When I first got sober for the first time (and every time thereafter really), one of the first, pervasive thoughts I had was, “My GOD, what do normal people do for fun?” In my world, leisure = drinking. For a long, long time it was difficult to fathom having an interesting time/life without that time/life necessarily involving some sort of mind-altering substance. I couldn’t imagine an existence without looking forward to an after-work drink. I couldn’t imagine living without an escape.
It’s flawed thinking, but I think it’s typical thinking in a culture that romanticizes and glamorizes drinking. It’s the thing to do. A beer in my hand relaxed me and, at the risk of sounding cliché, it made me feel cool.
Days pass. My clean time gets longer. I cannot think too far ahead because, truth be told, the thought of never again having a Grey Goose makes me feel uncomfortable as hell. And yet, things are kinda…. good. Things feel really good when I remind myself how utterly awful using was, especially at the end. It was a familiar misery, though, and at the beginning of sobriety I felt like I had lost my best friend. The good had been dependable, but the despair also had been dependable. There’s a void when you quit using and for me, being clean means learning how to fill that void in a way that doesn’t… kill me.
My disease still talks to me. It’s in my head and it’s insidious, telling me that I can control it, that I can moderate myself. I can’t, and I know that. I will never be able to use successfully. And so I tell it to shut the fuck up.
Today is the Kaiser’s fifth birthday party. I’m not hung over. It’s 9:30 and I’ve walked the dogs, had a bagel and coffee and watched Meet the Press. A mundane life? No, it feels rather beautiful. I am not hung over.
Oh, you came to see the dogs and not to hear my musings on being clean? My baaaad.