I’m not getting fucked so that I can fuck the system better.
It’s nearly been 3 weeks since I said goodbye to pot and an ongoing 5 year process of figuring out why alcohol has been robbing me of joy. I’m realizing that all substances kind of work in the same way, at first, they feel really damn good. After that initial shock of putting a foreign drug in your body (yes, ethanol is a drug) you start to adapt to it. You get used to drinking a whole bottle of wine now and then, smoking a couple joints in a day. It starts to feel nice, necessary, regulating. The brain starts to adapt, putting out less signals to feel up and down, you have substances for that.
What I didn’t realize though, is after a decade of chronic drinking and pot smoking, that it starts to become not so fun anymore. My brain has been trained and chained to absolutely need a drink to calm the fuck down, to need a joint so I can process my emotions. I didn’t know that I was bringing my neurochemistry lower, so that I could function through the highs. Weed and alcohol are depressants. They may be stimulating at first, but ultimately, they will leave you feeling beaten and down. They’re tricky like that. I’m realizing the whole ‘weed is medicine’ argument is an old line and it’s only medicine for a short period of time, then it becomes a life sentence.
Struggling with suicidal ideation for a year has not been fun, obviously, but I’m grateful to have seen the depths of despair I can go into. Now I can see the bright light shining my way out. A slow, steady climb with the assistance of a psychiatric evaluation, some trial and error with pharmaceuticals, and most importantly, getting sober.
Clear minded, I’m able to fully process my thoughts, emotions and memories. Drug and addiction treatment in our society is far from perfect, but I’m realizing the real magic is in people like us sharing our stories. That’s the magic of AA, the peer support and words we relate to, the comrades we find who aren’t critical and judgmental, the people who get it.
Yesterday was Red Dress Day, I spent some time learning more about how I can be an ally supporting the thousands of Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women, Girls and 2Spirit People. I’m realizing that this mess of politics and police just not doing their jobs is something that can’t be tackled when I’m messed up. I don’t have the time or clarity to make a political difference if I’m too busy getting drunk, wasting money that could be used to support causes on pot. I’m seeing my sobriety as a way to make meaningful change, to amplify my own voice and the voices of others.
Not only this – but it helps my suicidal ideation simmer down, my mind becomes more still, clear. I do have a reason to be here. My life is not meaningless. My words may be an ADHD neurotic mind dump, but maybe there’s someone out there that this can inspire. In a world where reproductive rights are currently being taken from women and trans folk, our clarity is of the utmost importance. We need to empower ourselves to speak out, to fight back and to quite literally fuck the patriarchy.
You can’t be an activist if you’re too busy nursing a hangover.
The meaning of ‘bread and circus’ has never been more poignant. In the dawn of social media, mindless scrolling, people bent on being influencers rather than creating structural change from the ground up. I mean hey, maybe we’ll all be on fire in a few years and Mother Earth will sweep us out like the infection that we are. But maybe she won’t – and I want to be able to look back and know I lived a good life. Not one defined by my own hedonistic desires but a life that had some, small meaning. Perhaps this is the other side of wishing for death, it’s seeing what a new life might look like, one that doesn’t revolve around me and my own desires. A resurrection.
If I can find something more important to live for then getting fucked up, then I can see the world through a brighter lens. There are people out there doing good work, being god damn beautiful and shining as their authentic selves. I’m choosing to see how I can help, how I can observe or listen better with a clear mind and established values. I’m starting to understand how to stand tall again.