55 days, 7 days, 3 days, 1 day

by erics1100paces

I’ve got 55 full days sober.  Today’s day 56.  I leave for China in 7 days.  I haven’t posted here in 3 days.  And today is just 1 day to take as it comes, as best I can at least.

I’ve been working on bedevilments.  The bedevilments have been bedeviling me, you might say.  There are 8 of them, for those who don’t know: personal relationships, control of emotions, inclination towards depressive states and misery, trouble making a living, a feeling of uselessness, general fear, general unhappiness, and an inability to help others.  I’ve been asked by my sponsor to answer questions about these bedevilments, and to reflect in general upon how they relate to my drinking.

Sigh.  Most of these are easy: fear, difficulty in personal relationships, problems controlling some emotions, inclination towards misery, and unreliability in being of help to others all correlate strongly with alcohol for me.  Making a living wasn’t so much an issue for me.  I was getting worse, though, drinking sometimes before or during work.  There’s no doubt that alcohol bedeviled my work regardless.  I don’t care how beast mode a drunk you are, you just don’t function as well at work when you have to run periodically to dry heave in the bathroom.

Anyhow, it’s actually the general unhappiness part that I’m struggling with a little bit.  Certainly I suffered daily bouts of misery in a morning ritual I called “The Shame Wallow,” and throughout the day, everyday, every single time a bad memory flitted past my consciousness.  Still, I find myself doubting that counts as “general unhappiness,” at least to the extent that unhappiness is distinct from a propensity towards spells of misery.  And if they aren’t distinct, then there are really only 7 bedevilments.  So I thought more about this quandry, and concluded the distinction lay in the status of the emotion as a trait.  In other words, spells of misery refers to how you feel and how often you feel that way.  Un/happiness refers to who you are.  It’s basically saying that barring anything significant, a person’s default state is either happy or unhappy.  So to ascertain how my drinking relates to this bedevilment, I need to evaluate who I was in those fairly rare moments during my days of practicing alcoholism where I was neither drunk nor immersed in a spell of misery.  And in doing so, strangely, I find myself thinking that between one post binge stretch of despair, self-loathing, and lamentation and the next? I was still a basically happy guy.

There’s no real contradiction here, though.  Given that happiness is an attribute rather than a feeling, as explained above, then while booze may not have changed the default setting, it certainly reduced the frequency with which I existed in that default state, thereby dramatically impacting the practical manifestation of the attribute, even if not changing it’s nature at all.

Long story short:  alcohol bad.  Like the Devil.  A like the Devil, alcohol serves up a heaping tray of bedevilments as hors d’oeuvres