Thirteen months ago to the day I started what I thought might be a few weeks, certainly no more than one or two months, of a part-time wage-labor job which required commuting from home to various retail chains around New York state. It was about as far removed from any career-type aspirations as it could be, and for that reason I hoped it would be much more temporary than it was. I look back on that time with no regrets, however, because 1) C.R.E.A.M. get the money, dolla dolla bill y’all [Cash Rules Everything Around Me] and 2) that was where I needed to be at that time in my life — with a relative amount of autonomy and independence, but still with a home base that offered only comfort and was devoid of any temptation whatsoever.
Caught this ‘bow on my way out of the office this evening. Cheers to light beams, you guys.
While I don’t harbor any resentments or regrets, what I do feel right now is gratitude. Gratitude that for as much as I know that was the right move for me then, I no longer have to endure such a menial professional output. I have now been living on my own for five months, working full-time for three, and could not be in a better place in my life. This is BECAUSE I put in the due diligence at home and at a shit job, earning my keep and proving to myself and others that I was indeed ready to progress as one does in adulthood. Plus, despite any social atrophy, I got to spend a good year reconnecting with my family. Doing so has made me comfortable in being able away from them again. I of course miss them, but I also know that right now, I am doing what I need to do to rebuild and restructure.
And that I am. Right now I am so very content in hustling the 9-5, catching up with friends new and old, hitting the pavement running to stay fit, and being comfortable both venturing far and staying put on the weekends. I feel I have in some senses a very radically different perspective on what I need/what I think I need/what makes me happy than some of my peers. I see others in their mid-to-late 20’s with twice the income, job security, romantic interests that I do…but yet who are restless, discomforted, wayward. Coming off a few of the most tumultuous years of my life, I could not be happier to simply be stable. And I’m grateful for that. With a bit more disposable income I have found myself making purchases here and there that are decidedly non-essential…and though nice and in some cases luxuriant, I do not find myself dependent upon them for joy, or entertainment, or stimulation. I have good days and I have bad, but I am without question getting sharper and more practiced at finding self-definition from within, rather than looking to external sources to tell me who I am.
“Who I am”…”who am I?” Is this not the very question that addicts and alcoholics are either trying to escape or trying to answer, through use and abuse? In 2014, for what purpose are teenagers saturating their bodies with hard drugs? It’s a damn far cry from what was happening a la the rebellious love and experimentation of, say, fifty years ago in 1964. Why? Why are we such sad misfits who possess no moral constitution, personal conviction, or ability to do anything but feel sorry for ourselves? I happened upon an article recently that detailed one young woman’s lifelong self-medication (ending tragically with her demise) of what was probably depression, through the abuse of ketamine (a chemical clinically used as horse tranquilizer). The publication I was reading is known for sometimes “being edgy, for the sake of being edgy,” and editorializing as such, so I did what I always do when searching for brutally honest opinion on the internet: I turned to the comments section.
“The problem isn’t the chemical; the problem is our post-industrial, information-drenched civilization that offers zero guidance for its youth on how to live a happy life, how to be a fulfilled human being, and how not to be a douchey twat. This girl is another casualty of our empty, exploitative society.”
While I can’t agree with the sentiment that the recreational use of horse tranquilizer is not a problem, the rest of the above seems like a pretty spot-on diagnosis of what’s wrong. As in, this is the plight affecting a whole fuckload of people out there. Young people especially. And as those young people become older people, they continue the cycle of suck that is raising new generations amidst a globalized economy increasingly fraught with bullshit and corruption, because, as always and inevitably, C.R.E.A.M. Which basically sums up the truth I was becoming more and more aware of, starting about five or so years ago, that lead me to feel hopelessly lost and sent me crawling back to the bottle, knees dragging, to find solace if even in the simple fact of forgetting for a few hours that this the big picture that paints my reality.
Instead of doing that, though, I have figured out a way to combat it: through sobriety. Yes! Now that I have freed myself from those boozy crutches, I am at liberty to actually go out and make a difference. Big victories are hopefully on the horizon; this life has a crazy shape to it, and I’m ready to get geometrical on its ass. For now, the day-to-day, the small victories. And each day that I wake up and don’t take a drink, well that’s one right there. One day at a time. One tally mark at a time. Because those tallies, while first and foremost for my survival, have the power to inspire much more. And for that I’m grateful.