I don’t remember what stressed me out enough to possess me to drive home on my lunch break, drink enough 190-proof grain alcohol to get wasted almost immediately, before driving back into work to finish my shift. That event’s cleared out of my memory. It was certainly trivial, like someone saying something in a particular way I didn’t like or some process not working as it should, because I’ve encountered many harsher situations while sober.
I wasn’t yelled at by an authority figure.
It wasn’t a parent yelling at me in a parking lot because I was late. It wasn’t a manager yelling at me because I pointed out the obvious. It wasn’t a manager yelling at me because I failed to do something. It wasn’t a manager yelling at me because of a received lack of ownership on my part over work that wasn’t even entirely within my job description. It wasn’t a manager yelling at me over nothing, numerous times, all the while being as manipulative as possible.
I wasn’t yelled at by a customer.
It wasn’t the caller that kept me in an endless conversation loop, increasing the stress significantly with each loop, until I was able to break from the call, throw a stress ball across the room, and run down a fire escape to remove myself from that environment temporarily. It wasn’t the caller rude enough for me to accidentally raise my voice, offending someone that had no business in the conversation. It wasn’t all the people demanding my attention without respect.
I wasn’t in physical danger.
It wasn’t the empty server rack that, as we three were loading it into the truck, shifted off its platform, sliding chaotically forward toward our necks. It wasn’t the pallet jack that rammed into my knee. It wasn’t the building that, after walking around in it for five minutes, would make me sick enough to legitimately need to call out sick the next day. It wasn’t the moldy trailers at the thrift store. It wasn’t the many knicks and cuts I’ve received over the years at various jobs.
I wasn’t in emotional danger.
It wasn’t the anxiety attack’s medical bills. It wasn’t the betrayal of friends, acquaintances, or professional contacts. It wasn’t the realization that people I had placed my trust in were not trustworthy. It wasn’t the realization that even after I’d learned that lesson of not freely handing out trust to people, that certain people will still act in ways that suit their interests rather than our interests. It wasn’t the many rejections I’ve received, professionally and personally.
I wasn’t even directly inconvenienced.
Whatever was said during that phone call that possessed me to drink that much everclear wasn’t unusual. Just another day at the office. That’s the scariest part. When you know your enemy, you can defend yourself. You can counter their offenses and win. I will never know what that “enemy” attacked me with that fateful day.
Hopefully, my defenses are strong enough now.
|Sources: My personal experiences.
Inspirations: The need to tell this story.
Photo: An unrelated somewhat clear day, since I couldn’t figure out a good related photo.