Everything to Lose, Everything to Gain


Like most addicts, I thrive in the chaotic – when anarchy runs rampant in my life, there is no room for complacency and I’m abnormally in my most elite state to produce my finest work; it keeps me on my toes – being backed into a corner forces my hand and I have no choice but to fight my way out.  It really doesn’t make sense because I’m a self-appointed perfectionist and I feel the overwhelming desire to keep everything around me neat and organized; maybe that’s the difference between my internal and external struggle.  And when I say, “produce my finest work” however, it does come at a price – to me and to those around me.  I’m much like a salmon swimming upstream – if I’m not struggling against something; if I don’t have a jam to get myself out of or some problem to figure out, I feel very uncomfortable; teetering on unnatural.  Existing free of the chaos seems extremely daunting, almost like, what’s the point?  It comes across as dull and monotonous; waking up and putting on a suit to contribute to corporate America everyday plays out like a sick and twisted nightmare in my mind; traffic during the commute to and from, sitting in a box all day, a thousand phones going bananas, answering to a boss, the pointless, petty and unavoidable conversations with co-workers or clients – yuck – much worse than being isolated in a grungy, dark motel room with mirrored walls, a bedbug infestation, accompanied by a questionable chick from backpage, and indulging in a bottle of the cheapest whiskey I can find.  Yes, I’ve been there, but that’s a story for another day.

Having everything to lose and everything to gain is, to say the least, a discomforting place to find myself floating around in aimlessly.  Nowadays I hop on board this intense emotional roller coaster which can most certainly be attributed to the fact that I have no clue who I am or how to “do life” the “right” way at the ripening age of thirty; and for anybody that claims thirty is young and there is plenty of time – I call bullshit, sorry.  For all intents and purposes I’m middle aged now and I have merely coasted through life up to this point, mostly on a combination of luck and the ability to scheme, manipulate, or bargain my way through it all; essentially my motto or personal mission statement has been, “fly under the radar” with a side of “blend in”.  Unfortunately for me, radar technology has advanced a bit since I started on this quest, which has left me and my undomesticated ways detected and exposed.  Either I really need to get better at maneuvering around detection or actually pursue a way to start living with some class, honesty, and integrity.


The easiest explanation of my logic to successful living could be seen through the lens of how I handled finances; all in two simple steps.  I started by ranking bills and financial obligations in order of importance.  Then, I initiated the juggling act – that’s it.  In theory it appeared very simple, but it actually took more time and energy while inducing more stress than just doing things the “traditional” or “responsible” way.  And it’s not like I wasn’t earning enough money to cover all my bills comfortably, but when the means to purchase alcohol was essentially as important as breathing, it was the only way to manage the lifestyle.  Rent or mortgage payments were always atop the list and, even in my warped sense of logic, must have been paid every month and relatively on time.  At least an address saved me from living in my car or on the streets – even if there were none of the luxuries like electricity, natural gas, internet, cable, etc.…I needed my personal space and accommodations to enjoy the ever-occurring blackouts that took place there.  On the other hand, through time and experience, I had essentially solved the puzzle of the various service providers and how far each could be pushed before a shut off.  My completely unscientific and erratic formula, which existed only in my head, enabled me to always keep all utilities on and functioning – in my mind that was a win.  “Last month I paid electric so I’m good with them for a while, this month I’ll pay the gas company” and so on.  The most difficult part was keeping track of how long it had been since a payment was made to any given company or service, but as long as I organized the bills and stayed on top of things, it was no problem.  I admittedly viewed myself as doing well and functioning responsibly.  Welcome to the mind of an alcoholic.

I have a lot riding on my ability to pull it together and make something of myself – for real; not pretending to be a productive member of society with all my covert cover-ups and alternative agendas.  I don’t understand why it’s so arduous to be authentic or genuine about living, but for me it is.  I attribute some of this to the emotional mood swings I still encounter, anywhere from depressed and unmotivated to waking up ready to take on the world.  I credit portions of it to my lack of trust and dislike for the human race.  I associate other elements to the mere fact that I live with the disease of alcoholism and it comes with the territory.  It gets complicated to be consistent when all this is taking place in my psyche, but I know my brain is still adjusting to life without being drowned in Jack Daniels – I need to ride this out and not give in to any of the intense urges that catalyze in my head during this time.  Between ninety days and six months is my most vulnerable time for relapse – and that’s exactly what stage I’m currently fighting through.  There is light at the end of the tunnel, however.  Much of the time I feel like I have lost it all, like I have nothing left to lose, and I’m going to die miserable and alone, but that’s not entirely accurate.  Don’t get me wrong, I have given up a lot in my pursuit of successful drinking, but not everything; many of which can be fixed with time and effort.  In essence, everything I have to gain is, in itself, everything I have to lose – if I pick myself up, dust myself off, and do what I know how to do to ensure I don’t lose everything I still have a chance to gain.

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