1-Year Sober Retrospective: “Temporary”

On July 19, 2015, I attempted my first-ever, honest-to-goodness quit. I lasted through the beginning of September. Had I stuck with it, I’d have over  a year by now. But I still had some lessons to learn in the time between then and now.

The following is a blog post I wrote exactly one year ago today on a different sober blog that I abandoned after about a month or so. At the time of writing, I was 19 days sober.

“Temporary, temporary, temporary”

The last year has been filled with a lot of frustrating and heartbreaking situations. Until recently, I used those situations to justify drinking daily and drinking more than I should have.

Of course I need a beer, work was crazy today and they keep falling through on their promises.

Of course I need a few glasses of wine tonight, I just learned that Jared (ex-husband) is dating someone new.

Of course I need some 2-for-1 vodka diet cokes, they laid some people off today and I wasn’t sure if I’d walk out with a job at the end of the day.

Of course I deserve these beers, they’ll help me relax around my boyfriend.

Of course I deserve another 6 pack of beer, I accidentally totaled my car today!

Of course I need and deserve and want all the drinks ever, I just found out Jared got his girlfriend pregnant, and now they’re getting married – it hasn’t even been 3 months since our divorce was final!

On and on my mantras went: I need, I want, I deserve.

Need, want, deserve, need, want, deserve.

My response to discomfort and pain was to automatically assume that something outside of myself would help me deal with the world happening around me, and I repeated that addictive mantra until I reached a point where – at least for a short while – I believed it to be true, without question.

One of my biggest frustrations over the past year has been with my current job. It’s not without its quirks and eccentricities, and my colleagues are of the odd duck variety (which I happen to enjoy quite a bit), but because of its size and the nature of corporate hierarchies, working there as a contractor for the past 10 months has been severely disheartening.

Details aside, whenever I feel disrespected by the “Higher Ups” because I’m a contractor – and only a contractor, nothing more – it’s difficult for me to separate my personal worth from the worth it feels like they’ve assigned me. I go home frustrated 3 or 4 times a week, even more so when I apply to other jobs without any luck, and it becomes easy for me to repeat the addictive, harmful mantras:

I need a new job.

I want a new job.

I deserve a new job.

I need a beer.

I want a beer.

I deserve a beer.

Recently though, I’ve been trying to stick a new mantra in my head, one that calms and reassures without denying the reality of my situation. It hasn’t been an overnight change and will require a conscious effort on my part to replace the harmful, addictive mantra with something better.

It goes like this:

They’re screwing me over again; they told me a month ago that they’d finally bring me onto salary and they haven’t yet. I need a new job.

But it’s okay, because this is all temporary, temporary, temporary.

It’s temporary.

I have to pay a double damage deposit on my new apartment because of yet another one of Jared’s fuck-ups way back in 2008. I deserve better than this.

But it’s okay, because this is all temporary, temporary, temporary.

It’s temporary.

This traffic is terrible. Why can’t anyone drive these days? And why is there construction on EVERY single road in the city right now? I want a beer when I get home. I really, really want one.

But it’s okay, because this is all temporary, temporary, temporary.

It’s temporary.

I take a deep breath and turn on my music and force myself to laugh a really big laugh full of conviction and a few short screams, and remind myself that this, everything – my job, anything having to do with my ex-husband, traffic, the heat of summer, the cold of winter – it’s all temporary, and it all keeps moving, and if something doesn’t quite please me right now, all I have to do is wait a little bit for the tides to turn again.

Temporary, temporary, temporary.

We’ll get through this one step at a time.

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