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Looking Back at the Decade

I find it hard to believe 2010 was almost ten years ago. Where did all the time go and so suddenly? I feel these past ten years were some of the most turbulent but important years of my life. Wild, but sobering. Drunk and sedated. Lonely but smiling. Laughing but resentful. These states make no sense, but how do you summarize ten years into a few short paragraphs?

It would be the first year I’d live my life without my Grandpa. He was taken from me, from us, from her, and the shock was hard and pain. Suffering felt immediate and my world was overcome with grief. My grandparents were a pair and without the other, my Grandma became angry at the world. She did not hold back and neither did I. How the most beloved person you hold so dear to you could be the first to go is something I had a hard time comprehending. Words cannot express the loss felt of missing someone closest to you.

Anger left me different — resentful to say the least. I gave up knowing I felt on my own and lonely. No words of guidance or assurance was seen or heard from anyone. I wandered and went nowhere. I dropped out of college and spent all my time getting drunk and went to every party that landed on my news feed. It was fun for a while, why wouldn’t it? It kept my mind preoccupied and sedated. Thoughts became none and I loved it — for now.

Going back to school was immensely difficult. I already knew I was behind and classes felt immensely difficult. They were. I had no idea how to resume life and did everything I possibly thought would help stuff sections of information in my brain. I was riddled with anxiety and every failing mark on a paper or exam hurt.

It would be the very first time I felt I wanted to leave this world early and by my own hands. Anyone who has these thoughts should honestly not let them linger and boil over. It’s poison in the mind that slowly makes you want to act on your thoughts. I pray no one does if you’re reading this.

As difficult as school was, once I figured out how to study again, classwork became routine. The resentment inside me never left, but at least my grades improved drastically. My first few serious relationships we’re all during the first half of the decade and my God did I love them all.

Love returned, but not without consequence. We dated, hanged out, met this person and that person, and shared every inconceivable secret with each other. Every woman was unique and different. There were sweet, but subtle quirks with each one of them. Makes me smile even now to think back at it all.

I found out you should not love someone if you do not love yourself. A bit the hard way. The first relationship went and came quickly. Too fast and too soon. I lashed out at her with all the fury one man could for being so deep in pain. I’m sorry. But I never told her that. She was a doll, but I was a monster undeserving of her. Lesson learned? Maybe not.

Dating itself could be its own chapter riddled with notes and annotations left pilled up high. Not everyone is sincere and as fun as it is to do dinner and movie, sometimes it just won’t work out no matter how positive the outlook seems. The very person smiling in front of me could have other motives and while as awful as it is to think back, I needed that. Don’t be so naive or feel the need to have to be with someone. Remain honest even if they aren’t. You quickly we through the mask and bullshit.

I had this all too close relationship with alcohol. Did anyone suspect a problem? Hell no. College years, I was just seen as the socialble one. At home alone, I down 40 after 40 and felt the warm bliss of blacking out and not knowing what day it was in the morning. I have a spreadsheet of all the times I went and bought alcohol or any other illicit substance from the first half of the decade saved on my computer. Let’s just say I squandered away thousands. Ouch.

I would say my night time habits didn’t catch up to me until 2015. But once it did, it hit my body hard. I felt slow, my body ached, and my chest was constantly pounding. I chalked that up to anxiety, but honestly, I was full of shit. I knew what was happening and I came up with excuses to not stop. I’m still working on this, but I’ll freely admit it’s gotten so much better with time.

Working in the real world was interesting to say the least. I’ve only had office jobs and many came and went. I’ve had places and co-workers I wish would burn to the ground of have an anvil fall on them, but that’s beside the point. Find a job or career was challenging, but definitely not as bad as everything else I’ve touched on. If you don’t like where your at, just quit. Have a buffer or safety net in place to keep you going until the next one and keep trying. It’ll be scary, unknown, but worth getting yourself out of an unwanted environment. You work to make money, and if the money doesn’t justify staying there, leave.

I’m thankful life the last couple years have been great and much progress has been made. Goals have been reached and I’m no longer that awful person I once became trapped in. I tell no lies and remain sincere, even of it makes me look bad. I think that’s honestly all I want from all my friends or people I’ve seen — sincerity is paramount. I’ve come to realize that it’s not able making yourself look good and hiding all you flaws, but about being your whole self. I’m an unfinished work in progress and I make no claims to be perfect any time soon.

This year has been one of the best yet. I was with someone seriously for once. We hit it off and I enjoyed our time together. No it didn’t last but I was honest about what I wanted out of it or where I saw us going. Work got in the way, but I gave her a heads up. After some months, we stopped. It was for the best and would have been fair to autopilot this relationship with her. Bad timing? Maybe. Was it a fun time? Most definitely.

I don’t know what the next ten years hold, but anyone reading this, I hope you keep moving forward. The trajectory is unknown, but I hope nothing stops you from the journey of life. It’s hard, it’s painful, it’s loving and addicting. Best thing I ever did was want to wake up for tomorrow. There is only half a month left and I’m hopeful as ever. Later world. You have been one hell of a wild ride. I love it.

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Drinking Ain’t So Bad

I’ve had some mixed feelings about alcohol. Drink a little and you tend to feel great and relaxed. Drink too much and you’re a shell of a person free from all the inhibitions that keep you orderly. You rage — as some would say. It’s a fine line between two ends of the spectrum. I think my best friend embodies this the best.

We hangout every Friday and the weekend like clockwork. A drink or two is usually on the agenda regardless of the location. I’m not opposed to it. What else do guys do when they’re out socializing? He’s someone with a fair bit going on. I call it life coming down on him and hard. It’s terrible at times, but I know since we and the others are around, he cannot fail. We’re the support group and he knows.

Once he has a few beers, his mood changes. Gone are all the pessimistic comments about life, goals and dreams that would otherwise be a Debbie downer on the night. Just like that, he’s more at ease with the world and unfiltered raw happiness comes through once again. I think it’s the only time we can candidly talk about more serious topics without causing a commotion. Sweet lady courage works wonders on the less than optimistic. For those few short hours, he’s a different person. Someone I don’t see that often. Like night and day. And all for what. A beer. For this, I’ll gladly get drunk with him.

Later world.

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Sedation

Sedation is a wonderful feeling. You stop thinking for those few fledgling moments. It’s Zen. It’s calming. Yet, it comes back with a vengeance. It’s a trade off. Feel composed yet feel the wrath of the aftermath and whatever lingering effects sweet lady courage brings. In that sense, you never really break free. You want more of it. It’s reach is all encompassing and controlling. Son of a bitch. Quitting is difficult, but as they say, old habits die hard.

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The Home Stretch

With just a little over half a month remaining for the year, the urge — or thoughts rather, to drink have been more frequent. The greatest battles are the ones in your mind and it’s only fitting when the finish line is so fucking close. Drinking is fun — like really fucking fun. You can go into most stores and buy alcohol without much trouble. I use to buy a bottle of Svedka every week like clockwork. I justified it by including it with the cost of groceries. I suppose this is where the trouble stems. Ease of access and self-denial.

I’ve been asked, “What will you do after your one year is up?” I would like to continue to not drink and forgo alcohol all together for all the benefits being sober brings. Most people don’t give drinking a second thought. You go to a family gathering, someone is likely to offer you a beer or several throughout the course of a night. You hangout with the boys and again, most nights, there is alcohol involved. It’s ingrained in our culture to consume it. I wish it wasn’t.

“Why can’t you just have one?”

This has been a question I hear a lot and my response is either: I’ve gone this far, why start again? Or, “What makes you think someone like me will just stop at one? Sedation is a great feeling, especially after a long day and it quickly turns into a habit that has you feigning for more. Shit. Motherfucker, I would know. I’ve tried unsuccessfully countless times to quit the habit and only until now has it really stuck.

Back in college, my friend Peter also had a very severe drinking problem. Our days and nights consisted of sitting outside my apartment with a case of beer, a pack of cigarettes and kicking the shit. Bonding like bros with our vices in complete control of our lives. Knowing this about ourselves, we went to an AA meeting. You know, Alcoholics Anonymous. We sat around with others facing the exact same issue and introduced ourselves, “Hi, my name is Danny and I’m an alcoholic.” This is self-help at its finest. Did it work? Not the slightest. We quickly left before the meeting was done. Truthfully, there is a better way of being sober, but I wouldn’t stop someone facing a similar predicament to not give it a try. I laughed at the advice they offered, but one size does not fit all.

My friend Peter never broke the habit. I hope and pray he finds the light.

After going another two years hammering down bottle after bottle, something in my head clicked. Hangovers became more frequent and lasted longer. My appearance took a turn for the worst and just felt like I lost myself to sweet liquid courage. Dark times were ahead of me and I knew it. The first step is always to admit to yourself you have a problem. What follows is searching inside to find the root cause. It sucks to quit anything, but better late than never. Anything is possible. The thought of letting yourself down should be a motivator to have better healthier habits. Tell everyone you know your plans and goals. At least this isn’t just solely about you anymore. No one wants to let their friends down with another failed attempt.

Later world.