Letting Go of an Old Friend

I woke up with a slight hangover and a slight reminder of what I was attempting to escape from. I was on a one way mission to get drunk last night and forget about all the responsibility I have in life — not because I hate my life but because it had all just become too much for me to bother managing any more. I went from being unemployed and depressed for six months to managing a hotel with coworkers who inspire me to step up to my abilities. I was in between homes less than a year ago and I am facing the same awkward and panic inducing situation once again. I extended my support to my older brother when he ended a long term relationship over a year ago and I am still providing financial and emotional support daily. I identified with my stomach issues and allowed my health to be a complex that stopped me from experiencing life as I wanted to for over five years, and now I am practicing yoga daily and crave movement through the woods to clear my ever churning mind. I have accepted so much struggle and strife and still sought out moments that make life worth living to get me by. I have changed the way I approach and accept stress and when I returned to seek the usual release in the bottom of a bottle, I did not find what I was looking for. And when I woke up with the regret of a hangover and a day half wasted, I questioned why I still do these things. I wondered how wine no longer seems to lift my spirits and whiskey no longer heals my wounds. I have lost the sense of satisfaction that I used to have when I finished a bottle and an evening in one swig. And the release that I once found so freeing now seems to drag me down and make me realize what I am missing versus allow me to ignore it all. I once found the drunken pursuit to be the only one that mattered, and the liquid in my body seemed to motivate me versus hinder me. It used to be what I worked towards during a long day and the only friend I wanted to talk to when I was depressed. It used to provide a sense of comfort in eternal frustration and allow me to release everything that weighed my shoulders down. It used to be the one thing I could count on to allow me to be me and the only thing that accepted me as the mess that I saw myself as. I never thought that this would change and I always thought that Jameson might be my only true best friend. It was the friend who listened to my woes and allowed me to cry on their shoulder. It accepted my substance abuse and encouraged me to push myself further in the pursuit of release. It went down smooth and soothed my mind to a state of complacency that I found comforting. It was my best friend and worst enemy all at the same time and I loved it for it all.

But these days I can’t seem to connect with that friend and shadow of myself. I can’t seem to find the same release and I don’t crave a loss of control the way I used to. I am finally working to get “my life in order” and I no longer need to get lost in chaos to feel alive. I no longer want a release that I can’t remember the next day. I no longer want to have to have others recount my drunken evenings and tell me all the actions I took that I would have never considered sober. And I no longer want to feel the pain of my negative actions the next day and a disappointment in myself that I can’t ever seem to shake. I want to escape the vicious circle of release and disappointment and I want to finally come to terms with how I handle my emotions. I no longer want to completely lose control and I hope that I never will again. I can’t disappear into a bottle of whiskey any more because half way through I have the rational thought that I am hurting myself. I can’t allow myself to dance freely on MDMA because I know that I am burning through energy while denying my body of any form of fuel besides the synthetic kind. I turn down opportunities to get lost on psychedelics because I know the aftermath of the experience has the potential to change the way I think for forever. I am finally regaining control of my out of control life and I don’t want to lose the progress I have painstakingly made. I don’t want to end up back in the same dark hole that I dragged myself out of and I no longer want to seek escape from everything. I want to actually live my life and I want to experience all that it has to offer. I want to live, not run away from living. I want this, but there are still the moments of reflexive escape, when I dive back into a bottle just to see if it might do the trick. But every time I am left unsatisfied and every time I wish I would have made different choices. Every morning I wake up with a hangover, I am reminded that I am choosing to forget myself and I am choosing to take a step backwards from what I really want. Every time I choose to forget, I am choosing to discredit myself and the strength I know I possess. I want to want to work through it all in a healthy manner, and I want to be a poster child for enlightenment and progress, but every time the stress presses in on me and every time I don’t seem to have all the answers life is asking me for, I can’t help but return to my old friend of intoxicated escape, hoping that they might allow me to delay finding those answers for just a bit longer. I hope that it might do the trick and I can’t help but dive in with the same enthusiasm that I used to hold. But it rings hallow these days. I can’t seem to repress the reflex to want to get fucked up, but there is an echo in the back of my mind these days telling me that I will regret it. There is something tugging silently at me to step back and breath versus stumble forward and swallow. Hopefully I will listen to that instinct one of these days, but for now I am where I am, and I did what I did, and today I am hungover and feel wasted because of it.
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