Day 13 – a day of rest

I’m almost at 2 weeks now and it’s going pretty well. I’m not really having any cravings, just a few passing thoughts about alcohol but that’s it. This is great but I know from experience that my big challenge usually starts a bit further down the road.

I’m off work at the moment and my partner is away visiting family so the cat and I have the house to ourselves which is bliss 🙂 I do love my alone time. I’ve read about the concept of isolating on many other sober blogs which has led me to wonder if that’s what I do. I don’t think I do, I’d say it’s more a case that it’s my natural state rather than a cause for concern. The 75% of me that’s a loner needs time to relax and regenerate alone, and recent weeks have provided ample reminders of how exhausting I find the outside world.

Take yesterday for example. I walked to a household appliance store in town to arrange a repair because my washing machine has started chucking water across the kitchen at me. I dealt with a couple of guys who were pleasant, helpful and professional – and pretty attractive, in one case 😉 Then I pottered round some charity shops (thrift shops for non-UK peeps) and wandered home.

I also decided to get my car’s front tyres replaced so I could get all my ‘outside world’ stuff dealt with in one day. I have a tyre garage a 1 minute drive away so I headed up there and got a great deal from another nice, helpful guy. I had to wait in the waiting room with a couple of other people for about 30 minutes and then it was all over and I was home a minute later.

None of that is what you could call hard work or stressful but afterwards I was absolutely zombie-faced knackered. I wandered a bit aimlessly around the house, too tired to decide what to do and then curled up in bed to ‘read’ and fell fast asleep. I’d only been awake for 8 hours! Leave me alone with my artwork, books, cat, xbox etc. and I will stay awake for huge stretches. If I’m on a creative roll or playing a great game I’ve been known to do 24 hours easily. Send me out into the world to deal with stuff and *gasp!* people… and I pass out after just a few hours.

In hindsight, I wish I’d had the courage and wisdom to embrace my loner tendencies a long time ago – decades ago! I spent so many years trying to force myself to be more outgoing and social – to be somebody I’m not – and excessive drinking (and other substances) was the crowbar I used to prise myself out the front door. As I look more into buddhism I find a huge amount of comfort and wisdom in the concept of going AGAINST THE STREAM. Going against the stream of what is ‘normal’ pretty much sums up my whole life and I can now smile compassionately back at my lost, struggling (and hammered) younger self and smile contentedly as the person I’m now uncovering and reconnecting with in my periods of sobriety.

So, I guess I’m finally coming out as an arty, geeky, sober ‘against the streamer’. I’ll be 42 in a couple of months and after a lifetime of feeling like a misfit weirdo I’m actually getting to the stage that I can appreciate having very little in common with most other people my age. The more I look around me and contemplate life from a sober and spiritual persective the more I realise I’m happy with my life choices and with the person I’ve become.

I’ve ditched the big career, I stack shelves and am working on a future as an artist. I’ve hopped off the big hamster wheel of excessive consumerism so I can live thriftily and not bust a gut earning tons to pay for shit I don’t need. And I can stop comparing myself to others and worrying about what I ‘should’ or ‘shouldn’t’ be doing and what other people think of me – that may take a bit of work but that’s where the buddhism helps. Cue a nice quote from Mark Twain…

‘Comparison is the death of joy’.

Whatever you’re up to today I hope it’s a positive, happy, non-comparing and sober one. I’m planning on a scribbling, reading, alien shooting, tea drinking, cat cuddling, bath soaking kind of day at home with my front door firmly closed to the world. Phew!