Sobriety Thread: It’s Been A While Edition

The most interesting thing about sobriety for me is constantly learning how much I have to learn.  I feel like my last post on the subject had an air of cockiness about it.  At 6 months, I’d clearly experienced wild highs, lows and everything in between, and I remained sober, so clearly, I got this shit.  I’m now at over 8 months sober and while I have remained sober, and haven’t relapsed, I feel a little more confident that I don’t know nearly as much as I think I do.  If you’re trying to wrap your head around the paradox of feeling confident over an awareness of lack of confidence, yeahhhh…. me, too.  Welcome to my brain.

In these 8 months of sobriety, I moved from Long Beach to LA, now I’m in the process of moving again.  Life hasn’t been particularly easy, and I’m glad I haven’t drank, because dealing with any of this shit with a hangover or a, “Fuuuuck this, I’m not dealing with it today,” attitude would have been catastrophic.  I don’t feel like going into detail about the move, or about too many of the stressors I have going on, because for as rational a person I like to think of myself as being, I’m surprisingly superstitious and I don’t want to jinx anything.  I just hope if I remain sober, if I keep plugging away at shit, with the help of my wife, that in a month from now I’m just sort of like, hey, sweet, that bullshit is over.  And even if not, even in a nightmare scenario, I have a plan titled, “Nightmare Scenario Contingency Plan.”

In my last post, too, I mentioned that I used these as a form of therapy.  Today moreso than any other post in recent history, I’m using it as a means of therapy.  Sometimes it feels good to just sort of open myself up raw, put it all out there that life is in a transitional period, that I’m scared as hell for my future, and I desperately hope that everything works out okay.

These days, my confidence isn’t what it usually is, but one thing I do feel confident about is that I know for a fact that drinking would not help me in this situation.  Knowing me, knowing myself, and knowing how I feel after getting drunk, I’d have a few hours of, “Heyyyy, who gives a shit?” euphoria, followed by a solid day or two of feeling like ass, both mentally and physically.  A few beers wouldn’t have done it.  I would have had to have gotten drunk, to properly numb myself.  And even then, I’d probably take a few sly sips of something else on the side to really get myself good and drunk, and pretend I only drank a 6-pack, to have an illusion of some sort of control over my life.

I have been tempted to smoke, and almost did, but my wife talked me out of it.  What’s so fucking stupid though is smoking doesn’t do anything to alleviate my stress.  I know that, but since I was a smoker for 16 years of my life, it’s just sort of always in the back of my mind as an option.  I had a cheat cigarette a couple months ago and it didn’t do shit then and I pitched it half-smoked, tongue feeling mossy.  Part of the frustrating addiction to nicotine is the absurd brainwashing into believing it’s basically a cure-all for everything life throws your way.  It convinces you it’s amazing at calming you down, but also at waking you up, for giving you something to do when you’re bored.

How do you all deal with stress?  I used to rely on external stimulants like smoking and drinking, but since that’s not an option for me anymore, I usually go for a walk, talk it out endlessly with my wife (again and again, repeating my same fears until they feel less and less ominous), and I write these essays.  I like to draw, too, but that’s not something I can do when I’m feeling angsty.  I need to be in a good place for that.  Eventually, though, I’d like to incorporate some of my drawings into these pieces.  I’ve said before that I still partake with smoking weed occasionally, but it absolutely is the last goddamned thing I want when I’m stressed.  Weed is great for me when I’m already in a good headspace and just need to unwind.

It’s funny where life takes you.  One year ago, I was settling into my new life, finally back in California after over a decade.  I had a drinking problem I told myself was something I just had to get better at.  Today, it looks like that time has come to an end, and I feel a lot more in control of my life.  And, as weird and as fucked up and contradictory as it is, I take comfort in knowing how little I actually know, that I have miles and miles left to go, and even then I still won’t know shit.