There is an amendment to yesterday’s post that I felt like I needed to add at the end of this morning’s update. It’ll be at the bottom. Thanks for reading, as always!
Recovery has brought so many gifts into my life that I forget to acknowledge the things that it’s removed. This morning, I’ve been thinking about the negative people, places, things, and feelings that are no longer a part of my life in sobriety. The list is quite long, so I’ll just touch on a few in this post. I hope my sober allies can identify with this list and if you can think of anything in your own life that sticks out, feel free to share! We might have it in common.
For years, I accepted “easy” friendships. Do you know what I mean? Real friendships require that you put in work to benefit the people you love and vice versa. Easy friendships are when you happen to fall in with people and there is rarely any emotional or intellectual connection… you’re just lost together. Often they’re cynics, complaining constantly about their problems. I received no benefit from these friendships; if anything, they dragged me down. When I got sober, I cut all of these people loose and never looked back. A few of them have reached out recently and not only have their lives not improved, but they’ve also gotten worse in many cases. I’ve no doubt that if I had continued to spend time with them, I’d be drinking again by now.
Alcohol is a depressant. We all know that. I’m also a big coffee and soda drinker (pop to those of us in the midwest). During my time in the trenches, I had a cycle where I’d get savagely drunk one day and then drink energy drinks and soda to try to perk myself up during my hangover. The combined effects of caffeine and alcohol withdrawal would frequently give me massive panic attacks that could not be stopped because they were chemical instead of mental. My hands would go numb, I’d start slurring my speech like I was still drunk, and I could feel my heart beating at what felt like 200BPM. It felt awful. But, if I didn’t drink caffeine, I’d be too exhausted and depressed to do well at my job which I needed to fill my alcohol and gaming habits.
Obesity and Weakness
McDonald’s and I were best friends while I was a drunkard. Between the ages of 26 and 37, at which age I finally quit drinking, I went from 155 to 220lbs… pretty rapidly. Since I basically sat on my butt playing video games all day while drinking, I also wasn’t in great physical shape. Truly, the only reason I had any upper body strength at all was that I managed a restaurant which involved putting away heavy cases of meat and produce. All-day I’d sweat alcohol, reeking of rotten ethanol. My beer gut hung over my pants as my underwear carved a daily indentation into my corpulent body. I had bigger breasts than some of the women I’d dated! The month I quit drinking I lost 15lbs immediately, even though I was consuming candy and carbs like a madman. I’m now a comfy 178, much stronger than I was, and my A-cup breasts went away.
Being Shattered by Poverty
In fairness, I do make a little bit more money than I did when I was drinking, but not significantly more. Even so, I now pay my bills with ease and can still afford to have some fun whereas before, I could barely afford food for the week after the money I spent on alcohol. I used to tell people that I didn’t know how I could possibly be considered “above the poverty line” because I never had money. Now that I see how much money I spent on alcohol and its related costs like binge drunk-eating and impulse buys (around $600 a week) it’s fairly plain. I’m not perfect… I still have impulse purchases and sometimes I indulge a little too much on fast food! But it’s far less frequent than it used to be and I actually put money into savings every week for the first time in my life.
I can’t imagine drinking again. Every time a small craving comes up, which I consider more a feeling of boredom than wanting to drink, the actual thought of giving in and drinking makes me physically sick to my stomach. I’ve said that before and it’s still true. It happened just yesterday… I walked by the alcohol aisle in the supermarket and thought back to what it was like to sit in front of my computer and drink a whole case of beer and I felt almost a dry heave building in the back of my throat (sorry if that’s gross it’s just true!). I don’t miss it. I’ll never miss it. Life is going too well.
Amendment to yesterday’s post “The Prince”: I cross-post some of my posts on Facebook, usually the ones that aren’t centered around alcoholism because I know a lot of alcoholics who are in denial and it triggers them instantly. To be honest, I try not to post anything on Facebook other than my photography and yesterday was a good example of why.
So, if you’ve read yesterday’s post, I talked about how Machiavelli stated that cruelty has a purpose in the life of a prince when used strategically. Then I said that, while I don’t condone violence, I agree in a certain sense that one can and should attack detractors swiftly and with finality so as to ensure the situation is dissolved permanently. Naturally, being Facebook, someone ignored everything I said about nonviolence and stated that I “must be a fascist” (anytime someone on social media says “you must be…” you can be sure everything following will be verbal diarrhea). Still, I am grateful for the feedback because it showed me that I did not clarify my position adequately enough. It bothered me all day because I am trying to improve my rhetorical skills, doubly so because my current college course is on rhetoric!
Let me clarify what I was saying. If you are being bullied or if someone in your workplace or even personal life (happens more often at work for me) tries to behave as though they are your superior, it is important to act immediately to rectify the situation, else it may persist forever. It is easier to knock someone down a few pegs on the front end than to come back months later and say “hey… by the way I don’t like what you’re doing”. By then, the power dynamic has already been established and they feel justified in what they’re doing. That’s all I was trying to say.
I hope that clarifies things. It’s basically what I said to my Facebook “friend” (never met him) and he never responded so I imagine it is resolved.