After I wrote the last post I went downstairs and immediately picked a fight with C. Not much of one but the change in mood was sudden and marked after all the happy stuff I’d just written. Couldn’t figure out what was going on for a while then I realised. I’d not been completely honest in the post and the negative stuff was bubbling just beneath the surface and couldn’t help itself. Bloody projection – I’m a master at it and I hate it! Luckily C is a master at gently giving me back whatever I’m trying to dump on him so I’m figuring it out at last.
There are 2 parts to this. The first is that I left out or glossed over the difficult bits of the night out. I did have a good time but I had been looking at my watch and thinking of leaving the minute I got there, and intermittently through the evening; interspersed with actually relaxing and enjoying myself. My mind was able to focus on the positives afterwards ( totally necessary at this stage I think to not drink) until I typed and then deleted the line ‘I had fun but not the way I used to’ or something like that. That thought, quickly banished from my preferred perspective with the back button, wouldn’t lie down and disappear, and triggered my change in mood.
The second part of this is that I’ve been debating whether to share about my cannabis habit. I’m alcohol free (124 days) but not cannabis free. I know that means lots of readers will say I’m not sober. That’s why my blog is doctor getting sober; I know that too. When I write about going out sober I feel fake because I’ve had some spliff. In fact I have spliff every evening so the fake feeling is fairly constant. The more I interact on here the more fake I feel so I need to come clean. I’ve also taken other drugs but not in the same compulsive way, and not for a while. Cannabis has seemed the lesser evil in recent years compared to alcohol, and in many ways it is, but it’s still a mind altering drug and I’m addicted to it.
My original idea for starting this blog was to use it as accountability to stop smoking dope as well. Early on in the Getting Unstuck Course I was starting to think that cannabis would have to go too. I wanted to start blogging but I found I didn’t want to stop smoking yet, so I shifted the focus of the blog and started anyway. So what’s stopping me from stopping? In part the old chestnut of the girls weekend coming up in August. I know this is a classic addict excuse – wait for the right time. There is no right time only now. I know that but it works as an excuse if you’re looking for one. The other reason was one others have reinforced. ‘You need something, don’t you?’ – a lot of people have kindly said when I’ve commented about my not so sober sobriety. I’ve been pondering this a lot. As a society we are programmed to believe that we ‘need’ something in order to relax and enjoy ourselves. Life is so stressful and fast paced now it’s like we have to have a shortcut to speed up the unwinding so we don’t waste too much time relaxing! It also keeps us all compliant and non-complaining. Useful tactic for the decision and money makers. This quote from Anne Wilson Schaef’s book ‘When Society Becomes an Addict sums it up perfectly:
”The best adjusted person in our society is the person who is not dead and not alive, just numb, a zombie. When you are dead you are not able to do the work of the society. When you are fully alive you are constantly saying ‘No’ to many of the processes of society, the racism, the polluted environment, the nuclear threat, the arms race, drinking unsafe water and eating carcinogenic foods. Thus it is in the interests of our society to promote those things that take the edge off, keep us busy with our fixes, and keep us slightly numbed out and zombie-like. In this way our modern consumer society functions as an addict”.
I think it’s interesting that there is political awakening and discontent currently alongside a growing interest in sobriety, meditation and spirituality. Young people are more likely to be teetotal than my generation. Perhaps we’re all starting to realise we’ve been had? Anyway, the idea of needing ‘something’ is not just our addicted brains talking; it’s social conditioning. Conditioning my mind has embraced wholeheartedly and even framed as rebellion.
I think it was when I was reading Catherine Grey’s wonderful book ‘The Unexpected Joy of Being Sober’ that I first had the thought that rather than missing out on drinking I was missing out on sobriety by continuing to smoke. That’s been bouncing round my consciousness ever since. I know I’ve still processed a lot of emotional stuff since ditching the booze. Cannabis isn’t the consciousness obliterator alcohol is; though it’s good at dampening difficult feelings. It also takes your motivation and energy and makes you live too much in your own head. Perhaps that’s been useful for these early AF days, but I know it’s holding me back now.
So I’m going to stop – soon. After next weekend. Experience being me chemical free. Stop being a zombie. I’ve really no idea what will happen other than I think it might be a white knuckle ride emotionally. No more numbing. Anyway I’ve got my ticket, I’m in the queue, and there’s no getting out of it now.