Is it me, or is sobriety actually making me a better writer?

6 Sep

5:18 pm

First of all, thanks to everyone who commented on my post the other day about getting hammered as a reward for, um, not getting hammered. I truly appreciate each and every piece of advice, insight, experience, and warning. It’s helped me to see that yes, this is a form of denial, and no, I sure don’t know much about sobriety or what might be in store for me at day 90. All I know is right now, I don’t want to get drunk, black out, and have a crippling hangover. And, that’s all I need to know for now.

Anyway, I’ve got two things going on, both of which I don’t think would be happening — honestly — if I hadn’t quit drinkin’…going on 21 days ago this Friday (well, it would have been 90 this coming Monday if I hadn’t messed up three weeks ago!). Like I mentioned briefly in another post, I finally pulled the trigger and gave notice on my studio apartment. YES. I am in the process of selling my furniture as we speak in preparation for my move OUT OF HERE at the end of the month.

I can’t tell you how happy I am to be moving on; and while I still catch my breath sometimes when I think, Wow, I’m actually leaving, nostalgia for what was and what may be can only take you so far. This place fucked me up once — I was literally driving around in circles; I began to drink heavily and smash things HERE, in [cold west coast city] — and it did it to me again, even worse, a second time when I moved back. (YOU CAN’T GO HOME AGAIN, no, sir. If anything has ever been bored into someone’s skull, it’s that lesson, in mine, here, and about my time here — coming of age in my late 20s during the dot-com boom in [cold west coast city].) I had never drunk all night and into the next day. I did that here, during the past couple of years. I had never drunk all night and into the next day, and then on the train to work and throughout the day at work. I did that here. I had never drunk and then thrown up and continued drinking, until it hurt; and then kept drinking until I wasn’t conscious. I did that here. I had never OPENED a bottle of wine at 3:30 am and consumed it before getting out of bed and going to work. I did that here. I had never blacked out drunk at work. I did that here. More than once. It gets uglier, but I’ll stop now before I go too far down. It’s done, over with. I choose light, not dark, right?

It’s not that I blame the city per se, but it has had a hand in contributing to life circumstances that yes, I chose, but that also ended up driving me to drink, literally. As a friend just emailed me (and I paraphrase): That city has left you with jobs you’ve hated and people who have hurt you. It’s time to cut your ties, emotionally and tangibly, and start over. YES, YES, YES.

I’m glad, though, I quit drinking so that I could come back here and be sober. I am living in [cold west coast city], sober. It is not the city that is causing me to drink, is what I needed to see for my own sanity. I can be and stay sober anywhere, even here.

But, I digress. The second thing is I’ve got some paid editing work on a project about global warming for a science magazine, which is a nice baby step back into science journalism.

Like I said, I believe both have been made possible not by my tenacity and general obsessive nature, but by my SOBRIETY. Who would’ve thought, when 6 years ago the defining shared characteristic of my circle of friends at journalism school was how close we could make happy hour to the actual length of our school day?

I’m gaining a much improved focus, coupled with a subtle-yet-meaningfully improved mood. I feel braver and more willing to commit to things. In a word, accountable, and unafraid of making and keeping appointments, deadlines, and commitments. Not that I missed them regularly before, but some I did and the ones I did were big ones, like, Make your life happen by the end of the month. It feels immensely empowering, but in a subtle way. Strange, how these things work…

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2 Responses to “Is it me, or is sobriety actually making me a better writer?”

  1. runningonsober September 7, 2012 at 1:32 am #

    Lots of great realizations and insight here, really enjoyed. Sounds like a good healthy day for you, I’m really happy.

    I loved all the comments on your last post. Man, I just love the Internet some days.

    Light, not dark, yes. 🙂 The darkness will test you and tempt you. See it for what it is, and stay strong.

  2. Belle (Tired2012) September 7, 2012 at 6:48 am #

    this all makes sense to me, how could you really commit to yourself, your career, your future, if the only real focus was making it to 5 pm so you could start to inhale alcohol. it makes total sense to me that now you’re starting to get your sea legs. and if this is how you feel on day 21, then imagine how solid you’re going to feel on day 41 and 81 and 101. i want to check in and see how you’re doing every day 🙂 especially if you’re saying things like “I choose light, not dark, right?” this makes my heart sing, because it’s like a beginning. you may not see it, but this post feels like a beginning to me. welcome. welcome to the world of sobriety. it’s better here than you thought. much better. much MUCH better 🙂

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