[Tripping On…] Freedom From Sobriety?

“my brain’s a bit fried so […] I’m gonna drop off[1]”
“i feel it[2]”
I’m coming down off a Gabapentin trip to help sort out the lower back and hip problems I’ve been impaired with for the worse part of the past month. This feeling is comfortable but addicting and I can’t concentrate very well. I also don’t feel the inherent desire I once did to indulge in anything more today… am I free from sobriety?

This body high feels like the highs I used to get before I became sober.

I wonder if the main reason I overindulged then was because I was fundamentally unhappy with my life as it was. Things are better now that I’m seven-plus years into my life and my sobriety. I have friends that care about my and acquaintances that are nice to me. I joined an ENDLESS WAR voice chat and someone said “Zombiepaper!” which put me in a good headspace. I didn’t know how to respond, mainly because I don’t have my mic set up other than talking to my laptop, and my brain is fried.

Here’s how the sensation is like.

Say you’re watching a video about something. Then your mind has this clear picture of some music video, in this case, it was “Warning” by Incubus, that you last watched at least fifteen years ago. You can picture the office, the band, and the screaming girl all while you’re watching this other video, so you go plop over to “Warning” and watch that whole video. But picture this for everything. You’re doing one thing, then this other thing captures the entirety of your attention, and you’re left with nothing done.

Writing this essay is hard because I have so many distracting non-distractions.

That’s what I call those unimportant elements. My body is telling me that it’s hungry and has biological needs, except I know that these are false signals because I’m satiated enough. It’s my mind’s response to these misfiring signals that are going on in my brain. After I’m done with this essay, I’ll get some food, and I should be fine. I wonder, though, can I handle this sort of mindset in moderation? I don’t feel like digging into my Tylenol-Acetaminophen/Codeine today because I don’t need it much. It would be more of a trip report than an actual necessity.

Arguably, I needed the Gabapentin this morning.

My head and back were hurting, so I took it, and maybe it’s because I took it on essentially an empty stomach, but it hit me far harder than it had a few days ago. Yet the thing is, despite enjoying this feeling, I don’t want more of it, which is the main difference between how I was like and how I’m like now. Could I handle a beer or a smoke? These are dangerous questions to ask.

I do feel like it’s worth asking.

Before, I feared the worst would happen. I feared that I would be violent because I was violent. I haven’t acted truly violent or harmful since before I took up this path of sobriety but it’s also because I’ve been sober that I haven’t dug into those deepest parts of myself to find that violence and harm that is within me. I’m calling that angry part of myself Gaba. I got a little distracted when I took the photo of my physical representation of Gaba, a simple post-it with my smiley avatar but frowning, so it’s easy to replicate anywhere, but I wonder, is Gaba still malicious now that I’m in my 30s?

I would almost hazard to say yes, but it’s difficult to say.

I’ve been nearly stoned over the past week since I first started taking Gabapentin. It’s a different high than the ones I’ve been used to over the years, but it feels cleaner. I can concentrate better on this medication than others. I guess that’s the thing. When I was in my mid-20s, or whatever, living fast and loose, I’d get whatever I could. It wouldn’t matter the dose or the medication. The chemical reactions, especially with my raging hormones, led me down some interesting roads.

I don’t know if I want to go down all those same roads.

Will Gaba still be pushing me to my limit now? He could be acting polite to me now because he really hasn’t been out in over seven years. He’s still assessing the world. Perhaps looking to see how he can reel in more energy for himself to make himself a bigger residence in my life? At the same time, though, it’s important not to ignore our Gabas, because then they will grow. It’s almost like when you have an angry monster like this deep inside of you, you always want to check in on them, feed them a little, but just enough so they survive.

This is the duality of Sober Living and Media Meandry.

They both treat Gaba from different angles. SL approaches Gaba more head-on to see why he is feeling the way he is and why he’s dragging me down. MM is more like the calming bait to where Gaba can be satiated through distraction with something enjoyable. I am soon to conclude my time off from work, and when I return to work, I will have to learn to address Gaba in these sorts of ways, because now, he has nothing hugely anxious or negative to bite into. Once I start working, almost immediately, there will be some anxiety or negativity that Gaba will have a feast gnawing apart.

I worry about this most of all.

There is no easy way to live in this life as an addict, but I have to do so as best I can, shielding myself away from the external forces that accidentally or purposefully try to break me down, while treating that internal force, Gaba, that tries to break me down.

I don’t think having more Gabapentin will satiate this hunger for cooked salmon.

Quotes[1,2] Me, then taco, in ENDLESS WAR.
Sources: My personal experiences.
Inspirations: My writing calendar showed me that this was the 4th of July so I was like, hey, why don’t I jam on the idea of freedom from sobriety concerns?
Related: Sober Living essays and Tripping On [The American Healthcare System] chapters. Media Meandry’s a stretch.
Photo: Gaba’s temporary look and location on my laptop. I’ll figure out a more permanent spot for him later.
Written On: 2020 May 17 [5:23pm to 6:05pm]
Last Edited: 2020 May 17 [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.