I actually had a bit of a difficult time getting to this essay and finding some time to sit down and write it. Not because I’ve been so busy with this or with that—I have been, but I can always find time to write when I really need it—it’s that I haven’t been filled with the overwhelming need to write about where I am in my progress in sobriety. I don’t mean to say I’ve got it all figured out (I don’t), it’s that at this point, life just sort of finds a way to forge a new normal.
My 6-month anniversary of not drinking was earlier this month and it just sort of came and went, no big deal. I made a much bigger deal of my 100th day, where my wife took me out to Olive Garden, because I’d never been. I finally got to try those bread sticks people talk about! This month was probably a much bigger deal in reality; it just didn’t feel like one. Not in a bad way, not in a melancholic, “Where do I go from here?” type of moment, more in a feeling that drinking to deal with the stress in my life isn’t really an option anymore.
Almost a month ago, maybe three weeks ago I want to say, I got word that my job at work isn’t really going to be a thing anymore and in anywhere between six months and a year, I’m probably going to be without a job. I don’t know if I’m getting severance. I don’t know if they’re going to offer me another position. All I know are vague murmurs from similar things that have happened to other people. So, I’m incredibly stressed out and sad about that, but hey! Drinking was never really something that crossed my mind. I did, however, smoke one cigarette, and it was gross. It was like an American Spirit wannabe, so it also lasted fucking forever, and I ditched it about half unsmoked.
Not that long ago, grabbing a 6-pack would have been a no-brainer. And that’s fine, I think. I think getting drunk as a means of dealing with a shitty situation is not necessarily a bad thing to do. There’s a reason booze is as popular as it is. You get to turn your brain off for a little bit and put your problems on hold. My problem is that I would have looked forward to getting the bad news, in a sick way, so that I’d have an excuse to drink more. And if I got caught lying to my wife about how much I’d really had to drink, trying to downplay my drunkenness and try my best not to slur, I could always be like, “Hey, I got really bad news at work, okay?” But I didn’t do that. I’ve come too far to risk everything again for so little reward. I can’t make my wife feel anxious about going out to a sewing class, with the idea of me getting shit-faced at home while I’m alone in the back of her head.
Writing these essays is a terrific way for me to kinda open myself up, spill it all out and realize things about myself that I hadn’t even considered. Sometimes I let myself go on total autopilot while I write and then take the main thread of it, run with that, and edit out everything else that’s superfluous. So yes, Dear Reader, I’m using you as an inexpensive means of therapy.
I still plan on writing these essays as often as I need to, but probably with a lot less regularity. I like to consider where I am in my life right now, and where I am is that I’m sort of at a crossroads with what to do with my future and I’m giving thoughtful consideration to everything. I have a plan with what to do in a best-case scenario, and I have a plan for how to deal with a worst-case scenario. I’m sure no matter what happens, unexpected things are going to happen, plans are going to go at least slightly awry, and I’m going to have to improvise.
No matter what ends up happening, though, I’m happy to know I haven’t been dying for a beer or a cigarette. I’m just sort of going through it, one day at a time. Sometimes shit gets really stressful, but that “one day at a time” idea really does help. The idea of “forever” is this daunting concept, but if do little babysteps a la Bill Murray in What About Bob? it all seems a little less terrifying.