12/29/2016 — doors.

The finality of 2016 is upon us. So many changes this year and almost all of them were for the better. Yes, a lot of it was painful and difficult, but nothing good comes easy.

My wife, and I are hitting the road for the next three to four months so as you can imagine a lot of preparations need to get done. I am super excited to welcome in this new year of sobriety, soberly. Life isn’t looking quite so out of place right now. I feel like the anxiety of ‘now what’ has passed just slightly enough for me to be able to see some of the road that lies ahead.

I have been conducting interviews with other people that have left the rehab program to see what life is like on the other side. No one, or at least the ones that answered the phones, have relapsed completely. A couple people admitted to dabbling here or there, and one person that I talked to tokes and drinks but has the willpower to stay off the narcotics.

Realistically the opiates were the major issue for me, but I feel really good about not drinking. I never identified as a drunk, or alcoholic, but never was there a morning after drinking where I woke up and thought about all of the productive tasks that I was able to tackle the night before. Realistically, and more often then not I was waking up with a pounding headache and a pocket full of regrets.

Being able to talk and think like this is one thing that I hope lasts with me long after rehab — being honest with myself. Lying to myself, and to others is just second nature to me. There is really no reason to lie about almost everything, but it’s just become second nature at this point. I know that this way of life didn’t come natural to me, and it’s going to take work to undo some of the bad habits formed. I am really beginning to see the outline of the picture ahead of me without it seeming quite so daunting.

I wish there was some profound statement to be made here but there really isn’t. For the past two months I have been living as a poor man who’s sole purpose in life was to go sit around a bunch of mopey guys in a room and talk about our substance abuse issues. For a while I was only allotted enough money to get to the facility, pay for my treatment, and get home.

After about a month my wife was generous enough to give me a copy of our credit card which was monitored daily, and now we’re almost back to normal. The lifestyle I am living now is something that should have happened a long time ago. There was no reason to have my own bank account for a long time before it actually went away — other than to give me access to quick cash to spend on mind altering substances. This was a clean sweep on so many different levels — my junkie clothes, my junkie bank account, my junkie excuses all wiped clean.

I was walking down the street today amongst a crowd of people thinking about how many different perspectives there are to life, and comparing it to a kaleidoscope. From a junkie’s perspective you need all these things — they are essential to life. A couple layers deeper and you have a completely different set of vital items that you cannot live without. It’s easy to say to someone “you don’t need that”, but unless you’re viewing life from their perspective how can you say that?

Well the perspective that I currently have attached is ‘no regrets’. Yes, again, some things got perfectly good and jolted out of place, but everything is going to be fine — everything is fine.

It is exciting to think about the future. We are hitting the road, and by the time we return I should have five or six months of steady sobriety under my belt.

There have been times when this entire experience makes me feel like a normal sober person with complaints, and maybe that is what I am reduced to now.

Yeah, opiate kicks really are awful.

The withdrawal comes in waves, way past when the physical withdrawal is over. I think partly there is just such relief after the physical component is over that somewhere deep inside you are just happy to be alive. I was just happy to be alive.

And then, I guess at some point.. that fades.

Down and out.

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