Monday, August 23, 2010

Day nine hundred and fifty four ... In review.

"Their", "they're" and "there."

What a crazy language.

I am so extremely happy that I only had to learn this whole thing once--at least the basics.

Because, of course, I'm always learning new words and new ways to use them. I'm open to a lot of innovation but I do try to eschew words that have come into rotation due to efficiency, or how I like to call it, laziness.

I have never used the word "trend" as a verb.

If something is "showing a trend" toward such and such then that is what I say. I can scrape up the breath to expend the three extra syllables. And if I can't ... well, I should just take a nap until I'm ready to talk again.

But the English language is so full of rule breaking and contrariness that it just boggles my mind.

Like I said, I'm just glad I only had to learn the basics once and now that I know how to do it it should last me a lifetime.

I've been sober for what I consider a long time. In a few days I'll be able to claim that I have not had a drop to drink for two and a half years. For me, in my world, this is a very long time.

But I've learned this way of living on my own through trial and error. I've come up against gigantic monsters of opportunity to throw it all away and I have prevailed. I don't have a secret weapon. I don't have a rule book. I don't have a pill to take (anymore). And I don't have a mantra to recite.

I just don't drink.

And in saying this it's like saying to myself "I speak English."

Of course I do.

But to someone looking in from the other side--someone who hasn't gotten the chance to learn what it's like to be this way--it's got to be as strange and discomfiting as knowing the words "yes", "no" and "hello", and not much else, and being forced to go about the day amongst the fluent--both native and learned.

There's just no describing it.

When I think back to the days not that long ago when I would wake up at 8 am and pour the last ounce and a half of vodka straight from the liter bottle in the freezer into my waiting mouth below--almost audibly hearing the sizzle of relief on my tongue--and then crawl back into bed until the package store opened up at 9, knowing that no one at work really believed I was sick in the way I was claiming to be when I had called in to the overnight person, well, I guess I think back to those days and I don't really understand how I got there. And this to me is amazing because it was a steady progression for over twenty years of learning the ins and outs of a livelihood of drink. I certainly understand what it ultimately led to but I don't really remember the courses it took.

But it's true, for over twenty years I studied, learned and excelled in this activity bobbing and weaving myriad health problems, professional problems, money problems, love problems, family problems, responsibility problems, societal problems, and general life problems.

In fact the problems after enough time became the norm for me. It was almost as if they became so commonplace that there didn't seem to be anything odd about them being there at all. They just came with the day. They just were part of what happened between the odd few hours of forced unconsciousness.

It was the people without my problem that were the problem.

Yes, the sober fucks who were always offering to show me the ropes of AA were the ones that I really had to watch out for. Those guys would be the ruination of me for sure. Those guys threatened my very existence--my reputation, my relaxation, my reward, my goals--everything I lived for. It was all up for grabs if I caved.

And though I don't subscribe to the methods of said recovery group now I suppose at the time I couldn't really understand that they actually did have the same problems as me ... and still do.

And the rest of the people--the ones who could have three beers and quit for the night--those people were even worse. Because those people were immune. And the immune will never understand the sick fully. They can try to help, and they may even succeed in the short term. But to see people at a party who were enjoying the same vodka and tonic for an hour while I'm hustling down to the package store three minutes before it closes to get a pint that'll get shoved conspicuously in my back pocket and not get shared ... well, there must be something wrong with them. They obviously do not know how to have a good time.

Needless to say, I am only here, alive and on my couch, because someone somewhere helped me home, or took my drink away, or shut me off, or screamed at me and shook me and asked me who the hell I thought I was, or all of the above.

And if one of those people happen to be reading this now--and I'm sure they are, or they will in time--I would like to say thank you.

I live this life now every day without drugs or alcohol. I don't think about it much anymore except to remind myself of what it's all worth. I take a random inventory of my spiritual and tangible assets from time to time and step back in my head and take a deep breath. Predictably, I'll confirm that the only reason I actually have any of it is because I live like I do. Then I'll get back to whatever it was that I was doing and just move along.

I speak a different language now than I used to. It's made up of the same letters of the alphabet just in a different order, and it makes sense to me like I had always hoped for. This world of sobriety is more beautiful than the strongest drug or the most delicious drink. I've tried to describe it here in this blog over the past two and a half years but I don't know if I could ever really fully explain it.

It is its own reward.

But I could easily throw this all away and have to start at the beginning and learn it all over again. All it will take is one screw up. And I only know what I know from doing it the way I have. I don't even have any guidelines or any sort of homework as it were. This makes it both deliciously simple and extremely dangerous at the same time.

My language is a complex one but it's in my head and I use it without thinking.

I just don't drink.

And in saying this it's like saying to myself "I speak English."

Of course I do.

Thanks for reading,