Know Thyself

I’ve been reevaluating my relationship with alcohol because, well, I’m 33, and I’ve changed a lot in the recent years, but somehow my attitude towards alcohol has not changed. I’m beginning to think that I’ve missed the mark on that one. It’s not that anything bad has happened – in fact, if anything, because nothing bad has happened with my alcohol consumption, this is the perfect time to reevaluate it. Is it actually working for me? I know why I drink – as dumb as it sounds, it makes me feel cool. It makes me feel exciting. Edgy. Like a rebel. And the more that my life becomes staid and “middle class” (all things being relative), the more that I cling to drinking in order to feel the wildness inside me. But, then again, I’ve come to resent the fact that I need alcohol in order to be cool. Why can’t I be cool just on my own, without alcohol? Granted, there is the profound possibility that I’m totally uncool – but maybe I should put down the bottle and accept that, too. So I’m thinking about how much I adore alcohol, and drinking, and being drunk, and with the glimmer of the thought that *maybe* we need some space, I’ve already hyperaccelerated myself into a rather uncomfortable grieving process because, well, how am I supposed to grieve without alcohol?! Whatever. I guess I’ll just resign myself to being boring and normal because there is something so uncomfortably cliche about perpetuating the self inflicted problems of alcohol. The question is: who am I when I’m not drinking? Although, if I’m being honest with myself about my relationship with alcohol, the real question is: who am I when I’m not drinking and I’m not surrounding myself with people who also have drinking problems? I’m afraid that if I’m sober, in a room full of sober people, I won’t qualify as the most interesting or exciting person in the room. Not that I ever qualified as the most interesting or exciting person in the room, but when I was drinking, I at least felt like the most interesting and exciting person in the room.

I use alcohol to control my emotions. It’s a controlled burn – I can control when I get out of control, when I get loose. Without alcohol, I don’t know when I will feel good – it’s random. With alcohol, I know it happens with that first sip. I am afraid that without alcohol, I will get out of control. I am afraid that I won’t recognize the person I will become, and with that – even more chaos. Maybe not drinking is the reckless option. I am comfortable with the many moods of me when I’m drinking, but who knows what kind of new depths of depression I will achieve, or what kind of ennui I will sink into, or what kind of pursuits I will entangle myself in while in the pursuit of some other dopamine rush. What will the pursuit of a new type of pleasure do to a person like me, and am I too old to be doing things like that?

All I want is to feel better than other people, and I’m not quite sure if alcohol helps or hurts that pursuit. Will report back in 3-5 years as to whether or not I have glided my way into an even more stultifying level of mediocrity or if I have found a way bolster my delusions of superiority and grandeur.

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