These three forces are always at odds with each other and doing their best to discredit and marginalize each other. However, they are all trying to do the same thing. Predict the future and explain the past.
Strangely, all 3 groupings completely distrust and do their very best to discount the others. I guess it is not strange.
I dont feel like writing about this now – maybe later.
So it has been 11 full months without a drink. Everyone in the aa mtg is always talking about how much better life is sober and how much happier they are and how much better they are at their job and life is wonderful – blah, blah, blah.
I have been waiting for these things to magically happen in my life. I got my work review today and sobriety definitely has not helped at work. I used to be able to just tolerate everything knowing I would be 3 sheets to the wind in just a matter of minutes and forget it all. I cant do that anymore and be a pushover so I have made a number of waves while holding my ground.
The thing I miss most is having something to look forward to. I never minded hard work as I knew I would reward myself with scotch. The harder the work, the more scotch I deserved and I never felt bad about it. I looked forward to going home from work – not to see the kids or friends – but to get my drink going – then I could focus on being a dad and homeowner. With a low level buzz, I was in there with the best of them.
I don’t have any of that anymore. No house, no kids, no booze, no real friends. To cope, I have really been trying to stay busy and fill the empty space. I have really been trying to learn to appreciate the small things during the day. I have been trying new and different activities
But I really dont have anything to look forward to in life. I really miss my VSOP and have not yet found a suitable substitute.
Avoiding depression is one thing. Attaining happiness is another – and there is a vast mundane distance between the two. Somewhere along the way, I completely forgot how to be happy and even have trouble imagining myself being happy. I have been finding videos about this topic from a psychology perspective and trying to get a handle on it.
- Happiness is not the absence of misery
Humans are wired to strive for happiness, and when they find it, they crave more and more. Sounds like an addiction. Sometimes I think all my booze and drug use earlier completely fried the ‘happiness’ center of my brain. Or maybe I have yet to come across a natural way to happiness that can complete with these chemical means.
- Happiness not thinking about yourself
I need to find happiness in the small things everyday. Waiting for intense events allows for vast stretches of flat unemotional existence. Focus on the little things everyday. Take a picture and document these small items.
I was talking about this while getting a haircut the other day and asked the gal what she does to stay so positive. Her advice was “Don’t go to sleep angry, sad, or mad – watch/read something amusing every evening”.
She also said her mom told here to “At least pretend to be happy and see if it soaks in / rubs off on others” Something to try this year anyway.
- I’d be happy if… fallacy.
Focus on process, not outcome – that whole journey not the destination thing. This is really difficult for goal oriented people. I spend all day focusing on getting things done and moving onto the next task. When things are done, I rarely stop to appreciate it.
- Accepting your situation as is
There have been some studies observing the happiness of prisoners, handicaps, etc. These are people who cannot change their situation who somehow are happier statistically than the population at large. Interstingly, fewer choices make finding happiness easier – not more choices.
You never hear of people being clinically depressed before the turn of the previous century. Maybe they were there, hidden, silent. I bet it was much less frequent than today for a number of reasons. People worked a hell of a lot harder back then. Long hours, manual labor, few creature comforts made each day truly closer to survival. People that are very busy and active have a low correlation with depression – and I am not sure if there is a cause and result. If I am very busy and active – I tend not to dwell on my lack of purpose in life.
I think this is related to ‘why zebras don’t get ulcers’ or why kids that grow up in super-clean houses get autoimmune diseases. I think we need to be physically challenged on a regular basis. It seems I do anyway.
I suppose I am depressed. I tried some of those head medications about 10 years ago but never liked them or found they did anything helpful. I think I successfully masked my depression with booze over the years, but now that crutch is gone. I have not mentioned this to my doctor and thanks to obamacare – will never admit to this. Too many unintended consequences. Humans managed to deal or avoid depression for millions of years before meds. Maybe meds have improved in the last decade – but I think I should cowboy up and try something different first.
Exercise seems to be the quickest way out of a mental funk. My daily routine has me walking a lot, but it takes jogging/biking/climbing every 48 hours to keep the darkness at bay. Walking doesn’t seem to do it for some reason. I learned this by accident this year – I was simply trying to stay busy and avoid drinking. I was doing a good job at exercising regularly in 2012 ever since i left detox in February. The cold weather in October threw my routine out the window and I have been struggling for a few months now.
I can’t bike outside now, the cold air burns my lungs, the ice is too slippery to run on, and my motivation levels are hitting new lows. I suck at running anyway. I need to trick myself and drive over to the heated dome and jog a mile or so. Depression really sucks all motivation out the window and the cycle feeds itself.
Getting up and doing really is the hard part.
It is only a test. If this was an actual emergency you would have been told where to go and whose ass to stick your head in.