We live in a society that is based on quick fixes. A world where everything we crave is at our fingertips, one click away. Having such easy access to anything means our desires can be fulfilled without much effort or work, all you have to do is flip open a screen, and tap it in, whether it’s sex, shopping or therapy, it’s all available 24/7.
It's done for convenience; a fast-tracked society on the run.
This results in me feeling in a hurry.
A panic almost.
I feel the constant need to get tasks done. I sense the rush, the push to go faster is biting at my ankles. I sense a deadline hanging over me.
This hasty tech-culture puts subliminal pressure on me. An undisclosed force that makes me feel like I’m failing because I’m not getting enough done each day.
Because of this subconscious time limit I find myself searching for short term highs. Hits of love that can fill the gaps. Pace breakers. Peace makers.
Drinking used to be what gave me the hit I needed. A very short-term high that numbed out the rush. It made my life blurrier, I could step off life when things got too hard. Getting hammered slowed things down, closed the door on the strong gust of wind that constantly blew behind me.
And now, sobriety means there is no escape from this modern, faster pace of life. I’m running with the throng, finding it hard to slow down my stride. I’m moving along with the world because If I stop, I’m not sure what I will do?
Being sober makes me very awake, so I get more done, I’m so much more productive in sobriety. The more work I do the more I create. I’m climbing a flight of stairs that goes continuously upwards; hoping there will be a fun slide to take me down the other side, but I never find the entrance.
This side effect of sobriety is one that I could have never predicted. The more successful I am the more I desire a come down. The busier I am, the more I crave oblivion.
When I can’t keep up, in the moment I used to reach for the wine, I find myself unconsciously delving into other toxic places, other noxious realms to get a hit of something, a fix.
I’ve replaced wines with Instagram followers and swapped lager for ‘likes.’
The need is the same,
I’m not satisfied with one, I want more.
but it's as unfulfilling as a pint of shandy.
Social media is substituting a bottle. It’s promising me something but giving me nothing.
It’s the same need to fit in, the same desire to be loved, my people pleasing playing out on a phone rather than at a pub.
As soon as I post a picture, I wait, like I’m waiting for a barman to fill my glass, I’m waiting for someone to show me they’re interested, that I’m good enough and worthy of being ‘liked’.
The feeling I get when an uploaded photo is ignored is that same as waking up alone with a stranger’s phone number scribbled on the back of my hand.
It makes me feel like nothing.
But I carry on searching, posting, consuming… hoping that next time will be better, hoping next time the hit will make me feel good.
I know it’s not healthy, but I can’t stop.
I’m struggling to find methods, natural ways to unwind.
Stuff that doesn’t compare and doesn’t judge. I want to feel high when the wind blows through my hair or smile when a wave crashes on the shore, but right now I’m not sure if I’m waiting for a break in the waves or for a wave to break over me?
Sobriety is so bloody confusing.
Going from numbing out to now being so aware of myself is so very confronting. This awkward feeling makes me want to numb out, I want to find a way where I can feel the euphoria of being drunk again, to just feel nothing again.
Just nothing for a moment.
The problem with this is clear.
I want to feel something that I have chosen to give up.
I want the blackout back, to distract me from the rush.
Floating in nothing is much more appealing than hitting the ground running.
Sobriety, I’m slowly realising, is all about stretching out those highs and lows from a zig zaggy line into a straight one. It’s like pulling a paper clip so hard at each tip that the bends flatten out and all you're left holding is a straight piece of wire.
A lifelong contentment in exchange for those short-term highs.
It sounds boring I know, but perhaps an entire life of being 'ok' is better than ups and downs?
I have chosen this life because the bends left me full of anxiety and shame, the corners dig into my ribs and make me ache...but I do miss the good bits of drinking too, the feeling of not caring about anything, the freedom of it.
Yet, because I quit I’m expected to suddenly be moving at the same speed as everyone else and truthfully, I’m out of breath.
I’m tired because now I feel, I care, I think, and the rush pushes me harder than I can go. I know the flat line of sobriety is better for me in the long-term, but that doesn’t mean it’s easy getting to the finish line.
Knowing how to opt out of the race when the crowd is moving you forward is hard. I’m not used to dealing with things, working through stuff or facing my fears. I’ve avoided it for 26 years and now it seems, that’s all I do, heal, think and be raw .......and it makes me want to drink.
I think this hurried life makes everyone want to drink, or drug, or watch porn, or gamble. When you know you can’t win it’s better to just give up and get the high another way, right?
I think I need to find better ways to feel worthy, I think we all do, for us to feel accepted. ‘Likes’ from people I have never met don’t seem to be giving me what I need, in fact they seem to be emptying me out. But in a modern world where our lives are so exposed, I wonder if that’s the future of us, short term love, quick hits of joy that are just enough to keep our heads above water, but not quite enough for us to feel happy.
Like a wine glass that’s always full being held by a drinker that is never satisfied.
I think I need to put a little WD40 on my paper clip, make it bend a bit easier, right now its stiff, askew. I’m struggling to straighten it out and finding it difficult to learn how to lag behind.
I want to be ok with doing nothing.
I need to stop, slow the pace.
and listen to the water,
instead of waiting for the crash.
I’m not going to drink today,
but the desire sits close to the surface.
It simmers as I catch my breath,
It waits for me to stumble.
But I just keep on walking.
One step at a time.