Reflections on Sobriety: One Year

This post looked different initially.

I had this idea that I would write a lengthy tell-all exposé of my previous debauchery. It was going to include everything–the entire narrative: the little (still weirdly tall) wannabe-precocious kid with the alcoholic father with his own tragically alcoholic and tragically dead father, growing up emotionally unstable in a town where the most interesting thing to do was drugs. The kid’s coming of age. His propensity for the philosophical versus the ritualistic self-imposed constraints on his consciousness, and the contradiction thereby established. His gradual use and misuse and abuse of All The Drugs and the curiously linear relationship between grandiosity and insecurity. His noxious, suffocating fear. And, most importantly, the people along the way that he disappointed, let down, or otherwise hurt, and his conscious awareness of the pain he caused them, and the shame of it all.

I was going to write that post. I started to, at least. But it didn’t feel right.

It would be disingenuous as well as dangerous for me to tell you that I’m all better now. It would be disingenuous as well as dangerous for me to tell you that I’m not still a deeply insecure, self-obstructing kid. It would be disingenuous as well as dangerous for me to think that day 365 is any more significant or deserving of celebration than day 3 or day 366.

But what I do want to say–I guess the reason I’m writing this post–is that I’ve found a certain clarity in sobriety. There is a vantage point that before I didn’t think existed; a lighthouse ashore on which I can stand elevated and protected against the battery of waves that is the thinking mind. I’m not always up on the lighthouse. Shit’s not always clear; in fact, more often than not, it’s not. That’s okay. There is an inner peace. I know it because I’ve felt it.

This is the part of the blog post where I have to tell you that I’m not particularly interested in talking about God (unless it’s in some Spinozan pantheistic sense, and even then…). I don’t give ten flying dicks about a Higher Power. The topic is just. not. important.

What’s important is the mind. Your mind. My mind. What’s important is our stability and some shared, sustainable happiness and our ability to circumnavigate the torrential emotional stresses that affect our every decision and maybe, if we’re feeling up to it, to have the cajones to get our shit together, to man up and get our minds right, so that we can cultivate some real kindness, however meager, and do everything within our power to prevent this world from going to shit. What’s important is our flourishing–mine, yours, our species’–and becoming the best possible versions of ourselves.

At least, that’s what’s important for me. Maybe you disagree.

I don’t know that I won’t drink or smoke or abuse prescription pills tomorrow. I don’t think I will, and I really don’t want to spelunk back down into that cave of shadows, but I don’t know I won’t. I do know it’s extremely, extremely unlikely that I drink or smoke or abuse prescription pills today.

And isn’t today what it all comes back to? Isn’t that why I was so put-off by writing at length about my past? Right now, I don’t want to think about the past–right now, I want to think about right now.

Because right now I feel really, really good.

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