Sober City – March 21st, 2011
I’ve been having a pretty easy go with not drinking lately and of course I immediately wonder why and assume it won’t last. Not because I’m a pessimist so much as a slave to my patterns. There are a lot of cycles I tend to fall into on a regular basis and I’m pretty convinced there’s no way to get rid of them. I haven’t been able to pinpoint what (if anything) triggers these phases and at this point it’s just about trying to figure out how to maneuver my way through them instead of wasting time trying to stop them. Generally the busier I am, the easier it seems for me to stay healthy, both physically and mentally. It’s the down time that tends to lend itself to destructive behavior and as an actor I tend to have a shit ton of down time in between projects and therefor ample amount of opportunities to leap from the wagon to the glorious wetlands.
It’s always the same. A couple weeks to a month of feeling like I can take over the world and do everything, followed by an equally long period of drowning in self doubt and paralyzing laziness. It’s frustrating and annoying and a regular part of my life at this point, so I’ve decided to just accept it and turn it into something useful. How, you ask? Good question. I guess by simply being aware that these moments (however long or short they may be) are ultimately fleeting and not a real representation of who I truly am. That’s a good start. When I feel especially optimistic and full of life, I try to be as productive as I can for as long as my positive mind set allows because I know it won’t last forever. Alternatively, when I’m going through a “woe is me, everything seems pointless” period of time, knowing that the negative period also doesn’t last forever, makes it a little easier to get through. It doesn’t work all the time, but it helps a bit. You know what helps a lot though? Having a couple drinks to distract your mind from the mundane realities and negative thought patterns that poison the brain. Works great, feels great, and god damn does it taste good! It’s a scientific marvel of the highest degree.
“Ah, but Joe, doesn’t drinking also encourage those same negative thought patterns and shitty times because it’s a depressant and actually poisoning your mind?” you might ask. First of all, stop interrupting me. I don’t know how you’re squeezing questions into my blog but this isn’t The View and neither of us are Barbara Walters (as far as I know). Secondly, yes, alcohol is a depressant and yes too much of it can send you further down into the abyss of troubles but not all the time. Not if you keep it under control. There’s a reason people have a drink to “take the edge off”. It works. At the very least it calms an overactive mind and allows one to relax a bit more then normally. I don’t know about you but my greatest enemy when I’m depressed is my own thoughts. The second guessing, the insecurities, the wallowing in self pity. Shut those voices up and I’m instantly in a way better position to see things in a more positive light. Now, thankfully there are many non-alcoholic ways to calm the nerves and distract the mind. Exercising, going to movies, playing video games, writing blogs about being a quitter, these are all good things but they’re just not a glass of scotch are they?
So is it all hopeless? Is it all just deceiving ourselves into thinking we’re OK when really we’re not? Maybe. Maybe relying on alcohol to help us through bad times is only perpetuating our grief but maybe it’s just another coping mechanism in a long list of devices we all use to maneuver through life. Different ways of dealing, all equally flawed and equally helpful in their own way. Who’s to say drinking is worse then stress eating or compartmentalizing all your feelings? Only you truly know what’s actually good for you and what’s just adding to the problem. Here’s the thing, good times and bad times are going to happen no matter how clean or dirty your hands are. No one escapes reality. We can blame all of our problems and hard times on one thing or another and do everything in our power to stay happy and healthy but at the end of the day we’re all just tiny dots flying through space on a big unstable ball. We’re gonna get mud slung at us no matter who we are or what we do so I say skip the “why” and head straight to the “how”, as in “How am I gonna deal with how I feel now?” and “How am I going to change it to feel better tomorrow?”.
There’s no use over analyzing your life and crying over spilled lattes. Notice your patterns and work through them accordingly and if a couple of drinks helps you make it through easier, Mazel Tov! Just make sure that whatever it is that helps you get through the bad times, isn’t actually recycling you right back through them again. The world can be a sneaky snake sometimes so always remember to have your skinning tools ready and maybe you’ll come out on top with a new lease on life and a slick pair of boots. Cheers!


2 thoughts on “SOBER CITY – Day 80”

  1. Haha I love the part about The View you are so clever! Congrats on 80 days it is a big achievement!! And don’t worry – staying sober can be easier at points, so you’re on the right track.

  2. Haha I love the part about The View you are so clever! Congrats on 80 days it is a big achievement!! And don’t worry – staying sober can be easier at points, so you’re on the right track.

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