Life Ain’t Fair, But Who Said it Was?

I haven’t had a drink or taken an illicit drug since December 8, 2003. I’m grateful for my sobriety. I don’t remember much during the time just before and just after my sobriety date, but I do remember well the night I attended my first Alcoholics Anonymous meeting. I immediately knew I was in the right place and I cried through the whole thing.

I can’t take my sobriety for granted. After taking my last drink, I couldn’t figure out why my life continued to spiral downward. It didn’t make sense to me. Why was my life getting worse rather than getting better? Eventually it did make sense though, because by being sober I was eventually and finally accurately diagnosed with bipolar disorder. Most of you have heard this all before, but I’m bringing it up because I feel cheated.

Plaza lined with palm trees and restaurants which leads out to the beach. This picture is Hermosa Beach Pier Plaza. It’s where I frequently begin my beach walks, It’s lined with restaurants, bars and some specialty shops and leads right out to the pier and the ocean. Almost all the bars and restaurants have outside seating and that’s where I get pissed off. As I’m walking past I see the tables full of people laughing, joking, sharing stories and all of them have a drink in their hand.

Life Ain’t Fair

So, why can’t I do that anymore? I have bipolar disorder, anxiety issues and to top it off, I have alcoholism? Life ain’t fair! I remember those days, sitting with friends, laughing and drinking it all up. These are the things my brain tells me, but then I stop and think about. If I did all those things, why did I have to go to AA? The simple fact is that I never was one of those people. I tried to be, but I wasn’t. Sure, I’d sit out on patios with friends and down the beers, but it never stopped at that. I would keep going and keep going. The next day my friends would tell me all the crazy exploits that I couldn’t remember, because I almost always blacked out. When I pass by those bars I don’t grieve for my past, I grieve for something I never had. That’s the reality I need to keep in my back pocket at all times. It takes work. As much work as it takes to deal with depression and mania. It’s just another log on the fire.

Count my Blessings and Never forget

I shouldn’t be having a pity party over this. It’s something to celebrate. I do get to go to these restaurants and bars. I do get to laugh and joke with my friends and swap stories, and I don’t need alcohol to do it. I guess the point of all this is to remind myself how good I have it. I’ve learned to laugh, joke, swap stories and have a good time without that “buzz.” That’s something to be grateful for. It’s nice to know I can do those things without having a five-dollar beer in my hand.

I need to do these little reminders for myself to keep myself out of self-pity and remind myself how good life is. Sure, mania sucks. Sure, depression sucks. Sure, anxiety sucks. But, at least I’m dealing with them through sober eyes. Yes, being an alcoholic sucks too, however, being a sober alcoholic is a helluva lot better than being an alcoholic who drinks. That’s something I can never allow myself to forget

19 comments on Life Ain’t Fair, But Who Said it Was?

  1. You’re right, life isn’t unfair – I just told one of my girls that yesterday, as harsh as it may seem. (I forgot why I brought that up, LOL!!!!! I’m losing it, B!) But I love how you appreciate what you have and that you’re a realist.

    My psychiatrist is an addiction specialist of all things. I didn’t search for a pdoc who was an addiction specialist; it was an amazing coincidence that he just happened to be one. He has been a wonderful resource in that respect and many others….

    In the past three years, my mother-in-law and brother-in-law both died of alcoholism before my eyes. What an ugly death. My Dad was an alcoholic, although it didn’t kill him – he died of other causes and used alcohol to self-medicate bipolar. I was on my way to being an alcoholic too until I quit cold-turkey. Thank God I did.

    I keep binging @ night on weird things like organic blue corn tortilla chips and almond butter instead of my former gelato and cookies and cake, but I’d rather binge than drink – still, they both suck, don’t they? I think that once I reach my deadline I’ll keep those nighttime binges to a low (or preferably no) roar; I’m praying my butt off that I’ll cool it!

    Thanks a million for your support on Lose It!I

    1. Yes, I’ve had family and friends die from alcoholism and it is a brutal death. It is common for heavy drinkers or alcoholics to crave a lot of sweets soon after they stop drinking. Its good to read that you changed those cravings to healthier ones.

      The Los It support is mutual. Thank you

  2. Having BP anxiety/depression sucks I’m right there with you.I’ve never been a big drinking realizing it doesn’t take away your problems now I want one to relax but with my BP meds I can’t have any cause I’ll have seizures.Congrats on being sober.

  3. You know, the thing about walking by all those seemingly happy drinking people, is that you’re only seeing from the outside. You probably appeared that way as well.
    I lived with a bipolar alcoholic and for a long time, I never knew about either issue. By the time we became roommates, we’d been friends for years. Her illness took her life eight years ago this last winter. I often think about how she overdosed on self-medication.
    What you’ve done, what you do every day, is hard.

    Alcohol is very effective at reducing my anxiety, especially in social situations. Alcoholism runs rampant in my family. I drink seldom and with caution. I am anxious about it.

    1. Sorry to hear about your friend. I’ve lost friends and family to this horrible disease. Enjoy your drinks, but stay vigilant.

  4. I had my last alcoholic drink six months ago. It was hard to say goodbye to it, but my husband and I both have alcoholics in our family trees. Our daughter is still struggling with bipolar, having used alcohol to self-medicate before her diagnosis of BPI; before we realised what she had. She was downsized to BPII recently, which is a great step forward. Blessings to all of you brave people.

    1. Thank you, Anne. I certainly don’t think everyone should stop drinking, but given your family history’s and your daughters struggles, I think you made the right decision. She’s lucky to have you.

  5. Love the over all optimism in this post, Bradley. I think it is ok to have a pity party now and again especially if you can get into this zone of thinking. It’s awesome that you can socialist and have fun without the need for stimulants. 🙂

    1. Thank you. It is freeing to be able to go out without having to drink. Being a natural introvert, it is a bit scary, but I learned to overcome it. There’s a very good book called “Feel the Fear and Do It Anyway,” that I read long ago and learned a lot from it.

  6. You are one strong and inspirational person. I don’t think many could do what you’ve done, yet you’re able to find a ray of sunshine in all that grief. <3

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