Sunday, June 10, 2012

1 Day, 1 Year, 1 Life at a Time: I'm Staying Sober

"henry's mind grew blacker the more he thought."  ~ John Berryman, Dream Song 147

It is easy for people like me to fall into addiction. As of May 30, I have been sober for 1 year. The result is that I don't wake up daily wanting to kill myself for being unable to control my demons, but there is still a creeping dread that waits around every corner.

For 5 years, I medicated myself. Medicated to ward off psychic pain caused by the suicide of a dear friend, to cope with the internal emptiness that was the result of accepting the fact that I no longer believed in God, and medicated to provide myself with some kind of commercial break for my mad full time pursuit of a college degree while I was also working a full time bank job. Medicated as well, to ward off that ever looming question: 'What if you fail?'.

Now I'm clean, but goddammit, I still have the same mind. No escaping it. I'm less impulsive the farther away I get from alcohol, and the mood swings are less intense and fewer, but they're still there. I cannot stop thinking. At some moments, life seems too short. There's so much beauty, so much potential, so many wonderful moments. Other moments, life seems horribly long. An expanse of drudgery, humiliation, and all kinds of potential pitfalls and failures stretched out forever and ever. There are so many things wrong with me--and the things that I can have an impact on...the obstacles can seem insurmountable. And then there are the things that are way bigger than me; things that I can only quietly seethe and rage about. Write a blog about. Bite my fingernails. There's a lot of that stuff too.

My 1 year anniversary of sobriety didn't come with a lot of mental confetti and balloons dropping from the ceiling. I'm  a landmark kind of guy, so making it to a year feels good. But it's just one year. There are many, many more years ahead (hopefully), and nowhere to hide. I've given up the only place I could hide from my own mind in.

And what a mind! What a vicious, horrible, calculating thing. Always examining the angles, second guessing the decisions, reading into every motivation of myself and everyone else, always trying--like a good chess player--to plan 8 or 9 moves ahead. What do you do with a machine like my mind? I am grim company. 

Another quotation I found in John Berryman's 'Dream Songs':

"No interesting project can be embarked on without fear. I shall be scared to death half the time." ~ Frank Chichester 
 Life is interesting, and I am sufficiently scared.


Lodo Grdzak said...

Keep it going yo!!!

the elegant ape said...

every new dawn a alpha
every dusk a omega
every day clean a triumph
every day sober a gift...............