Uh, talk about a heavy question. Then again, AA is heavy, and that’s where I heard someone pose this question recently in response to a death in her immediate circle.
Yes, in a sense, you are punishing yourself. You don’t get to obliviate, and that sucks. It’s a choice to live through the pain, or at least not circumvent it at will. However, in the grand scheme of things, you and us both know that you aren’t. Learning to cope with death–with pain and with grief–is necessary to live. Avoiding moving through it to the other side is escapism, not reward. Sobriety is the reward, as without it, you just keep going back to square one; you keep yourself in the pain, instead of moving past it. You cry, you drink, you cry because you drank. You wake up and wonder why the pain is still there. That sounds like punishment to me! (Easier said than done, especially when I’m not the one grieving a death, *especially* while sober.)
My first experience with grief came after the [beautiful island] [natural disaster]. I had times there–amazing, life-changing times. I had friends there, and some of those friends were crushed to death. After the [natural disaster], I had horrible sadness, confusion, and bouts of frantic anxiety–usually at night, in my bed. What would happen to me when I died? Would I float off into endless black nothingness? How could life be considered so precious when it was made of such a frail mold? If it could be taken so easily, how could (can) it really be so valuable? I couldn’t fall asleep at night, and would sometimes wake with feelings of being smothered.
I got through it, and for better or for worse, I don’t really think of death as bad anymore. Sure, it freaks me out, but death is. Death just is. I will die; the question is, will I accept this and then, how will I live my life? As a friend told me years ago, when I was in my early 20s and feeling bogged down by my first-world choices to the point of being depressed about life: Good thing it’s short, eh? Right, thanks.
In other words, drinking stalls your process and wastes your time. And, considering how few moments we have here, and how difficult it can be to learn to grasp and cherish them while sober…even if you want to drink, can you really, truly afford to? Life is short, and learning its lessons takes time. Why not start now, end quicker, and get out of class while the sun is still shining?
Going on 8 weeks tomorrow, and then (my second time around) 60 days this coming Monday! And, I’m NOT stopping this train. Drinking is simply not in my cards these days; sure, I’d like to, but when I re-think it, I don’t want to waste the hours drinking and being hung over. I have better things to do, things that provide me with much longer-term and substantial buzz than wine. Plus, I know that drinking wine after this long of being sober–I fell off ye olde wagon, remember?–will not feel good; the buzz’ll feel weird, and I likely won’t have a good time, mentally (static brain) and emotionally (downs for the first two glasses, blunted ups for however long it’ll take me to black out, which won’t be more than 2-4 more glasses). It’s not worth my valuable time anymore. Go, me.
(Still, wouldn’t it be nice…NO! Down, wolf, down.) 😉