Unearthing this object was terrifying for me. Contained on this piece of cardboard are memories that are not positive, dispersed throughout my first two years without alcohol. I was still coping with the world as it is, a merciless, unpolite place that will consume you if you’re not careful. I’ve donned a bit of a jester attitude toward life perhaps in response to that. Nothing else is as serious as your daily pursuit of meaning.
This object would have power over me if I merely threw it away to forget.
Instead, the whole reason for this Sober Living column is to air out dirty laundry like this as I develop the writing ability and self-reflection to write about these tougher subjects. I have many deeper wounds to bleed out. The catharsis I experience after wrapping up each of these essays has encouraged me to keep this up, and only semi-anonymously. I don’t have the courage yet to fully reveal my name, as some I’ve met in AA and NA meetings, so let’s tame the beast that revealed its ugly head this morning.
February 17th, 2014
I realized I had a problem [with diphenhydramine. It’s an innocent little problem. One or two capsules are fine for dealing with allergies. More pushes it into the deliriant class of psychoactive substances.]
May 17th, 2014
Oh well. (10 [capsules of diphenhydramine to dampen whatever I was going through that day.])
May 18th, 2014
May 20th, 2014
On this day, I mixed 10 capsules of diphenhydramine with 25 milliliters of dextromethorphan. The dosage was too low for me to notice anything.
June 18th, 2014
Some recruiter gave me bad news, or in some way encouraged me to feel bad, which compelled me to take 30 – thirty! – capsules of diphenhydramine. Even when I was still doing this, that was a bit much.
July 23rd, 2014
Overwhelming stress? That was an excuse that encouraged me to take the easy escape with 15 capsules.
August 23rd, 2014
Depression. Now we’re no longer lying to ourselves here. You’ve gotta say it to slay it. My normally sedentary, lazy depression somehow got motivated into telling me to take 15 capsules.
December 6th, 2014
At around this period, I wasn’t rowing like I am now. My right knee was in bad shape at the time. This was after working at the thrift store, which chewed up my body (and soul), and this was after a pallet jack ran into my knee going downhill. All this along with a hamstring injury from years ago haven’t surfaced since I’ve started exercising regularly. I forgot about this whole thing. Well, that physical pain and probably some ennui pushed me into taking 20 capsules.
I did later more diphenhydramine later, but the 7th was probably when I flushed the rest of the bottle down the toilet. These were pink and in a moment of perversion, I kept the bottle. The ones I quit were blue. Well, I recycled the bottle and kept this note. I’m not sure why, so let’s explore that thought, shall we? When I unearthed the note, I placed it atop my laptop so I would deal with it later. I had a busy day that has yielded significant progress in my packing. I’ve packed up eight small boxes of books to catalog and place into deep storage for maybe 6 months or a year – depending on what book I want to read out of which box.
So today was full of positive momentum.
This evening – it’s now after 10 P.M. when I’m writing this, sorry to reveal a secret of the behind the scenes, but this isn’t written moments before publication, sorry – I’m physically exhausted. My chest kind of hurts, but I think that’s because I’m cutting through these memories of lying to myself and others that I’d gotten my sobriety under control. This was the hidden one. The one I could use to get the same effect as drinking alcohol but without actually drinking. I feel like a charlatan for keeping that March 29th, 2013, sobriety date when really, as this photo shows, I clearly relapsed a number of times before finally.
April 3rd, 2018, should really be my latest sobriety date.
I still celebrate March 29th and St. Patrick’s Day as two of my now many sobriety dates. I even jokingly have a pizza sobriety date: September 30th, 2018. I mean, how stupid is that, honestly? I don’t mean to insult those of us who cannot control our inner urges. It’s just more, for me, pizza is a symbol of bad behavior from its relation to beer to its general unhealthiness. Why would I consume something that gives me a similar sensation to any other actually addictive chemical: lethargy, sickness, and an overall regret toward eating any of it, let alone the whole pizza I ate just because it was more convenient than throwing it out?
Here’s the honest truth.
These dates are helpful on a symbolic level, but what’s helped me more is taking control of my life. I try not to feel pity for myself anymore. I am ruthlessly critical of my actions, along with everyone else, it’s just now the critic is more sophisticated. He… me… has done his research into the context of the situation before criticizing, which results only in criticism when earned. If the event even implied terribleness on my part, that inner critic, rather than lash out at everything, will concoct or briefly control my thoughts to guide me toward an acceptable solution.
What happens when you say something somewhat offensive?
Your mind might linger on that thought for too long and make you feel bad for no particular reason. Me? I find a quiet place to brace for impact then brave that all-important question: “Can you tell me what you really feel?” By taking away the sting of my harshest critic, I’m left only with the guiding path toward self-improvement. Sometimes, that means dredging up bad memories awkwardly. Still, it’s better than recycling them and hoping they never pop up again.
Memories will remain unless they’re thoroughly tamed.
|Sources: My personal experiences.|
|Inspirations: See above.|
|Related: Other Sober Living essays.|
|Photo: See further above.|
|Written On: January 23rd [1 hour]|
|Last Edited: First draft; final draft.|