Now that I’m nearly 2 months away from my last hangover, I can easily say it’s hard for me to remember what it feels like to wake up in such physical and emotional agony. I’ve got some vaguely visceral, deep-rooted memory of those anxious, dreadful mornings, where I would wake up feeling dizzy and nauseated and panicked. But the poignancy of those horrible morning hangovers – and the perpetual cycle of spending all day recovering, only to return to the bottle that very evening – is fading. For this, I’m both thankful, but also hyper-vigilant and aware of becoming overly-confident in my sobriety.
Yesterday at the neighborhood chicken wing cook off competition, nearly half of the items up for judgement had some sort of boozy addition. There was “drunken bundt” cake, Guinness cupcakes, brandy-laced sangria (seriously, why? isn’t the wine enough?), rum cake, beer-marinated wings, and bottles of wine galore.
Being far enough away from my last night of drinking, I’ve had my fair share of events where I’ve been faced with copious amount of alcohol consumption and survived (see: The Case of the Housewarming Party and When Kind, Polite & Tolerant People Become Intolerant) but last night felt… I don’t know, a little unfair? Why can’t we live in a society where we don’t have to add booze to fucking EVERYTHING? How did we get so far down the rabbit hole that we’ve come to glorify poison, and then to look critically and angrily at those of us who simply can’t “handle it like a normal person”?
Anyway, the cook off was fun, nonetheless. I ate around the boozy foods and sipped down two LaCroix while playing cornhole. After a while, I retreated back to my bedroom, where I read chapters 1-5 in one of my textbooks, Before It’s Too Late: Working with Substance Abuse in the Family. Extremely well-written and eye-opening, I devoured the first five chapters, and then watched Russell Brand’s “From Addiction to Recovery” on Netflix.
Some days are easier to forget how pervasive booze is in our every day lives. And then some days, like yesterday, can come and smack you right in the face, even in the most unusual ways. Was I really upset by the Drunken Bundt, or was I silently raging about how oblivious we’ve made ourselves to the real danger of our supposed magical elixir?
Who knows. But, I stayed sober. I consumed sober materials. This morning, I sat with a cup of coffee and read another one of my textbooks for my Addictions Counseling course, a chapter titled “Helping Clients and Families Understand Addictions.” In that chapter, I learned about some of the most prominent theories on addiction, including the Moral Model (people become addicted because of weak morals or character flaws), the Disease Model (addiction is physiological and genetic), the Psychological Model (people use addictive behavior to cope with psychological distress and trauma), and the Biopsychosocialspiritual Model (a melting pot that looks at the reciprocal effects of addiction on a person’s environment, vice versa).
At one point, I set my book on my lap, looked out the window to see the gorgeous green canopy of trees surrounding my house, and I felt the cool air coming in through the screen door. For a moment, I felt the strongest sense of purpose I’d had in a long, long time.
Addiction is frustrating, heartbreaking, destructive, and deadly, no matter which theory you choose to analyze it with. What’s more, it’s hard to get your loved ones all on the same stage as you. I’m sure most of us know someone we love who is still actively engaged in dangerous behaviors… and we can do nothing to create change for them, save for being a steadfast pillar of support and encouragement.
Speaking of which, my step-mom and dad flew out to Denver this morning, leaving me with housekeeping and cat-sitting duties for the next week. As I was making my coffee this morning, I looked around for the copy of This Naked Mind that I’d given to my step mom to read. It was nowhere to be found in the kitchen or living room, so I peeked into their bedroom to see if it was sitting on the nightstand.
Nope, it’s gone. I can’t say for sure what’s been done with it, but something tells me my step mom packed it into her luggage. This makes me immensely happy, because like I said, I can’t force anything on her, but in showing her what has worked for me, I might be able to help inspire thoughts of change.
Day 59 in progress. Tomorrow is the two-month mark, and I’ve got a work meeting scheduled bright and early for 9am. What a way to celebrate, indeed! 😉