Like the humidity in Korea, my optimism is rising about 5% each day.
I’ve had a great week. I taught my students the word for butt chin and I ate a pizza with avocado on it. It feels like I could stay in Korealand forever.
My life is starting to come together like paper mache. I’m putting in the work to make myself happy. It’s a lot of work. I’m perfecting my routine consisting of writing, studying, and learning jiujitsu. The class is completely in Korean and my body is covered in bruises. I love it.
It’s not being sober that feels good, it’s overcoming something every day. It’s the delayed gratification of changing my habits and rewiring my brain. This is the euphoric stage of sobriety. Everything is lofty and I’m floating through my sober life on a pink cloud. I am holding onto it with my newfound jiujitsu grip before it melts away like cotton candy.
I’m on guard for a hiccup. Last night I had a dream that I broke my sobriety. Exercise and staying busy distracts my urge to drink but doesn’t take it away. There is still a shark in the water.
There is this saying, “Reject your sense of injury and the injury itself disappears.” But resistance offers nothing except tension and misery. To me, alcoholism is an impulse. This impulse is a huge part of my identity — it’s not just an impulse to drink. It’s that unfiltered thing I say on stage doing stand-up comedy. Or booking that plane ticket to Okinawa (Japan, I am coming back for you!! xoxo). The yin and yang of spontaneity is regret and reward.
If you see a shark while scuba diving, you’re supposed to back up against a reef to reduce angles of attack. Always keep your eye on the shark and remain calm. It’s scary and seems like a threatening situation, but the shark isn’t an aggressor. It’s just a shark doing its job in its ecosystem. The diver should respect the shark by giving it space. In the same way, I am trying to respect my addiction. Coming from a place of observation instead of trying to harpoon it in the face.
Maybe this is just a hippy-dippy metaphor. I could be happy because of the rotation of men pinning me down almost every day. But if didn’t stop drinking, nothing would have changed. I wouldn’t be pushing myself to refine my sense of character. I’m feeling more confident in myself and in my decision to be sober, but I’m keeping an eye on my shark.