Even today, I get angry. Depressed. Sad. And, I think about drinking. I do. I don’t want to, and know that I never will–I’ve been there, done that–but, it’s still there, this DESIRE to soothe. It’s more like a whine, faint, in the distance, reminding me of the hot mess I was when I first got sober:
But THEY get to get away, to escape, to use their substance of choice–why can’t I?
I was thinking on my run today: it’s not that I am UNHAPPY–happiness is most certainly a choice. And, after years of forcing myself to find happiness in the corners of my early sober life; and more years of learning how to cultivate happiness as a choice, 100% of the time–well, I’ve realized that I can be happy without being content. I am not content, and frankly, I am not sure I ever will be. At 42 years old, I think I’m just beginning to try things that might actually make me feel contentment, which I suppose might be the opposite of things like accomplished, or having won the prize, of having earned the medal.
It reminds me of where I am right now in my job search: I have been contracting with the same company for almost two years, but they still haven’t hired me. Not only that, but I’ve interviewed for more than one full-time job with them, and each time, the interview process has consisted of meeting/being interviewed by 7, 8, 9 people! I’m wondering, are they simply trying to make me second-guess my abilities? Cuz, you know, of COURSE, I can do these jobs. It’s not rocket science. The drinker in me, though, craves their approval; wants to do it “right;” wants to win! In reality, for the most part, I so don’t WANT the job. What I want is them to want me, like me, hire me. I want to win. Even if that means that both during the interview process AND while I’m doing a job that I don’t really want to do; I am totally freaking DISCONTENT.
Ahh, life. Sobriety has allowed me to recognize the nuances to all this “character flaw” stuff, and well, the difference (in my mind, anyway) of being unhappy and being discontent. And, while I’ve wanted to drink lately trying to figure out just what is going to alleviate this lack of contentment (as a writer, I wonder if I am always going to feel like I haven’t done anything, or need to do something more, or different, or else), the five years of sobriety under my belt–and feeling this way so often back in the early days–has given me the tools to realize that drinking won’t solve anything. Won’t alleviate anything. Is not an escape, and is not a reward. No matter how many people I see drinking to reward or alleviate the stress of transition, or decision-making processes, it still reeks of bullshit. Drinking is bullshit. Do I want a thing, somewhere that I can go? Yes. Is it up to me to figure out where that so-called place is, that place of acceptance and happiness in the moment, for the moment, and of the moment? Yes.
We whine, we do. I do. Yet, that is allowed. And then, depending on how practiced you have gotten, you move on. You place those negative ideas and feelings into the “perspective” box, and you move on. I feel happy most of the time, and that’s what matters and what I try to continue to focus on. That and remembering how AWESOME-SAUCE it still is to be here, and not there (hungover on a Saturday afternoon)–being grateful, and cultivating happiness, in spite of this so-called discontentment, which is fleeting, and fickle.