I get joy from watching small children have emotional breakdowns in public places. The screaming unfairness, the hot tears, the pure, unadulterated misery: it makes me smile. The best tantrums being the long, drawn-out pain that continues throughout the parents’ entire shopping experience. Like, fifteen minutes. Total and complete indifference is required on the part of the parent for this to work, but’s it’s done at a surprisingly high rate, with stellar results. I trail behind them and soak it all in from a safe distance. That’s were I’m at, lately.

Step Ten: continued to take personal inventory and when we were wrong promptly admitted it.

You don’t exactly need to be Freud to figure out what’s going on: I’m attracted to that which is familiar. The four year-old in the produce aisle who’s almost throwing up because he’s crying so hard? That’s my id. That’s me, without the benefit of years of suppression. Want, want, now, now. Or, don’t want, don’t want, never, never. Or, why me, why me, why not me, why not me?

My alcoholism isn’t picky; it’s the unsettled,  freaking-out drama that it’s after. And it’s in for the long-haul. It doesn’t need me to drink today. It just needs to start stringing its own run of days together; days filled with helplessness, resentment, depression, paranoia and the like. Once my reality no longer resembles true reality, my capacity to do the next right thing evaporates like so much morning fog. I’m no longer operating within society’s norms and boundaries. It’s my world once again, and everyone else is just living in it. And, to make matters worse, they’re all living in it wrong. So, I take my world and go home. I isolate and hate and resent that everyone’s having fun without me.

But when I’m invited to have fun, don’t I usually decline? And if I do accept, don’t I then make the experience miserable from all those involved? I’ll teach them to treat me like a normal personal. Don’t they know that I’m infinitely better and worse than they will ever be?

That’s a whole lot of over-arching craziness that stretches all the way back to my pre-drinking days. Which is good news: this problem existed before my alcoholism.

The bad news? Now that I’m sober, I’ve got no excuse not to work it.

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