Thursday, July 10, 2014

I'm perfectly imperfect, and that's perfectly okay.

My mind is split in two: me and my addict.  They both reside in that grey matter between my ears and they both give me advice.  It’s like the angel and demon over each shoulder, or the story about how you have to choose between feeding one of two wolves that live inside you.  Lately I’ve been seeing a lot more of the devilish, angry, addict side of my brain which is miserable and incorrigible.  I have been hungry, angry, lonely, and tired.  There is very little anyone can say or do to improve my mood when I am in that state of mind. 

On my way home from work this evening I thought about doing something to help myself fight the alcoholic mindset.  I thought about going to talk to other people suffering from the same condition.

"Oh, it's 5:28, I could make it to the 5:30."

"You'll be late."

"There's always that other place that starts at 5:45."

“No, don’t go. It’s time for dinner.”

“But I’m not really all that hungry. Plus I have a banana and a salad
 with me so I could eat those if I get hungry enough.”

"You don't have a fork."

"I can use my fingers."

“But you don’t want salad for dinner. You want steak. 
Go home and cook something substantial.”

“I really don’t want to cook tonight. Besides, 
the salad will go bad if I don’t eat it tonight.”

“You ought to go home and work on your book, 
or finish that TV episode you started watching during the carpool.”

“I can’t work my recovery in around my life. 
I have to work my life around my recovery.”

And with that last thought, I turned left instead of right and went to talk with a bunch of sober alcoholics about recovery for a little while.  During the discussion I flashed back to that internal debate in my car and realized that I was really glad I didn’t go home. It reminded me of all the “reasons” my addict mindset has used to lure me towards drinking again. 

So, for your entertainment value, welcome to the insane part of my mind which gives me…

10 (Not Really) Justifiable Reasons My Alcoholic Mind Wants Me to Drink

1) You should just try to have a glass of red wine. It’ll taste so good.

2) Some people think you’re not really an alcoholic. You should go out and relapse just to PROVE IT to them!

3) Since you never went to jail, had your stomach pumped, or got nabbed for a DUI, you really ought to go back out drinking.  No one is going to take your book seriously without those experiences.

4) You don’t want to write a book about alcoholism without having relapsed, do you?  I mean, what alcoholic hasn’t relapsed?

5) To really recover from being a perfectionist, you should intentionally screw up your sobriety.  For no reason.  Just go and have a drink.

6) You’ll feel better.  All this stress you’re carrying around will be lifted once you have a gin and tonic.

7) You’ve already been sober as long as you drank, surely you’ll be fine. 

8) You’re bound to screw this whole sobriety thing up eventually anyway…I mean, statistically how long can you possibly stay sober?  Why not just beat it to the punch?

9) The wine the priest serves during Holy Communion is totally okay because as soon as he blesses it, it transforms metaphorically into blood.  So… you’re not really drinking wine.  You should at least drink the wine at communion.  

10) The Coast Guard doesn’t control your life anymore.  You won’t lose your job if you go out drinking one night. 

I think my alcoholism might have a point on the last one. I might not lose my job today after one night...but I know myself and I have heard other peoples' stories of relapses. One night will become just the first of many many more.  It might take days, weeks, months, or even years to lose my job as a result of my drinking. Who knows? But it would only be a matter of time. 

Who knows if I would ever get sober again? 

I stand to gain nothing as a result of quitting "the sobriety thing" intentionally. 
I cannot overcome my fear of failure or obsession with perfectionism by giving up the very thing I'm afraid of failing.  
I have no power over whether other people will find credence in my self-proclamation of being an alcoholic. Therefore, I should certainly not try to prove it to them or "improve my credentials" by drinking more. 

Yeah, I may not do this sobriety thing perfectly, and I may not stay sober for the rest of my life, but that's no reason to stop trying.