[Sober Living] Seven Years Clean

I am greedy for having two birthdays, or technically, three. Seven years ago on St. Patrick’s Day, I began to realize that my actions had consequences, that if I continued down negative paths I could run out of chances, and frankly, I wasn’t getting much out of life. I miss some of those times occasionally, but overall, I’m in a much better spot in life. Let’s explore those thoughts in more detail and public privacy.

I’m not here to share every aspect of my life.

However, I feel comfortable sharing – as this sort of public persona without any popularity or notoriety, that still needs to work a normal job to pay the bills, and hasn’t earned any money off of writing – this information because there’s no other avenue for me to explore these thoughts this deeply, and if I were to write these thoughts and delete them, then it wouldn’t help me out with my career.

Maybe you write about your feelings like this, too?

When I went to AA meetings, I heard from others that shared deep details about themselves and their pains. I shared some of my own. These essays are like an extension of that. I only went to a few NA meetings, but I noticed that those meetings were more intense. We are people that didn’t quite get enough of the high life that alcohol provides, with its numbness to calm reality, its ability to quiet the mind through the anxieties of our daily lives, and its ability to take us away. Alcohol only does so much.

Other drugs take us further and some of those drugs are really fun.

During a three-month period between mid-November and mid-February, I had frequent headaches that I wrote about extensively in Tripping On The American Healthcare System, which started as an extension of the idea of writing about trip reports like the ones on Erowid, and quickly became its own thing as the attempts, failures, and other content formed into this treatise on health and healthcare. Although seemingly trivial, if your life is encountering frequent vicissitudes, how much time and money would you spend to fix the issue? During that time, I was prescribed many medications, most that did not help. After I was prescribed oneSumatriptan – I realized that I could quickly find myself in bad spots.

Still, I continued, because, hey, how much energy could I spend to fix the issue?

Other than light sensitivity, where when I woke up I couldn’t go around without sunglasses for a few hours, I’ve been back to normal for the past month. Mostly. I’ve become less concerned with the external world through all that. It was a rough time and no matter how hard I tried, it seemed like I was constantly failing, and yet I persisted because there’s no other path than the one you want to go on. Now that I’m on the other side, I feel tired from the whole ordeal.

I wonder if I should take a vacation?

That, secretly, is what drugs do. They let us take temporary vacations from our real worlds. When you perceive reality differently, whether for a few minutes or hours, you can’t focus on the minutia that might otherwise drive you crazy. I haven’t been in those sorts of headspaces in [nearly] seven years now, yet not quite daily, but whenever these feelings get too overwhelming, I think about how nice it would be just to shut everything off for a few hours.

That’s the thing with sobriety I learned a few years ago: your senses never dim.

You can’t go numb for a few hours before bed. You have to untangle your life’s anxieties on their own terms rather than ignoring them. It’s great to solve problems, but sometimes it becomes too overwhelming, like the forces of reality are just blaring the loudest music at you possible and all you can do is adapt. You have to overcome every challenge while sober and sometimes that feeling becomes too overwhelming. You want to just have a nice, enjoyable life, but invariably, something will seep into your consciousness that will plant seeds of contempt.

I have one of those seeds.

Someone I knew to be angry at life in the sort of Bill Hicks variety recently showed some degree of detachment. He didn’t reach this state through meditation, adapting to obstacles, and finding himself in a better lifestyle. No, it was just edibles, and considering that I’m taking beta-blockers for essentially the same reason – to numb reality by decreasing my blood pressure – am I not continually stoned when I take this medication? I feel less “on” and although I’m still focused, I equally care less about reality when I take propranolol than when I don’t.

Am I not stoned right now?

It’s hard to say, so let’s explore this final point for now: I feel particularly bad about this being my sobriety date because what happened seven years ago was that rather than celebrate my childhood dog and his memory, I chose to overindulge in my own madness. Little Patrick was such a good dog. Since then, and especially over the past year, I’ve looked at the photos I have of him and I smile. His attitude on life was about feeling good and happy, which usually involved being pat on the head, given treats, and otherwise just exploring.

How disappointed would I make Patrick today?

I think compared to seven years ago, where he’d probably be mad at me, now I think he’d be fine. He would probably wonder why I’m so concerned about all the things I’m still concerned about. Those things wouldn’t help him get any treats or pats on the head! When I think of it from Patrick’s perspective, as long as I try to act in ways where I can be more present and less absent – due to stress or wanting to escape – then I’ll be fine.

I don’t know, though, that was a deep question.

Quotes: None.
Sources: My personal experiences.
Inspirations: Writing about sobriety every year is a tricky subject
Related: Other Sober Living essays.
Picture: Quick sketch.
Written On: 2020 March 15 [8:23pm to 9:03pm. Listened to Nujabro and Wormrot.]
Last Edited: 2020 March 15 [First draft; final draft for the Internet.]
My big goal is writing. My most important goal is writing "The Story." All other goals should work toward that central goal. My proudest moment is the most recent time I overcame some fear, which should have been today. I'm a better zombie than I was yesterday. I'm not better than you and you're not better than me. Let's strive to be better every day.