I hate being sober. The lights are too bright, the music is too loud. Everything is too much, too fast, too close. I feel too much.
I feel everything without a filter when I’m sober. Perhaps I have Asperger’s. Perhaps I have sensory processing disorder. Perhaps I’m empathic. Perhaps I’m just human. Perhaps this is normal, and I’ve spent so long being altered that I don’t know what normal feels like.
Being sober means that my normal coping mechanism is gone. It was my teddy bear and my security blanket. It was my shield against the onslaught of the world. It was my go-to-thing for everything. If I was happy, I was stoned. If I was sad, I was stoned. If I was with friends, I was stoned. If I was lonely, I was stoned.
I started using it to enhance life. If food tasted good while I was sober, it tasted even better stoned. If a movie was cool sober, it was even more interesting when stoned. But then it got to the point that the average everyday wasn’t good enough, and I had to be stoned to do everything. Life was vanilla, and stoned was 31 flavors. Who wants to have vanilla when you’ve had it all?
The worst part is that don’t like myself when I’m sober. I’ve discovered I’m a very angry person. I don’t like being angry. I don’t think it is very ladylike.
So I write, and exercise, and do yoga, and paint, and collage, and bead, and drum. I fill my time with different ways to process my feelings, because I’ve got a lot of processing that has backed up. Instead of having the normal process of feelings go in, get dealt with, and then they go out, I shoved them deep down. I shoved feelings into myself the same way that people shove broken and unwanted things into their basement or attic or storage unit. Eventually, the reckoning time comes and you have to do the work to get all that stuff out of there so you can have room to breathe. It is like poop – if poop doesn’t get out in a timely manner, it backs up and you get sick.
Sobriety, like being messed up, comes in waves. You think the high is going to last forever and it doesn’t. You think being sober is going to last forever, and it might. I’ve given it up, and walked right back. Just like a person in an abusive relationship, I keep going back until I put enough value on myself to stay away, or I find someone new. With sobriety, “finding someone new” just means finding another high – trading alcohol for cigarettes, for instance. Something has to fill that space.
Being sober longer is seen as better, but in a way it is worse. You forget why you left in the first place. You forget how bad it was. You’re tempted to go back, just for a taste, except that a taste is never good enough when you are an addict. One bite becomes a bunch. Next thing you know you are right back where you were, stoned, sick, and stupid.
I don’t want to find another addiction to fill this hole. I just don’t want it to be so big, or gaping. I can feel the wind whistling through me.