Saturday, June 28, 2014

4 Years Sober Redux

I have been sober over 4 years.  I am very proud of that fact.  I don't mean to denigrate it or take it lightly.  In fact, I see it in almost religious seriousness.

My life has changed immeasurably since I got sober.  For one, I make about three times the money I made when I was drinking.  I know this sounds perhaps superficial, but I assure you, especially with a family, it is not.  Having a solid middle class life is nothing to laugh at or to take lightly, not when the alternative is clear and available, or worse, a deeper, darker alternative, with nothing to look forward to at all.

Speaking of.  Looking forward to things is very important.  I'm not sure I can underestimate that.  It is important to keep in mind current reality, to not get lost in fantasy, but it is likewise healthy and vital and essential to have a respectful notion of future growth, the capacity to realize certain sought after goals, emotional maturity, and to have the capacity to change one's goals according to feedback, to self-correct.  Alcohol stops those things--excuse me: consistent chronic alcohol abuse stops those things, mostly the capacity to self-correct.  It shortens one's perspective into a very narrow slit and doesn't let go.

However, the scientist in me would be remiss if he didn't point out that I may have undergone many of these changes even if I were drinking.  I am, after all, at an age where such changes happen regardless.

Still, although it is not perfect, I know that I have a certain emotional levity--the ability, to actually view myself, to hold simultaneously self-doubt and self-assertion, and to use my insecurity to my advantage, attributes that are difficult to acquire without hardship and the constant onslaught that we should just affirm our deepest intuitions and fuck everyone who disagrees.

There is, indeed, some hubris in the assertion that we can know, and I would prefer to hold the assumption that we cannot know, that we must constantly strive to know, and that this struggle should inform us at a basic and constitutional level.

Which is why I won't just say that not drinking did the trick, end of sentence, end of paragraph.  I will instead say that it is something I should have corrected a long time ago, and I finally did, and I'm far from perfect in this respect, but I'm very very glad I did, and I wouldn't have gotten to the point where I could even write/say what I just did if I didn't stop drinking.  I was definitely locked in the cycle I see in many many people, which is outrage, affirmation of righteous intuition, very little homework being done, and more assertions than anything else.

Truth, if it exists, is very difficult to access.  I think this is self-evident, and applies to all fields of study, including human interaction, and, because of that, I'm quite hesitant to ascribe reasons to events that are far too complicated to begin to comprehend, including my own cessation of drinking.  Still, I'm quite glad that I did it, and I will continue "not" doing it, forever more, regardless of how much I might imagine I could, given a hypothetical non-consequential world where I can indeed control myself.  One truth that I know is that I cannot control myself with regard to alcohol.  For that one, I don't need more evidence.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

4 Years - Obligated To Mark This Moment

I feel like I should at least mention that it has been 4 years since I last had a drink and decided that hey, I'm going to seriously ruin my life if I keep drinking.

The incontrovertible truth was that I was taking yet another sick day off of work.  This just shouldn't be the case.

Anyway, I'm sober.

Here's what sobriety doesn't equal:



lack of boredom

perfect embodiment of ideals

So don't figure that it will deliver those goods, that is, if you decide you might try it out for a spin.

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Why NYC Sucks.

It doesn't intrinsically just suck, but here are a few of the most apparent reasons for me.

Nobody feels that it is a home.  It is a transient city.  For those that feel it IS a home, their misplaced sense of place is actually founded on rootlessness, on a  fundamental "spareness" of being, which is best exemplified with this fact: you can make and remake yourself in NYC as often as you desire.  For people who don't like themselves (me me me or at least, me 5 years ago!), this is great.  (Paren: I like NYC less now and like myself much more: Paren).

Because it is a masturbation machine.  Because nobody thinks NYC is a home, nobody wants to take care of it like a home.  People want to use it for their needs and then get out, or get back, or whatever.  Needs may be and often are narcissistic (it is the center, it is the biggest, it is the loudest and so are we, its denizens).  I'm being harsh, but hey, it is true.

NYC is all about signalling that you live in NYC.  There is no such thing left as "original" here.  It is a roving consuming animal, all of us, and it.  "New" neighborhoods are consumed as fast as you can say fuck me.  Why?  Because if there was a scrap of originality there, on the horizon,, everyone who wants so desperately to project themselves as original will go there and consume the shit out of that originality.  And by those terms, they will fully pollute whatever was there, and whatever is left will be blathered off into a waste basket.  The whole city is based on this dynamic and there is no starting point for originality anywhere, to be clear--it isn't as if the real originality actually is consumed and gone.  The so-called real originality was gone 40 years ago and what's left was a shard of an echo, frozen into a lyric.

Car alarms and noise and buses and general just disgust.  Pissing people.  Pissed off people.  Commuting on the misery of infrastructure that exists thusly, filled with all those people.

Me.  I make NYC suck.  You.

Deep breath.

Personally, I probably feel the need to move on every 3-5 years, and the fact that I've been here over 7 years now makes me feel totally worthless somewhere.  I've used up the hope here a long time ago, and now the shell of shame is all that keeps me somewhat sane.  Yes, shame keeps me from coming undone.  Because I can see my own growth in the outlines of puke on the sidewalk, I can sort of come to terms with my past, here, and only here.

There are plenty of crazy redeeming things about NYC, none of which are the point of this blog post and none of which actually undo the bad things. I am certainly not claiming that NYC is worse or better than any other city.  I am just generally sick of it and need some fresh air.

I'm Looking For Home.

It's not a hard thing to fathom.  I want to feel like I'm at home.  Relaxed, and engaged, and comfortable, and surrounded by the things that I love and that make me want to submerge myself deeper.

Lately I've felt exactly the opposite--that everything is alien.  The strangeness that has pervaded almost everything is hard to pinpoint, both in a way that is totally accurate and a way that tries to unveil its origin.

Why should I, after all, feel so tremendously off?  Everywhere?  Even at home?  Is there a reason that would allow me some sort of excoriation to jab at and turn over?  I'm serious!  I really could deal with reasons here, instead of the opaque ambiguity of feeling lost.

I admit that my current job does not help the situation.  I'm basically staring at lots of computer code all day long.  It makes me feel unhinged, even though it is, at a basic level, incredibly logical, incredibly mathematical.

Oddly enough I've finally sort of gotten a hold on the tremendous back pain that has plagued me for many many years.

Too many tangents here.

I have  sense of pervading hopelessness, but it is not so acute that I will be silly and act out like a teenager.  It is instead the way it is spread so thin, how it just sort of layers over everything, that makes it so damn cloying.

I'm also sick of NYC.  I'll say that btw.  I should have a different post on that.  I will endeavor to post about that now, actually.  Two posts in one day.  It is a testament to my strange sadness that I must write.

Monday, June 16, 2014

What To Do When Sober?

I admit that it isn't easy to figure out what the best regarding activities when you get sober.

What are you supposed to do, after all, especially when so many of your nights/days/weekends have been dominated by seeking out drinks--whether, or especially, drinking is not the main subject, it always sits in the backdrop.

I remember drinking on the way to going out drinking, so I would be good and stoned drunk before I arrived.  This was all about anxiety alleviation, this need to be charged prior to the main event, which was in itself, drinking.

So much energy and waste went into being "okay" to be drunk.

And so, what do you/  When not drunk?  When sober?  When not going to get drunk?

It is hard. I'll admit it.  Even after the clarity of the first few months or the first few YEARS.  It is still hard to know what to do.  Very few things offer the same kind of immediate reward of seeming deep relaxation and relative immediate release.

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Not Being Scared of Failure.

That might sound like a fancy way to talk about some mostly soft and emotional concept, but it's not.  Here's the book.  McArdle is especially cogent and tight in her writing.  Forgetting about all of the technical background to her eloquent chapters, there is this: we live in a culture where we're quite afraid to fail, which makes us less likely to try new things, and those of us who have succeeded, obsessed with keeping our status--that is, trying to do things perfectly the first time.

McArdle says it is important to engage, that progress and success happens in increments, small increments, and that nobody has pure success without lots an lots of iterations first.  It is a really important less for anyone who has thought of themselves as imperfect, and thought of this imperfection as pure failure.  It is okay not to be perfect.  It is okay to try.  It is okay to play a little and experiment with things to figure them out.