Nick's Journal
2015-11-21 17:34:04 (UTC)

Holiday, 90 Days & Happiness

i just got home for the holidays. although i saw my entire family for my bro's wedding over the summer, it feels like ages what with all that i've gone through in the past few months.

holidays, as anyone can attest are stressful unless you're a kid. flying is one of those events. one of the worst things for a recovering alcoholic is the airport. there is no other place on earth where it is perfectly acceptable for someone to consume a beer at 10 am in the morning. and that's exactly what i saw when i got there. it of course doesn't help that i used to do a good deal of drinking myself at the airport (likely encouraged by the fact that i looked less like an alcoholic there given the prevailing social norms).

air travel is simply infuriating. we were sitting on the tarmac for over an hour to wait for some people in a connecting flight to make ours. of course this then caused a huge uproar for those that had connecting flights in the next airport. delta likes to schedule connections within 20 minutes i learned from a raging person two rows behind me that would bellow this fact repeatedly every five minutes that we sat there waiting for the connecting people.

this all led to a blowing point when we finally landed. people had maybe five to ten minutes to make a connecting flight and then the stewardess made the biggest mistake of the evening...she got on the intercom and said, "ladies and gentlemen, we do have some passengers that need to hurry on out of here to make their connections, if you could please step aside and let them out."

yeah - guess how many people stepped aside? none. in fact, i have never seen a plan unload so slowly (a lot of old people). people in the back of the plane WERE LOSING THEIR MINDS. i felt so badly for the elderly people trying to laboriously get their carry-on out of the overhead compartment as some asshole was screaming in the back, "HEY - HEY - HURRY IT UP DOWN THERE. FOR GOD'S SAKE, HAVE SOME RESPECT, I NEED TO MAKE MY CONNECTION." language got more colorful too. in the end some assholes actually pushed passed, literally PUSHED passed, the elderly on the tunnel to the airport from the plane. some people just can't be helped.

so i am on 95 days today. i know i haven't written a lot about my milestones, but i just feel so awkward celebrating them. wow i acted like a decent human being for 95 days. but at the same time i am still so very proud of it. i mean i just see how much better i feel. just how clearly i think for once.

but that brings me to happiness. the terrible thing about drug addiction is that you basically ruin your ability to experience "natural" happiness. essentially what happens is that you flood your brain with dopamine when you abuse drugs. for example, let's say there's a unit for happiness. let's call it an Happidecillion. So maybe eating an apple causes your body to produce enough dopamine to create maybe 2 Happidecillions worth of happiness. sex is maybe 10 happidecillion. drugs are like 1,000 happidecillion. the worst are cocaine and meth. meth is apparently like blowing your brain's fuses with 50,000 Happidecillions at once.

so your brain synapses literally become "fried" because they are not equipped to absorb so much dopamine. what's worse, is that these drugs also inhibit your body's propensity to re-uptake dopamine and serotonin (a technique used in SSRI anti-depressants). while that is great for SSRIs for people who are already low on such neuro-chemicals, that is not good when your brain is already flooded with such chemicals.

so in all of this, your body's resources become depleted and you have now experienced such a high unit of happiness, that "natural" pleasures (hanging out with friends, exercising) just no longer do it. in fact i was probably completely correct from a bio-chemical aspect that i would not be as happy hanging out with friends than staying at home and getting fucked up.

so the harrowing thing when you are recovering is that you have great difficulty feeling happiness. imagine a life where you can't really feel happiness. it is horrifying. there are things that i do that i know should make me happy, but i just can't feel that feeling sometimes.

it is coming back slowly and thankfully alcohol is not nearly as terrible as cocaine or meth, but not being able to feel happiness in the simple pleasures of life is a horrible way to go about it. but it is a necessary step in recovery.

i am looking forward to happiness with my family for this holiday though. little by little, normal life is coming back. slowly but surely.