[Sober Living] Avoiding Danger Aisles

When I sobered up, money otherwise spent on alcohol went to cool action figures. It efficiently re-routed the pleasure sensors of going to a store, browsing for some new treat, then bringing it home to enjoy. Now that I’m downsizing and moving, I can’t binge on new purchases anymore. Every new item now must fit succinctly within a specific purpose. It’s not as dangerous to browse for action figures as alcohol, but materialistically, maybe so?

What I should strive for is contentment without indulgence.

When I was having a rough day, I’d go to the liquor store to browse for some new flavor to try, if I didn’t already know what I wanted to consume that I knew I had at home. I lacked the discipline to control my emotions then, I’m still far from stoic now but I’ve progressed in nearly six years, so this was my way of venting these emotions. Re-routing this sense of “I’ve had a rough day, let me reward myself with some new thing” to something positive, rather than negative, was an important step in my sobriety.

I can no longer rely on that crutch.

Originally, that was going to be “I no longer need that crutch,” but when I thought about it, I realized that it was a lie. There will always be bad days. I’ll always have an itch in the back of my mind for the numbness of an alcoholic evening. To just feel completely at ease, have a fun time, and not take reality so seriously will always be a craving in the back of my mind – and I assume any of us as well? For evenings like that, I’ll let my exercise slip or I won’t be as concerned over certain social or structural responsibilities.

I’ll either go to sleep early or distract myself more.

I caught myself early into my addiction to alcohol, so alcohol’s pull isn’t as strong as it might be for some, but I think to some degree, we let the influence of a bad day, bad event, or bad circumstance affect us more than it should. To hear bad news, process it fully, then smile and proceed is more satisfactory for me than to give into the bad news. What will that do but leave me fewer options to recover and win? Why not take out that frustration in a positive way? This column began and continues with that mindset.

Let’s return to our danger aisles.

There are still plenty of action figures I’d like to add to my collections. The “danger aisle” of the toy aisle here implies a grocery store with new releases. There are some I’d like, but none that I actively ‘need’ for any project or to complete any collection. It might be a reason to go out and explore, but really, if it’s just the thrill of the hunt, I should re-route that energy elsewhere. I can still collect action figures.

It should just be from a positive mindset.

Quotes: None.
Sources: My personal experiences.
Inspirations: I’ve been focusing my efforts on writing essays about moving since they’re easy to write and can help me mentally digest what I’m doing. I’ve been in a funk the last few days, so why not use this column to explore that funk? The result was maybe too subtle, but I think it achieves the point I’m going for: don’t let negativity drive your intentions.
Related: Other Sober Living and Moving Zeal essays.
Picture: Quick drawing of toy and alcohol aisles.
Written On: November 27th [30 minutes]
Last Edited: First draft; final draft.
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.