I have a post sitting in draft form about gambling, because that is something that I am NOT addicted to, but lots of people are, and I'm curious as to why that is, but I haven't been able to tease out a proper line of reasoning yet, so it will stay in the draft files for now.
What I am writing about today, though, is how I kind of, on some level, expected to be perfect. Like, okay, maybe not perfect, but once I realised that alcohol was having negative effects on my moods and behaviours, it was inevitable that I would imagine an alternate, alcohol-free me, who through the simple act of remaining sober becomes a paragon of virtue and stability.
I mean, if booze makes me lazy, careless, rude, flaky, angry, and lethargic, once you remove the booze I am then automatically energetic, detail-oriented, polite, reliable, level-headed, and a real go-getter, right?
Well....apparently not. So, this is a hard thing, realizing that as a sober person I can be mean, I can hurt peoples' feelings, I can blow off responsibilities. It's true that I am doing less of these things. I think I am a better person to be around over all, but I'm not perfect.
It's because quitting drinking is the first part of what I'm supposed to be doing. If my life is a road, heading towards some destination, drinking was a detour off that road, that just plunked me back at the start. I've stopped taking that detour, and that's great, but all it does is shows me just how long of a road I've got to travel to reach my goals, and on that road are other detours, and potholes, and rough patches with giant speedbumps.
The second part of what I'm supposed to be doing is learning how to be an adult human. I read somewhere that alcohol inhibits our ability to learn new skills and to develop emotionally, so by my calculation I've got about 15-20 years of growing up to do, and growing up that much in a short period of time is hard.
But it is worth it!
Because, even though I am sometimes not patient, I am MORE patient than I used to be. I'm heading in the right direction. I feel like I'm acting like a smarter person, making better decisions, and dealing with life's problems in ways that are more effective. I mean, when I left the house for work this morning, all the dishes were done: how often could I say that, before?
Unlike last month, the distance between 4 months sober and 5 months sober is going by incredibly quickly. In a few days I'll reach that landmark and then will be a stone's throw from having been sober for half a year. Overall I feel really good about how I'm doing. It's hard, sometimes, realizing that I'm not always a good person, and not having alcohol as the scapegoat, but if I want to actually be a good person (I do), it's crucial to know when I am behaving poorly, so that I can learn and change from the experience, and while it's hard to do that now, when I was drinking it was impossible.
So, maybe I'm not perfect, but I'm fine with that. I'll settle for "Work in progress".