I feel so far removed from my drinking days, I cannot even remember what it felt like to think drinking was an important component of my daily life. I mean, I remember it was, but I cannot remember why I believed it to be true. It's easy to remember the times I wanted to drink in the mornings. It is easy to remember the times I couldn't wait to get home to indulge in my first drink. It is easy to remember absolutely needing to have a drink to make things "feel" better. It is easy to remember many of the scenarios about drinking that made me feel as though alcohol was important in my life. What I cannot remember though, is any proof any of those feelings held any validity whatsoever. I am reminded of the saying, "My worst day sober is better than my best day drunk." Now, to someone in active addiction, there is never a more absurd sentence uttered. To a recovered addict, however, the proof is in our day-to-day living.
I do not trust people who do not drink
It is incredibly humbling to think back and try to remember why I felt alcohol was such an important ingredient in my life. To think I wholeheartedly believed an external man-made chemically infused beverage held the answers to all my unconsciously unasked questions almost seems ridiculous now. At the time, however, it did. It held all the keys to all the kingdoms. It gave me life and courage. It helped me manage the unmanageable. It allowed me to breathe and exhale fully. It was the essence of my emotional, physical, and even spiritual being. To even try to consider alcohol as a negative in my life was troubling. Why would anyone say such a thing? I'll never forget one of my most infamous quotes. It was later thrown back in my face after I quit drinking. Touche. "I do not trust people who do not drink." There is so much wrong with that sentence I do not even know where to begin.
One way I can speak to such absurdity is to break down the title of this blog a little further. My worst day sober is better than my best day drunk. First, let's talk about my best day of drinking. Of course, this is somewhat difficult because I actually have a hard day remembering my best day drinking because, well, I was drinking. Nevertheless, I'll give it a try. I am reminded of a tradition my partner and I had in years past. L used to do a lot of work training in the aerial arts. She trained and even performed on the lyra, a large hoop hung from the ceiling. The center she trained and performed in also held shows several times a year. We were regulars at those shows. It was always a big night out for us. We would get dressed up, sometimes in costume to accompany the theme of the show, and get ready to tie one on.
There I was, with the person I love and sworn to protect,
inebriated and passed out
We began the evening getting ready at home with a glass or two of champagne, before driving to dinner. At dinner, of course, we had two or three more drinks, before driving to the show. At the show, a two-hour event, we drank continuously while "enjoying" the entertainment. I use quotes around the word enjoying because as I sit here writing this, I cannot even remember the theme of the show. Nevertheless, we drank throughout. Once the show ended, they opened up the stage and floor for dancing. I honestly have no idea how long we stayed but I do know we drank the entire time. One of the memories I do hold of this evening was my stumbling on the dance floor. By stumbling, I mean literally having to catch my balance on multiple occasions because I could not walk. At some point in the evening, probably around the time I became loosely aware all my faculties were missing, we left and made our way to our car. Thankfully, we had some semblance of consciousness and chose not to drive home.
Here is the part that really bothers me. The venue was on the back streets of an industrial area in the outskirts of Seattle. We chose, or rather we had no choice but to sleep it off in our car. I started the car for heat and passed out with the car running, doors unlocked. There I was, with the person I love and sworn to protect, inebriated and passed out in a sketchy neighborhood with the car running and no way to protect us had someone come along and taken advantage of the situation. Later, at some unknown time, I awoke still legally drunk and decided it was a good decision to drive us home, again putting myself and the person I love in danger.
It is much easier to just say, "ah, good times,"
and move on consciously unaware
What makes matters even worse, is how later I would describe the evening as a blast. I would talk about how much fun we had and laugh at the stupidity of leaving us exposed. My "friends" would laugh with me and then tell similar stories about their own drunken debauchery. Ah, good times. Why? Why are these inebriated, barely remembered, functionally incompetent, bad decision making, potentially fatal experiences remembered as, "good times?" There is only one true answer. We have to remember them in that way because if we remember them for what they really are, then we have to admit there is or we have a problem. A problem requires us to fix it and fixing a problem can be a lot of work. It is much easier to just say, "ah, good times," and move on consciously unaware.
Now, let's talk about one of my worst days sober. I originally wrote about it when it occurred. Even before I quit drinking, I was involved in a legal matter concerning something and someone I hold dear to my soul. I will not go into the details or logistics of the case, but I will say, it had been a long road. When the court date arrived, I had been sober for a couple of months. Before quitting drinking, when arguments arose regarding the details of the case, I would emotionally spin out of control. I was so passionate about my stance on the case, I could not deal with anyone or anything challenging my position. Thankfully, since quitting drinking and nicotine, I have a much better capacity to remain calm even in the worse case of adversity. Standing there in court, listening to someone lie about me and my character, I felt the old feelings of uncontrolled stress and anxiety begin to creep up. I felt them because it is normal to feel these things, but I handled my feelings. I did not lash out and spin out of control. I remained present and did the best I could in the given circumstance. When the hearing did not go the way I wanted, instead of allowing my anger to control me, I allowed my mind, heart, and soul to calm me. I talked with my partner about the events and then went home and wrote down my feelings about the situation.
One of the worst days of my sobriety helped facilitate
one of the best days of my life
A year later, I can proudly say, everything I wanted to come out of that hearing has now come to fruition. I believe this occurred because I have been able to remain focused, be present, and act from a place of informed thought rather than acting from an emotionally charged, chemically induced, and reactionary place of ill judgment. One of the worst days of my sobriety helped facilitate one of the best days of my life. There is no doubt in my mind, had I still been drinking, things would have certainly worked out differently.
They say hindsight is 20/20. Well, in sobriety there is no truer statement. While we are physically and emotionally incapable of seeing what is happening in active addiction, I believe we are still aware on some level. We know what we are doing is not helping us. We know what we are doing is unhealthy. We know what we are doing is not only hurting ourselves but also hurting other people as well. We know all these things but because we cannot yet conceptualize life on the other side of addiction, we have to remain in a place of ignorant bliss.
It is our duty to show people what life looks like without alcohol
This is why our stories of sobriety are so important. We, those of us who have come out on the other side, have to continue telling our stories. We have to continue perpetuating the positivity of sobriety. We have to remind people they do not have to live a life of uncertainty and confusion. It is not only our obligation but it is our duty to show people what life looks like without alcohol. At first, many people will not understand us or even take us seriously. This is because people cannot take seriously that which they do not understand. Over time, the constant reminders of a different view will sink in. Over time, people will begin to hear the answers to the nagging questions about whether or not they have a problem. Over time, people will allow awareness to creep into their clouded consciousness and see the truth. The actual truth they see may be slightly different for everyone, but one truth will always remain constant.
The worst day sober is always better than the best day drunk.