Tuesday, February 24, 2009
nothing good happens after midnight
I've begun to notice that most of my friends' amusing, embarrassing, or regrettable stories begin with, "so this one night, I was totally wasted." Since my high school years, this has seemed like normal behavior. Having fun almost always included mind-alteration; having fun meant escaping reality. I never thought it was truly possible to have a fun night out without drinking. Or if it were possible, I thought that drinking would always make the night more fun. This may be fine for some people, but for me, drinking was never just having a few drinks. Why would I consume the calories in alcohol without getting trashed? But, I didn't see a problem. I thought what I was doing was normal behavior because, well, I'm young.
I once told my psychologist, Dr. Joan Lavender, that "being healthy is boring." She has never let me forget it. My roller coaster of emotions and impulsive actions was always exciting. I never want to wake up and know exactly what is going to happen. I thought that being healthy would make my life predictable. What I've found is the exact opposite.
In recovery, I am creating a reality that I don't need to escape from to enjoy myself. Using substances is not my only way of having fun anymore. When I'm intoxicated, I miss what's going on around me. I lose the memories of time with friends and the ability to make real connections. I'm learning that just because I'm on my way to health, doesn't mean that I'm on my way to boredom. In fact, every day becomes more meaningful, more memorable, and more enriching. The time I spend with my close friends strengthens our relationships - whether through laughing, crying, talking, or playing. And I have the presence of mind not to waste my time on people who I don't want in my life. Before going to treatment, I thought that I would come back as a robot - no drinking, no drugs, no fun, perfect, perfect, perfect. But, today, I'm more animated, more vibrant, more creative, and more fun than ever.
So, Dr. Lavender, being healthy is exciting.