Hello Tuesday, how ya been? By my calculations you and I are now spending time for the 9th time since I quit drinking and hopefully you like it as much as I do. Unlike Wednesday, which has always been the crappiest day for me for reasons I’m not sure of, you’ve never been a problem for me and you’re possibly the day that almost always just slinks by fairly unnoticed. Bit like me, really, so perhaps that’s why we get along as well as we do.
Work is still super boring but I know I’m being a spoilt brat about it so am still focusing on all the really great things about it (it’s easy, relatively pleasant, the people are nice and I get paid) and know it’s just a matter of directing my creativity and any hunger to learn new stuff and be challenged in a direction that feeds my soul where this gig doesn’t. I’m sure the future will unfold in a beautiful way and I’ll soon know where I’m headed so I’m not going to waste time on trying to figure out things that’ll be revealed to me soon anyway. I think when I was still drinking it was a relief not to have to go to a job where my whole brain was ever required so of course now that my whole brain is suddenly available it’s just a tad dull to sit here and do something I really don’t feel passionate about or need to focus to do. Oh well. Perhaps I just have it too easy, there’s probably more truth in that than I want to really recognise. I suppose there’s a part of me that feels a little embarrassed about that – don’t we all want to feel that there was real purpose in our day? Knowing we really did something that mattered. So I guess I find it frustrating sometimes on what seems like stuff that really doesn’t. Not much anyway.
As with anything however, I know it has to come from me. I can’t just sit here and wait for fate to drop a challenge into my lap any more than I expect fate or a Higher Power to keep me sober. And there is where I got to with AA for now I think. As much as I believe in a grand design, energy and intelligence, I also believe we all have a hand in our own fates and although we are sometimes guided and given signs I reckon we also have to find the strength within ourselves to get to where we want to be. What would be the point otherwise?
It’s funny, I was trying to fast forward in time last night when I was out for my hour long walk, if they’re right. That I am what the literature refers to as ‘rebellious’ and that I will at some stage – due to going it on my own – relapse and get myself to an even worse place than the one my drinking already got me to, come back to the rooms with my tail between my legs ready to follow the doctrine to the letter. I wondered and tried to figure out if the fact that I feel good and strong is what they say it is – the disease talking – and that I’ll suddenly both want a drink and also think I’ve solved the problem. I’m not so cocky I believe I’m “better than” anyone or that I have somehow solved the riddle of alcohol abuse so I am absolutely open to the possibility that they’re bang on the money. Maybe in a month or a year or a decade from now, I’ll have learnt that I got it all wrong and that I need AA not just as a tool to focus but as my be all and end all. I’m only doubtful because I don’t want to drink and how I – foolishly perhaps – can’t see how sobriety will be ardous or require effort now or ever.
Case in point: smoking. Or vaping, rather, given I’m these days “only” inhaling some vegetable based nicotine vapour as opposed to your normal mixture of tar, toxins and carcinogens. Anyway, nicotine – also an addictive substance, no? It’s one which has always had much more pronounced abstinence discomfort for me than alcohol ever did. In fact, I don’t know how I can describe the way I craved alcohol beyond a ping! in my head and a thought saying I fancy a drink. Nicotine is stronger in that sense as I get not just pings but actual pangs. Again, this for ME. I only speak for myself here so please don’t – not that I think anyone would be daft enough in the first place! – take this to be How It Is For Everyone or some addiction gospel. The nicotine cravings are similar to hunger pangs actually: a slightly empty, restless feeling which is very much like feeling peckish – you kind of want something so you go to the cupboards or the fridge in search of a snack. Physically I’ve never craved alcohol in that sense but then again that very nightmarish place cannot have been far off so I think we’re just dealing with the mother of all lucky escapes here. Very lucky indeed because for me the psychological pull of alcohol was so powerful it still scares me when I remember how I slayed dragons just to get myself home one evening not too long ago.
But the pings or pangs or pingelifuckingpongs aren’t the problem here. I think for me it’s pretty obvious from the description above that I don’t exactly suffer horrific withdrawal symptoms from my homies Nicy and Alcy. Right? I quit one and I still do the other. Why? Because I still am under the illusion that I enjoy nicotine somehow and yes, I do know how ridiculous that is as it’s an addictive poison like any other: what I enjoy is the relief taking the drug gives me, i.e. the dose that relieves the discomfort caused by the previous one. Nothing else. As with alcohol I know nicotine does absolutely nothing for me and that I still vape for one reason only: because I am addicted to a drug. Nicotine doesn’t relax me, nor does it get me focused. It doesn’t elevate my mood and it doesn’t subdue it. It doesn’t get me high or low or anything at all other than ease the crap I feel when the previous puffs on my e-cigarette tail off. That’s it and that’s what I believe addiction to be. If you wear a pair of shoes that pinch and hurt your feet, it’ll be a relief to take them off. It’s not quite reason enough to buy shoes that don’t fit just for the relief of taking them off though, is it?
Anyway! I am still wanting to vape. So I do. I no longer want to drink. So I don’t. Sometimes I feel ridiculous even writing these things over and over because it’s like I’m making this so much more complicated than it needs to be. Part of that is that I think I expected this to be so much more complicated and that I’d feel a bunch of things I just don’t even when I try. Maybe it’s very, very simple? It appears that way. It walks like a duck and it sounds like a duck, so why am I trying so hard to see if it might – despite every sign to say it isn’t – be something other than a plain, old duck?!
With J, it was no big deal. It was a conversation because I used to drink a LOT and now I don’t. His stance was simply why anyone would bother, EVER. Him not ordering a beer was no big deal and he isn’t giving any thought or analysing things the way I am to what not drinking will mean in the future. Just like there’s no need to sit and analyse to death what it will be like to go through life not eating dog shit. It seems to me I need to find a better use of my time and put this little brain of mine to work analysing stuff that will have at least SOME purpose.
Still not drinking. Still don’t want to. Still can’t tell you a single good thing a glass of wine (or nine) would do for me, I can only tell you about an endless list of horrible shite it’d result in. What’s tempting about that? May as well bang my head against the wall over and over just so I’ll feel how good it is when I stop – getting addicted to that is about as tempting as slowly drowning in Sauvignon Blanc again.
So on balance I’d say we’re all good here, Tuesday. Happy 9th anniversary, my love!