The day before I sobered up is one I’ll always remember, not so much sequentially, but more cerebrally than that. I was working at the thrift store at the time, directionless, unmotivated, blaming others for the problems I wasn’t addressing, and just squandering my life. It was a difficult job. When I wasn’t jumping into moldy trailers or being lambasted for working “slowly,” I was trash-compacting high-quality goods. Then… maybe a glimpse into something greater…
Though I barely remember it.
I remember being anxious to wrap up work early so I wouldn’t be late. At this place, I was always scheduled to work 40 hours, but would only be paid for 39.5 hours, so I’m not sure why I didn’t bail earlier. Maybe, deep down, I still had some self-respect to be exploited.
Later, came the alcohol.
I think we stopped by an electronics store before ordering the drinks with the group because some curiosity there and another photo of some vehicle were the only photos I took that evening. I only remember a few things from that evening: a few jokes and a few songs.
What lingered was untapped potential.
I’d both seen and not seen a remarkable show. Clutch have been great each time I’ve seen them. When they opened for Mastodon, I forgot they weren’t the headliner, and equally, Primus were just a footnote. I can’t summarize in a sentence why they’re a cut above the rest.
Maybe they’ve tapped into the power of rock ‘n’ roll?
Through my drunken haze, watching “Gone Cold” was something divine. It was like wracking your brain for some long-lost memory only to have it appear and resolve itself. It was during that song, leaning up against that wall, at the Showbox, perhaps, that reminded me…
…I was throwing my life away.
I don’t remember how I got home, but I remember waking up knowing that it was time for a change. On that morning, March 30th 2013, after seeing Clutch for the first time, my life had propelled itself in a fundamentally positive direction. It’s been difficult so far.
Atonement shouldn’t be easy.
When you bleed out all the raw, gnarly mental blood that’s rotted in your psyche, from all the people you knowingly or unknowingly hurt, it mostly relieves that pressure that had been building up inside, but it also bleeds out some of that good mental blood.
Happy memories… Nostalgia…
The innocence of my youth is something I can never have back. That evil that pushed me to that point is still in there, encouraging me to manipulate others, hating unjustly- well, even thinking there is a situation in which you can justly hate someone or something…
Everything has a right to exist.
As I reflect on that day, I didn’t quite have all of those thoughts, but maybe I did? Maybe through momentary clarity, I realized that I could become a better person? That my life shouldn’t be thrown away?
Events like that, family, friends; all are reminders for me.
|Quotes:  The 29th is when I last drank, but the 30th is when I made the decision. I say my sobriety date is the 29th because, without those moments of drunken regret, I might not have stopped.|
|Sources: My personal experience.|
|Inspirations: Seeing Clutch always brings up these memories.|
|Related: Other Sober Living essays.|
|Photo: Seeing Clutch do sound-check when I saw them in 2017.|
|Written On: September 21st [1 hour]|
|Last Edited: September 24th [15 minutes]|