Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Flipping Out

As an alcoholic, it is more than highly probable that you (and I) also have other, ahem--cough--latent issues.

Anxiety would be one of them.  That'd be a major one for me.  I really...lose my breath even trying to write this to a room full of anonymity.  I really dislike more than 1 or 2 people to be around me at a time.  I like my company small, in other words.  "Every since I was small," parties were a problem. I mostly avoided them.  I had excuses.  I worked a job waiting tables when I wasn't in school.   The job was hard too, but it was also mostly a series of one-on-one or one-on-two conversations, and when translated thusly, I found it much more palatable.

And so.  I was sort of, you know, limited.  I kept only 1 good friend at a time.  It wasn't a place where one could express oneself.

And then I hit college, and I found a place to express myself.  Academics.  It was a revelation to me, I'll admit, and this sounds really stupid, because it is true, but like a lot of true things, conceptual understanding and practical understanding are far apart. And anyway, I could express myself through my work.  I'm actually a creative person who likes to, ahem, create stuff.  I found that out.   And nobody really argues with stellar grades like they do with other excuses.  So grades became my mantra.

And then, something else happened, toward the end of college, before grad school..  That thing was booze.  I had abstained mostly for three years.  But I found a way to express myself yet again, through this vicious drink.  And it felt grand.  I had very little inhibitions.  I realized I could manipulate situations with my words, that I had power over other people's thoughts.  That I could make them laugh.  A lot.  Mostly I realized that.  It was, again, a revelation, and I tried, hard, I realized, but also quite effortlessly, if that makes sense, to bring humor everywhere like a freakin' shield.  And I liked to go to parties.  And I liked to see people and feel important.

Except that the academic part of me sort of got, um, submerged.  Which was bad.  Because I'm basically still digging out of it.  And I have a lot of "regret issues," you know, the kind that make me metaphorically bang my head against the wall thousands of times and fucking hate myself for fucking up.  Those.    Now things seem much much harder.  And.  They are.  And there's nothing I can do about that.  I am, in a sweeping grand bullshit narrative, paying for my indiscretions, my flirtations, my general lasciviousness with all things.

And it hurts.

Because now that I've stopped drinking.  And I have stopped drinking.  Now that it has stopped, that monster of social fluff that I was feeding.  Well.  Now the anxiety is back.  Damn if it didn't just hang out and wait about 10 years like that.  I have anxiety problems.  You can see them as a constellation of responses to environmental stimuli and place them on a spectrum of anxiety disorders if you'd like.  If that helps digest it.  Maybe it will help.

Here's my biggest regret, anyway.  Both of my parents were psychologists.  I wanted to be one too, at some point in time.  And I am not.  I didn't decide to go that way, at some point half way through college.  And I regret that.  A lot.  And I'm not sure I can change it.

I regret the fact that everything feels so stuck now.  I regret the way I am.   It hurts to regret your very being.  Fuck, if I could chose not to, I wouldn't. Trust me.


Anonymous said...

Im haunted by this quote by Witold Gombrowicz every few days, "Oh, wretched memory that compels us to remember the paths we took to arrive at the present state of affairs...."

I try hard to forgive myself for wasting years and talent and promise. Today, 19 days sober, I am hopeful this path will reconcile my wretched memory.

js said...

Regret is perhaps the worst emotion I deal with, aside from guilt. I am practicing daily the almost physical act of turning off these two destructive emotions in my head and in my heart, and literally willing myself forward. Sobriety is such a gift, but with it comes the stark awareness of the truth of what you have been and what you have done. Such a great blog....thanks, Joann