I No Longer Ride The Roller Coaster
Some days are better than others when you’re sober. That’s a given. Life on life’s terms, so to speak.
Most days are good. Most days are even-keeled, some would say almost boring, and I’m fine with that.
When I was an active alcoholic, my days were a roller coaster ride of emotions, with treacherous lows and amazing highs.
I’d either be on top of the world, partying it up and feeling like I was invincible when the drink was working and doing it’s thing or I’d wake up with a sense of dread and anxiety so strong it was palpable.
What did I do last night? Who did I offend? How did I get home? Where the fuck am I? Where’s my truck? Is that blood on my shirt?
It was exhausting.
And the only thing that would get rid of the dread was another drink.
That was tough, taking that first drink in the morning. I’d do a shot because the thought of sipping on a beer, which felt like razor blades on my throat, was too much to handle. A shot would be quick, and instantaneous. Once the first one was in me, it’d be easier to get the second one down. Then I could deal with the beer (didn’t want to do three shots first thing in the morning-that’d be something an alcoholic would do, and I wasn’t an alcoholic).
Finally, I’d start to feel some sort of normalcy.
But there were some days when I couldn’t drink. I couldn’t wake up and sneak the hangover away.
Those days were the worst.
My emotions were at the forefront of everything, like a live wire inching dangerously close to open water. Everything was electrified. Everything was sharp and had angles. My head felt like glass and my eyes felt like they were ready to pop out of their sockets. Everything is too bright and everything is annoying. People smile too much. Loud noises set me off. So do sudden movements. Happy people suck.
I can’t quell my restlessness.
The only thing that’ll help is another drink, but on those days, the days when I actually have to be a responsible adult, I have to suck it up.
Of course, as the day drags on and the shakes finally dissipate, the shame and remorse and guilt set in, so now I have to deal with being an emotional wreck too.
I can’t deal with that barrage of garbage though. No thanks. I’m not going to address any of the wreckage I’ve caused. I’ll just get through the day. All I have to do is wait til later, then I can sneak a drink or three, just enough to feel normal.
But today, after being sober for a little while, and after doing a little work on myself, most days are good.
There’s no more roller coaster.
I don’t even entertain the thought of going to the amusement park anymore.
People ask me what I do for fun, now that I’m sober.
“You don’t go to bars. You don’t drink. You don’t smoke pot. So, like, what do you do?”
I live my life.
I walk my dogs. I go to work. I read. I write. I go to meetings. I travel. I help others. I spend time with my family. I go to the library. I exercise. I hang out with my friends.
So no, I don’t go to bars. I don’t go to nightclubs. I don’t drink and I don’t do drugs.
But you know what else I don’t do?
I don’t wake up not knowing where I am. I don’t wake up wondering if I had hurt someone the night before. And, most importantly, I don’t wake up with tears streaming down my face, with the weight of the world on my chest, wanting to end my life because I have no idea how to stop pouring that insidious poison down my throat.
If that constitutes living a boring life, then sign me the fuck up.
Jay Keefe, staff writer at The Addictions Academy
National Academy of Sports Medicine Certified Personal Trainer
Published Author of “And Drink I Did”
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