The big one-O, they grow up so fast. Last night was great. I’d gotten to the point where I felt good physically and mentally but I missed having fun, I missed quality time with friends. So when I got off work and some peeps were sitting at the bar I got a cup of tea and sat down. We watched the election and I had a good talk with Maria.
Only once in the night did I think I missed drinking. I wasn’t actually tempted it was just a passing thought but I pushed it aside anyway. I know I’d physically and mentally feel like garbage if I drank.
I still feel nourished by last night though the way I used to feel after nights of partying. The social aspect is what I always needed.
I was supposed to go to Jay’s last night for the election but I actually dreaded it. As I’ve said there is a worry among that crowd that giving up alcohol means giving up all your friends. The thing is I think those friendships were dissolving anyway and alcohol was just creating the illusion of intimacy. I haven’t felt real lasting social nourishment from them in a long time, the good times have just been about hiding and putting things off and even though I had fun at the time I end up looking back feeling it was empty.
I resent that the group where I’ve belonged for so long doesn’t get me. I spend so much time trying to explain myself and not getting through. That’s why I didn’t want to go over for the election party, it’s why I didn’t want to go over when things with Mandi got complicated, because I’d be asked for explanations and then cut off while I was trying to explain. When something is important to me I either run into a wall of noise in which case I lose because I hate to have to fight to be heard, or it’s greeted with shrugs.
At the same time though I feel ashamed that I think I’m better than my rock bottom friends who have always welcomed me without judgement at the toughest of times. How dare I not cherish them?
It’s because they are friends with a version of me I’m not proud of. I hate that we proved all our detractors right, we went nowhere, just sank into alcohol and drugs, and I hate that they act okay with it. There’s still the ghost of masculine stoicism around the group. They take pride in presenting as okay and there’s a forced type of working class optimism that you just keep putting one foot in front of the other. Ben in particular I feel is just trying to survive his own life, he has no ambitions, he almost has no wants or needs except some time to read and to drink with his friends. Jay bounces from thing to thing giving him focus, a sense of purpose and community, while not seeing – or not admitting perhaps – that his world keeps getting smaller.
A big part of where the sadness I associate with the guys is that their world keeps getting smaller; people die, get married, or just move on with their lives and they keep rolling forward pretending the party’s not over.
But that’s normal, really. People’s lives generally narrow as they age. The tight knit friendships of youth become a loose network of holiday visits and helping people move. So maybe, again, I’m not struggling against anything except not wanting to accept my fate, I’m clinging so hard to the notion of my significance that I’m dismissing other gratifying experiences. Just because they’re mundane.
The fun I had, the fun I was, at Bobby’s wedding was a result of my acceptance. Once the music scene was over and I hated everyone I figured I’d come to terms with what I really am. Which isn’t actually that bad. I’m a disaster and a failure compared to what I wish I was but if I truly take stock of my positive and negative qualities, and only compare myself to real living people I’m actually a rad dude. So I accepted that the story of my life is over, I’m just going to drink and do drugs and have fun with my friends.
Of course this brought out the best in me and made me attractive to new people and the cycle of me thinking I could throw away my old life and my old self for ultimate happiness was repeated. Spoiler alert, whenever I want anything all my neediness and despair comes out and fucks up the chances of me getting what I want. Bojack Horseman is my spirit animal.
Alcohol was my way of turning off the feeling that I just want more than this. I’m ashamed of my whole life, past, present, and future, and my whole self except when I drink. That’s when I could feel that things were good enough, that I was good enough, it was okay to be me.
This will seem odd but that’s actually why I was suicidal a lot when I was drunk. It was always at the end of the night, always after a great time with great people, I’d be coming home alone and get terrifyingly sad and self-hating. And it’s because I knew I was going to sober up and everything would go back to normal and that all the good feelings would feel like lies and I hoped being drunk would make violent suicide easier.
Without alcohol right now there’s still a lot of bumps in the road but at least I’m off the roller coaster.