[Sober Living] Smelly Downstairs Neighbors

I’d been worried about working night shift during this whole work-from-home as a response to current events situation some of us have lucked ourselves into, but two of my colleagues and I have not heard complaints. I was mass-emailed one official email from the apartment complex. After some smelly developments this evening, I don’t think I’ll be worried about talking at my normal voice, but toned down. Walking, sure. The reason involves a smelly bathroom…

First, I smelled the pot through the washer/dryer area.

It was enough to give me a little bit of a daze, like when one used to walk around downtown Seattle and cross someone’s path that wasn’t concerned with other people. Once I realized I was in “that” headspace again, I focused on a photo of Patrick, rowed, and felt probably as normal as I usually do.

I wasn’t and am not spaced out, at least.

Years ago, I had to come to terms with how things like this would affect my own sobriety. It’s easier with alcohol because you either consume it or you don’t. Consumption, for me, involves things flavored like alcohol or when alcohol is used in the cooking process. Most people tell me that the beer in the batter of fish and chips goes away, but that’s the level of granularity I require when I think about things like this.

It’s like once you have a framework, you don’t have to worry.

Cannabis for me is much the same way, except there is the unwilling participant perspective from second-hand smoke. Now, this is a contentious situation because there are health benefits and there are arguments to be made in favor of this substance, but for me, I’d rather live my life completely without it. Even in situations where my supervisor recommended CBD oil for my headaches some months back, I still would rather suffer through to find the cause of the headaches [neck and spine strain] than cover up the pain with even a high-quality painkiller, or whatever.

I’m not going to narc on my downstairs neighbors.

I figure if I’m a little loud with my phone calls at 2am they can smoke their loud and we’ll get along well enough. If it gets too much out of control, I may let them know that their hotboxing is not working, but they just moved in probably a week or two ago, so they’re probably figuring things out, too, just like my volume levels.

Did I reset my sobriety counter today? No.

I think of it in the same regards as willingly consuming any substance that may not be harmful for everyone but is harmful for you. For me, it’s the psychological effects that I cannot handle, and so if I can smell it then avoid it as best I can, then I can build up that tolerance against letting it destroy my psyche.

That’s where that overanalysis of sobriety is helpful for me.

If I smelled it in the washer/dryer area, I can close that door, and be fine. If I didn’t… if I willingly smelled for minutes at a time, then, yeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeah boiiiiiiiiiiiii, my sobriety counter might need a reset. When I smelled it in my bathroom some time later, same thing. If I had been in there longer than needed, with 2Pac blasting from their speakers – that they were playing outside of quiet hours to note, then I would let all of that bother me too much.

In an ideal world, I wouldn’t have to deal with this at all.

I would have lungs free from any smoke, but then it just goes from that to cigarette smoke, so is there any real win in a world where we all share this planet with each other? If I lived in complete isolation, then I wouldn’t have to worry about all of this, but even in my physically distant lifestyle where I haven’t driven around in nearly a week, I am still connected to this world and my sober living.

At times, these essays cover topics less about sobriety themselves.

I think it’s all part of a cause-and-effect spectrum, where the lifestyles we live cause us to engage in insobrieties. For most, it’s fine. They don’t harm themselves or others. But for me, and for others like me, we go too far. That’s where having written as much as I have for as long as I have on this topic has helped me, because if I can reduce the triggers that might push me toward sitting in my bathroom and smelling in my downstairs neighbors’s fumes for hours on end just to get a buzz… well, I think I heard of that before.

Life, overall, is going about as well as it can be for me right now.

I have no need to roll the dice?, which is how I consider consuming insobriety items. Sometimes, you might roll a 20 and be fine. That is a dangerous mentality to consider, though, because I don’t want to gamble this life away for some temporary thrill. I’m working hard at the pace I am with my writing to get my escape, so those causes are fewer, and my life can be simpler.

Maybe that means moving to a further isolated part of the world?

Maybe that means finding self-employment? But even then, I would have Earthly concerns from money to life itself. There’s no escaping this. It’s better to learn to tolerate life well enough to cope with these sudden scenarios you’re thrust into, whether it’s smelling some pot, dealing with some other stressful situation at work, or even something everyone else in the world might think is trivial. It’s OK to be offended by things, like those three examples, but it’s not OK to let that ruin your day or your life without fighting back against it. I accept that I cannot change everything. I can just change myself and my attitude toward situations.

Besides, I’d rather focus on writing than being mad.

Quotes: I was going to lead with these quotes between a colleague [2] and me[1], but there were too many words:
“I think I’m in the clear, especially since… my new downstairs neighbors don’t give a f[1]”
“Well that’s good. I’m sure it wasn’t you. With everyone home now I’m sure it’s more noisy than normal. Especially at night[2]”
“Yeah, I bet it was all the parties everyone was throwing.[1]”
“The sad part? That’s actually true lol. My complex there’s always some type of gathering going on. It’s makes me sad that people don’t take it seriously…[2]”.
Sources: My personal and professional experiences.
Inspirations: Current events on a smaller scale.
Related: Other Sober Living essays.
Picture: Template pictures are easier. I could photograph the washer/dryer area, but I don’t care that much to have a unique picture for each essay. If that means the essay isn’t read, well, that’s too bad.
Written On: 2020 April 11 [Midnight to 12:29am. Gdocs.]
Last Edited: 2020 April 12 [Adapted from Gdoc, so, second 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.