If “The Story” is my writing end goal, why distract myself with so much? The rowing makes sense because it’s good to be healthy. Why not compress it down? Spend that time studying fiction? Read the classics? Take classes, write drafts, send them out for criticism, revise, and learn the craft? Well, the thing about John (left) and Trishna (right) is that they’re two shades of our reality spectrum, and their story references it all.
“Don’t go to the dark side.” “I’ve been there. It’s not really fun. I’ve been trying my best ever since to not go back[1,2].” Since becoming sober nearly 5 years ago, most of my actions have been about making the world a better place. I’ll act selfishly sometimes to avoid going back to the dark side, otherwise, my actions mostly center around helping others: acting without judgement, lending a hand, or even just not being shitty.
What’s your comfortable limit? How much until you say to yourself “that’s enough” and actually call it enough? Do you know at what point you’ll go too far? For me (and possibly others), there’ll be an excuse planned out rather than a plan to excuse myself from the situation. We’ll take it as far as it’ll last. Even Wednesday, with an endlessly refilled coffee cup, I know I still have improvement room with my resolve.
“What did that [overhead announcement] mean? It sounded cool!” “It meant [basically] in 30 minutes, all hands on deck[1,2].” Coming up on 5 years ago, I was just bumming around in life, and ended up working at a thrift store for the hell of it. While looking for new junk is my primary reason for going, I also like going to remind myself of the times I hopped into gnarly trailers full of donations to salvage rarities.
Words mean nothing when you’re stressed out and longing for that familiar, harmful way to decompress. Even close to five years later, the numbness of having a drink or five is still ingrained in my psyche as the ideal evening. We must instead practice alternative actions. Since I don’t think as clearly in the evenings, after constantly confronting stress, I go to sleep early to subconsciously wade through that stress to arrive at actionable solutions.
In ten years, how will sobriety look? Not just mine, but our scientific understanding of addiction? We have antidepressants, anti-anxieties, antipsychotics, and SSRIs to potentially destroy our free-will to dampen our emotions. How about something less extreme? Will we have a pill addressing only the physical reactions to stress… possibly causing addiction? Will stories of insobriety still weigh me, and everyone, down? Will polite society become more accepting? Will we see sobriety root cause analysis?
My annual review comes up in March. Five years with “the company.” Five years of arriving ready to work, punching in the proverbial clock of redemption, every single day, regardless of how much I feel like calling in sick to escape into a daytrip of entertainment and debauchery. Part of what I’ve learned over these past few years is that if I find myself out of work, I must immediately get another gig lined up.