Grateful Sunday (Christmas Edition) #39: The Gift of Sobriety

I’m writing in covert mode, tapping very lightly on my laptop keys…because I should be sleeping right now, and it would be tragic if Santa did not visit our house because I scared him off with my night blogging.  Very grateful to be at home with my family this year, though.  Last year at this time I was nearing the final stretch of my stay at Tully Hill so I was fairly well acclimated to being inpatient and away from home, but it was still not the most comfortable holiday I’ve ever experienced.  I did however thoroughly enjoy the company of the other individuals who I shared Christmas celebrations with – some of whom were parents themselves, with small children at home.  No easy choice to be sheared away from your young progeny, but I was proud to stand next to men and women who knew that what they were fighting for then would ultimately be best and healthiest for them and their families in the long-term.

We got a very unique gift last holiday season, as well.  In some ways, sobriety is really a gift that only you can give to yourself.  But rehab provided us with the tools, resources, and insight that would allow us to hold on to that gift, to nurture it in its frail, vulnerable state.  Few struggling addicts are fortunate enough to catch a glimpse of the clean life; even fewer are able-bodied & mentally stable enough to more permanently possess it.  Wherever my conceptualizations of spirituality lie at present, I believe I have been granted a small miracle in the form of my recovery.  It still feels surreal to me at times, that my once-radically warped reality has been shaken free of the impenetrable blackness to reveal an entirely new sphere of existence.

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This still does not mean that all the evils of the world are absolved, and all pain and ill will have exited my body.  A universal truth about humanity (or at least the culture/society we currently prescribe to) that is cementing itself throughout the cracks in my mind is: we are all afraid, and we must all deal with that fear in one way or another.  It is not only the methods of coping but the actual fears themselves that can differ immensely from person to person; however, we’re still all in one big shitheap of extreme discomfort and uncertainty together.  “C’est la vie,” said the old folks – it goes to show you never can tell.

What does this mean?  How are we to deal with this inescapable plight?  Well for a while alcohol did a fine job of stoking the flames and chasing away the darkness, soothing the erratic and sometimes irrational worries of the id.  But used as a militant force long enough, bottle after bottle after bottle will awaken the ancient demons of the ego.  It is not a sustainable model.  I recently came across a think-piece essay that was actually an introduction to another article about one of my favorite topics (the ever-evolving Internet landscape).  My generation (“millenials”), as previously noted, has gotten a fair amount of flak of late for being “lazy and narcissistic” and a whole shitheap of other condescending terms bestowed upon us by people who neither really understand us nor care to take the time to.

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“Unless they are also people who work in an Internet-related industry and thus have egotistical reasons for wanting to pretend that any of this stuff actually has meaning or significance, there is no way that the members of your family know or care about Bustle.com or misandry or bronies or anything else that you count on to fill up the space in your head that would be otherwise used to face the fact that you are going to die.

This is all the detritus you heap value on to camouflage emptiness, and your family doesn’t have any idea what any of it means because they have chosen to keep themselves unaware of their inevitable demise through more popular and accepted forms of death-denial such as sports or reality television or partisan politics. Or, if they’re super-boring, the state of the novel.

It is all garbage that we are focusing on to help distract ourselves from the horrors of existence or to fool ourselves into feeling that the things we are doing as occupations have some sort of impact or worth on lives beyond our own. Actually, it is less than garbage, which at least has physical presence and some level of value, no matter how minor—what you deal with daily is essentially air, blown about from person to person before disappearing forever and leaving no trace.”

Well, shit.  What a horribly depressing way to examine my lifestyle!  Some of the language above may be a little exaggerated…but then again maybe not.  It’s no wonder so many people my age (i.e. mid-20’s) tend to fall back on default drinking to try to understand any of that fucking nonsense.  The point is, we’re all just looking for a tiny bit of light to gravitate toward, shimmering very faintly at the end of a long, dark tunnel.  What’s amazing is that I no longer HAVE TO rely on a substance-crutch for that.  Oh there’s no question I’m still working out what “happiness” truly means and it may be a long while before it wholly comes to me, but I feel like I’m slowly working my way up the levels…perhaps eventually to a state of nirvana?  Wouldn’t that be a hoot?

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Regardless of what death holds, it remains the operative goal to stay ever-vigilant and ever-grateful.  I spent the first three or so weeks of the month engaged in what I’d almost describe as a “courtship dance” with a local AT&T branch, for a sales consultant position.  Which I was ultimately denied.  And honestly it was a position I had no real enthusiasm for, minus the salary.  I’m getting rejected from jobs I DON’T EVEN WANT.  Beggars can’t be choosers, etc. etc., but damn.  So this has kind of thrown me for a funk the past week or two (during which I have had no shifts); I was REALLY looking forward to quitting my even-more meaningless job in favor of some actual advancement.  Finding motivation to adamantly continue searching job postings and applying to them – hell, motivation to do much of anything – has been an exercise in futility.  I’m SO sick of this process.  But you know what won’t get me hired?  Laying about and bitching to no one who wants to hear it.  And it was because I DID have a paycheck from my “meaningless” job that I was able to afford some nice Christmas gifts for my family this year.  Silver linings, folks.  Onwards and upwards.

Now, to cop some Z’s. I’m due to get up and make breakfast burritos in a few hours…something that in the past I probably would have either slept through or been too hungover to attend to pleasantly.  Cheers to Sober Santa!  Merry Christmas y’all; be good to your family, y’all.

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