Tuesday, March 09, 2010

Rediscovering An Old Me

Monday night marked the one-week anniversary of my Great Tumble. I decided to celebrate by watching a 30-year-old film I first saw when I was 20. Back then I was so infatuated with the film that I must have watched it 12 or 15 times in the movie theatre before owning (or renting, I can't remember) a copy on Betamax tape.

It was the 1980 film, Hopscotch, with Walter Matthau and Glenda Jackson. In 2010, the film has aged and it caused me to focus more on how life has changed in the past thirty years. Matthau is dead. Sam Waterston has aged beyond belief. The concept of a guy writing a book on a typewriter, with or without the presence of Liquid Paper, seems comical. It was almost as inconceivable as the notion of dropping coins into a phone box and asking an operator to make a "bill to" call to Salzburg, Austria.

Revisiting this film after so many years was like attending a 30-year high school reunion and realizing that those days are gone. Nevertheless, I found it an oddly comforting way to celebrate the events of the past week.

The conclusion of Monday evening without a drink was another milestone: seven days being sober.

I did have a triggering event at work yesterday afternoon. Something happened requiring me to do a rush of unexpected work late in the day when I was already tired, and I was thinking about how much I wanted to wash away that frustration after work with a tequila shot. I managed to derail that desire after a few minutes of analysis and making an effort to put everything in perspective. Attitude, and the way I choose approach the unexpected, are key. Clinging to negativity can be hazardous to your health.

After going to bed last night, I didn't fall asleep for nearly an hour. It wasn't restlessness; it was a far more relaxing evaluation of myself and my current mental state. I feel like I have been reunited with a part of myself that I had forgotten even existed. It is the me I haven't hung out with since I was in my 30s. It is the me who was completely capable of entertaining himself in the evening without the crutch of booze. It is the me who had no blog or no Facebook page. It is the me without any concept of what my life would be in my 40s. It is the me who was excited about the 21st century. It is the me of then merging with the me of now.

My evenings belong to me again; they do not belong to a bottle filled with amber hooch.

Even the depth and quality of my sleep is something I haven't experienced in years. I was feeling like the new mattress, which I purchased in November to help with my back pain, had been a waste of money. As recently as two weeks ago, I was seriously wanting to check the purchase receipt to see if I was within the 90-day return window. My quality of sleep was horrendous and some mornings I had to carefully ease myself out of bed to avoid a severe back spasm. What a relief to know it had nothing to do with the mattress and everything to do with how I was living my life.

I have also discovered that I'm no longer stressing about finances. The VISA card with a $500 credit limit no longer needs to be monitored on a weekly basis to determine whether or not I need to send a payment to avoid hitting the charge limit. I no longer fret over the debit card tied to my checking account, and feeling like I need to enter receipts in Quicken to be sure I'm not going be short when the mortgage payment is due. The Hooch Emporium, with its 5% discount for cash or debit card payments, is going to miss me. The feeling is not mutual.

I am finding it very difficult to put this feeling of freedom and liberation into words. I will keep trying.

As someone who hasn't had solid food in a week, I'm in remarkably good spirits. However, I'm keenly aware that a pile of french fries would sure kick those spirits up another notch.

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