to do was ride it out until it finally subsided by an external force – the anxiety had been caused over an inability to do something important and having to defer to others, which I know is a pride thing, but the problem is that the solution is not always that predictable.
My water bottle clanged on the floor. “Sorry a-bough-t that.” I said as I swooped up the offending bottle in a half-dozed stupor. “It’s uhh-kay.” Would life be better without these sorts of embarrassing interactions? Without these grimy grimaces, how can we know what glittery glory feels like? Perhaps it would be nicer to be free of stress, anxiety, and worries over the thises and thats of life, but sometimes that friction leads to more!
There is probably no entity that would willingly advocate for the endless ubiquitous pain of every creature in the universe. If there were, that creature would be so mauled by negative emotions, unable to dispell them, that they would thrash out in so much agony that the results would destroy everything in sight. What a twisted, terrible fate! Yet, how easy is it to fall into that trap? It just takes a few bad days…
I like to “get lost.” Particularly on my lunch breaks, if I brought my lunch, I’ll wander somewhere new to eat, then write. If not, I’ll walk anonymously into any large crowd to shed the artificial interpretations of my ego related to my perceived stresses throughout my journey of sustenance. Forgetting about myself is a useful way for me to regulate the looming sense of disaster after disaster that, if unregulated, could lead to insobriety.
It started with a humble blue one. No harm. Just a little extra sugar to get me through the day. They’re just right there, free; easy. These little candies are innocent enough to where, before I realized it, I was instinctively eating handfuls each and every shift. Oops. So much for innocence. When times are hard, stress is everywhere, I know subconsciously look for little moments of respite, positive or not. Is there a fix?
With focused discipline, you can quiet the mind enough of the rattles of stress and anxiety to do almost anything. You can subconsciously mute the noisy office or do the impossible. What that requires, however, is the occasional respite. Not a relapse or reclusion, just a quick relaxing check-in to see if everything is alright. Without that, motivation breaks, weakness seeps in, and the next time you’re tempted by something bad, you might take it.