A lot of people have asked why I quit everything for a year, and I don’t have a good one or two line answer.
So here is the journal entry where I figured out why I’m doing it. I’m just going to leave this here and refer anyone who asks me why to this:
Today is the first sick day I’ve taken at groupme. It’s also the beginning of my quitting drugs for a month. I’m trying to get in better shape for the reunion, sure, but I’m also gearing up for 2012: a year without drugs.
It’s an experiment that came to me one night when I was lying in bed and wishing for what ultimately amounts to freedom from the various addictions in my life. I mean how nice would it be to be able to get on a roll, to build up something steadily without being derailed by benders.
The part that’s hard to come to terms with is the social anxiety. Honestly, drugs are a significant part of my identity. The fact that I’m a little worried I’ll lose friendships or not be entertaining enough if I’m not allowed to drink for a year is the surest sign that I should quit.
And this monthlong run is going to be a good test. It’s going to be a little strange saying “I don’t drink” for an entire year. I’m just thinking now about what I’ll do for Abe’s wedding but let’s cross that bridge when we come to it.
I’m trying to analyze and get at the heart of what I feel I’m losing by being seen as someone who doesn’t drink. First off, and very cliche, is that I feel I’ll be seen as not cool. The point I started being cool and liking my image is when I started drinking, junior year of high school. It provided me with the confidence to express myself in an unfiltered way, and I’ve clutched dearly to that crutch ever since. I’m worried about what James and I of 2002 would think of this me, while still aware that the judgment of immature frat boys is kind of marginal, especially when compared with the judgment of women.
That’s what this all comes down to, it’s no surprise: I need to take drastic measures to make myself a good gift to a woman that deserves it.
The other judgment I’m worried about when presenting myself as a teetotaller is one that unfortunately is not irrelevant to women: weakness.
People see someone who has to get help and follow a program to fix their ailment as weak. Even admitting that an ailment is affecting you is weak. And admitting that you can’t even control it is weak. But being afraid of that perception is something I’m just going to have to get over. It’s like Anthony said in class, you can’t hide in plain sight. I may delude myself into thinking I’m concealing my weakness, when I’m sure if you candidly asked anyone that knew me, they judge me far more for my current failings than they would for being a teetotaller.
Improv is something that’s certainly going to help. Hopefully I can replace this approximation of courage and confidence with the real thing. I gg to the dentist but the final thought swimming in my head is that I don’t need a good “why” for when people ask me why I’m quitting. I just need to be OK with being perceived as weak. In fact it might be freeing to respond: “because I’m weak and I can’t control myself and my drug abuse is the primary reason I never get laid”
I may never actually say that, but I should keep in mind that the loss in social currency of uttering that explanation is well worth the gain of an identity reboot.