While the last post was all about hanging on for dear life as I rode the fabled Pink Cloud of sobriety into the sunset, I can now report I have fallen off the cloud and landed with a resounding thud. It was more like a birthday balloon being popped. I think I probably over thought it. Somehow, knowing about the existence of the cloud made me aware I could fall off the bloody thing too!
So, grumpy Mr Sober Man is back. I don't get clinically depressed, but like a lot of people I have my ups and downs and I'm aware I'm in a bit of trough right now. I was going along swimmingly, till I had a three-year-old-tantrum-plagued, drop-my-honey-toast-on-the-kitchen-floor-honey-side-down, have-rare-argument-with-Mrs Sober Man, Highlanders-lose-to-the-blimmin-Kings, kind of weekend.
Yes, I know. These aren't major problems in the grand scheme of things but sometimes it feels like all the little things just add up and then you just feel like you're getting metaphorically slapped down by it all.
The lovely Prudence commented on the last post about her "first Pink Cloud" and how she got a pink streak in her hair and jetted down to Queenstown for the weekend. Ah, so I see how this works. You get more than one of these things. That gives me hope. I'm just sitting in my little roller-coaster car and I've dropped down from a great height, but I can see the plateau ending, and in the distance the track is about to rise up again, and I'll be away again!
I probably had my strongest cravings to drink this weekend. I was watching my favourite real estate show, Location, Location, Location, and the host was popping open a bottle of champagne. I watched them fill up the glasses and I was imagining the bubbles popping on my tongue when I snapped out of it and told myself to, 'get a grip!' I also saw an item on Sunday which featured a former police negotiator who talked about "numbing the pain" of what he saw in his job with alcohol. That triggered a memory for me of a story I wrote about the tragic hit-and-run death of a public servant for a newspaper I used to work for. It was probably the highpoint of my career from a journalism point of view. I remembered how I left the newsroom still surging with the adrenalin of what I had experienced. Not much earlier I had witnessed the never-before-seen sight of my boss and colleagues standing to applaud me as I triumphantly came back to the newsroom to write the story. I left about 9pm, and I went straight to the pub and proceeded to get drunk with my colleagues. We were celebrating. In the morning I woke up and read the story, the coverage of which ran across the first three pages, and the emotional gravity of what I had done, and the fact that a man - a human being who had a partner and kids who loved him - had been killed. I broke down and cried. I drank quite a bit during my newsroom days. There were many days like that which were taxing emotionally. The stories where you'd have to ring someone you'd just lost a loved one in a car crash. The relentless deadlines. The feeling like you were never quite good enough. The first thing you'd think of at the end of the day was finding out who else wanted to go to the pub for a few and you usually found someone.
I can think of so many times when I celebrated the hell out of occasions with booze and other times when I used it to cover up the grief and sadness and difficulty of life.
I'm an optimist. While I get stuck in these bad patches, I know better times aren't far away. Life is good. I'm a very lucky guy. I know that. The tools to get out of this funk, are in my hands. Writing about it is lifting my mood already. And what I'm finding is these ups and downs are easier to navigate without the usual go-to of booze.
A musical offering?
This is a song seemingly about how alcohol can solve life's problems, when really I think it's trying to point out the opposite. And I felt like a bit of Guided By Voices to start my day.
Drinker's Peace - Guided By Voices