Two days ago was my one-year anniversary to the day that I decided to quit drinking and… Jesus Christ, what a year it’s been. Since then, I moved from Long Beach to Silver Lake to Tucson, AZ where I bought a house after I lost my job after 11 years. Two days ago, on the anniversary, I got two offers for a new job and my wife celebrated her two-year work anniversary. It’s been a lot of things. I’ve been feeling a lot of good emotions.
When I first quit drinking, I was never particularly afraid of having intense cravings or having everything fall apart on me because I didn’t have a means of dulling my senses. What I was most afraid of was that my friends and my family would think less of me because now I’m openly admitting that I have a problem. It’s easy enough for me to simply not drink, but my weakness is in vanity and in having people take pity on me when I’m not in a pitiful situation. I’m happy and so thankful that no one ever did that to me. When I would say something to the effect of, “No, thanks, I’m not drinking anymore,” when someone would offer me a drink, I received nothing but support. That, I think, was essential for me being able to remain sober for a year now.
Reflecting on that time, too, the twelve months I’ve been without a drink, I think about all the wild ups and downs I’ve had. I’ve felt cocky in my recovery, I’ve felt afraid, I’ve been everything in between. But the more I learn, the more I realize I don’t know shit. Writing these essays, as I’ve said before, is a big help for me, personally, because it helps me take this tangled mess of vague feelings and form it into something halfway coherent, even if I don’t write these essays with any sort of regularity–only times when I have a burning need to get my thoughts committed to something tangible.
Three months ago, I said goodbye to my job of 11 years and it took me about two and a half months of solid searching and job interviews to finally find a new one. I interviewed with a lot of bad companies, a lot of shitty organizations that wanted to dangle full-time employment in front of my face like an unattainable carrot and with one company that I really, really wanted to work with, only to have them tell me I did not receive the job, after being put through the wringer. I went on two interviews, wore a fucking suit, brought my A-game material, wrote a thank you email, provided them with a writing sample, only to not get the goddamn thing. They had another opening I thought I was suited for, applied, and was immediately dismissed, even after I wrote a thoughtful message thanking them for their time. Devastating.
Right now, I begin Monday for a tentative job I’m weighing, but think I’ll like. If it works out, I’ll stay on with them indefinitely. I appreciate that they interviewed me once, told me they really, really liked me, and gave me a start date the next week. I also got a job elsewhere, with someone much larger, and much more corporate, and they kind of dicked me around, putting me through hours and hours of interviews and a drug test where they took out huge clumps of my hair. If things don’t work out, I can start there at the end of January, but I’m hoping I can politely tell them I found something else. I’m taking a $1 an hour pay cut so that I can have weekends and holidays.
Today is my last Friday of unemployment. I’m sad things didn’t work out with my last job, but at least I was able to stash enough of a savings through my 401k that I was able to spend three months off in relative financial comfort. The bills got paid, I ate some good food, and I had time to watch a lot of TV I wanted to watch. I drew some, I read some, I wrote some, and my “Level of shit I can take” meter has been reset to a zero. I’m ready to go back to work and I’m looking forward to not writing any more sappy cover letters telling some soulless corporation how I excited I am for the opportunity to grovel at their feet, only to be ghosted without even the courtesy of a fucking rejection. I tell ya, there’s little worse than the misadventures of looking for employment that’s halfway decent.
What sucks is that even after everything, I still feel a little guilty for having to tell one of these jobs I won’t be working for them, even though I know they’d have no issue feeding me to the wolves if it ever came to that.
Oh, well, work, life and sobriety are a land of many contrasts.
Speaking of “drawing some” here’s a picture I drew. It’s some of Tim Burton’s early 90s Christmas movie characters having a party together. Merry Christmas, everyone!