Saturday, October 11, 2008

Rope burns traced with devil's fingerbones

It's funny how so easily I can trade one vice for another.  I am in bed under a warm down comforter nursing a bottle of cough syrup.  Funny for a few reasons.  For one, and as the far most important point, I don't particularly enjoy cough syrup or the hazy fog is gives me but I've been fighting a terrible cold for two weeks that has now dropped into my lungs.  For second, and also important to note, at this time I would generally be nursing a hot toddy or more likely a straight glass of whiskey on my more usual sick nights.  Perhaps sobriety has done some good.  My body is definitely thanking me, my kidneys have not failed and I'm having less pains in my stomach.  My memory has been shit in these twenty-some-odd days but it's been worth it.  I carry around a small pad of Hello Kitty paper that I've kept notes, some elaborate, some of no more importance than what I would like for lunch that day.  Nonetheless it's been a great help.  And everyone I've spoken to with any amount of sobriety under their belts have said the first couple of months are particularly difficult.  

Which brings me to a very crucial thing I must state, and please believe this is not a statement made in vain or self denial, this is a discovery I made about twelve minutes into my first AA meeting:  I AM NOT AN ALCOHOLIC.  I'm simply not, I can go many stretches without drinking, I can have one drink, I don't have any situation of significance involving drunken lunacy in public (privately is a different matter).  No one in my life believes I need AA, which is making the commitment that much more of a challenge.  My mother continues to get completely shit-faced in my presence not truly understanding the struggle I am dealing with.  I just simply felt the drinking was out of control, I felt the wake-up-take-a-swig-of-whiskey-to-numb-the-aching-throat-from-cough was a bit unmanageable.  It just all felt wrong and I can't pinpoint an exact second I realized I had a problem but I will be the first to admit my addiction issues are far less severe than 9 out of 10 people in Alcoholics Anonymous. 

Sobriety is in some senses quite refreshing.  I handled beers all day at work one weekend and didn't drink.  I wanted to, but I held off despite the crack of the cans opening all around me.  I watched bands play that night, amazing musicians filled with rock'n'roll fury barely witnessed once a year, and I was free of toxins.  Seeing a band I love play with no booze, no weed, no hallucinogens or any of that in my system was incredible.  I couldn't believe the jolt I got from the music alone.

And so be it.  I would like to think one day I can switch to a social drinker in full control living life gracefully and undertaking a night of drinking with caution and care but more than that I hope that I will always remember what it's like to feel this way.  What it's like to know that I'm not destroying my body from the inside out.

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