I spend most of my day with music blaring into my ears.
Today, as I made my way into town, was no exception.
A song came on I haven’t heard for about ten years.
So long, that it took me right back to when it came out, which was at least 12 years ago.
Twelve years ago I was definitely drinking.
I was definitely drinking a lot.
But that’s not what the song reminded me of.
Although it should have, because it was played constantly in clubs, at the time.
The song reminded me of being in my early twenties.
Of where I was living, which was a compound in the middle of nowhere.
Of who my friends were, the other people in their twenties who also lived and worked within the compound.
A place where we were in the minority, as all the other adults were far older.
Of the times we had together. Which wasn’t hard, because we spent all of our time there together.
I recalled very rarely being alone back then. Because you are never alone in a tiny community. Someone is always nearby.
I did drink very heavily there. I did have horrible hangovers there.
I tried to “give up” drinking whilst I lived there, and failed horribly at least twice.
But it was none of the drinking regrets that the song brought back to me.
Nor should it have been. Despite alcohol playing a huge part of my life then. The central role, really.
Because the truth for me is the same truth that confuses so many people who can’t control their drinking and want to stop.
It’s not all bad.
The memories are not all bad.
We do still manage to create some nice memories, even during the chronic drinking.
We do still manage to break through the barrier, the walls of isolation that drinking brings, and manage to create friendships.
We can still do this, not because of alcohol, in spite of it.
But instead of holding on to this fact, as a testament of our emotional strength and durability.
We decide to lie about it to ourselves.
To see all the periods of our drinking lives as bad. All drinking as evil.
And all it does is create more delusions, that always lead back to drinking.
The real truth is that I hated the itch that came with drinking. And I hated myself when I drank. And I hated myself even more when I was hungover.
But I still had good moments. And it’s okay to acknowledge that. Because I have far more of them these days. Now I’ve finally understood that alcohol didn’t create those moments. I did.
The real truth is, alcohol wasn’t evil. It wasn’t brilliant either. It just was. It just is. Nothing more. Nothing less.
And getting mad at alcohol makes about as much sense as me getting mad at a table or chair.
Instead of seeing it as something I choose to use, or not use. Knowing it will leave me alone, just like the furniture, if I choose not to use it.
I sifted through my happy memories that this song brought up, and basked in them for at least four minutes.
I did this knowing I always will whenever the past comes to visit now. Because I’m so attuned to feeling good, that it’s the emotional memory I always have the easiest access to.
Past or present.
Then the song switched to more recent times.
And, effortlessly and accordingly, so did I.