Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Wide Awake

Time to talk about life.

Some of you may have noticed that my obsession with Trek and other bits of fandom has calmed down significantly in the past couple of months. I've been taking some time to focus on things that I've neglected due to my obsessions, namely my social life and my growth as a human being.

Moderation and I have never been friends when it comes to addictions and obsessions. Never worked with alcohol, cigarettes, drugs, or junk food. For most things, it's all or nothing for this guy.

But some things I will have to learn to moderate, lest I become a one-dimensional or incomplete version of my true self. I don't want to live in a fanboy fantasy, nor do I want to live a life void of those silly things I love (and have made a career out of). I have to get back in touch with the more well-rounded Donny I once was. Separating myself from the obsessions for a bit and focusing on me and those dear people close to me is necessary to achieve a balance.

Life is all about growth, and stagnation equals death. Self-reflection, in the wake of a trying time, has allowed me to feel some feels, good and bad, that I didn't allow myself access to for a while.

I
Am
Now
Wide
The
Fuck
Awake

Sunday, September 25, 2016

A Pitch-Black, Lonely Place

In an attempt to help break the stigma of anti-depression medication, a stigma which I myself battle with in my own brain despite how much said medication has helped me manage my depression and anxiety to a degree that has propelled me to new avenues in life, and helped me focus and achieve my goals, I am publicly declaring that yes, I need that medication to survive and to live a normal life. My attempt to come off the medication 3-4 times now has always ended the same way: a cruel reminder of a chemical imbalance that leads me to a pitch-black, lonely place. But thanks to medical science, I have an avenue, in the form of a very affordable pill, to help me function.

I am not ashamed. I am not weak. I am a recovering alcoholic and addict with a history of depression and anxiety. I have a chemical imbalance that I need medication for, and despite what others (and sometimes myself) might think, this does not cheapen or belittle the accomplishments I've made since being on medication. Through science, I am able to live and breathe and move forward. And there's not a damn thing wrong with that.

May this post serve as a reminder for myself that just because I'm feeling good, doesn't mean that shitty chemical imbalance won't exist anymore if I try to come off my meds. Let's not try this again, Donny. Stay the course. If it works, don't fuck with it.

And to those that have never battled with depression, panic, anxiety, addiction, etc, please understand that mental illness is a disease that must be treated like any other disease, whether through medication, compassion, or other means. No one chooses this. It happens, it affects real people, and I, for one, will never be silent about how real it is.

Friday, February 13, 2015

31

Well, I turned thirty-one years old today.

As a person that doesn't really care that much about New Years, I feel my birthday is a better day to reflect upon the events of the last year.  And what a good year it was.

I can safely say that this was the year I truly settled in to my sobriety.  I was no longer figuring out how to think and do things without alcohol, and I simply existed as who I am.  Not to say that there weren't any mistakes made or lessons learned along the way, but I just became completely comfortable with who I am this year.   

And maybe that has something to do with entering my thirties, which I've told people all year, feels like the decade where you truly are an adult.  It's all relative of course, and also has to do with so many other things (namely, getting my shit together).  But I've stopped caring so much about what others think about my little quirks, and embraced them and made them into something that people proudly recognize.

For instance, I was always embarrassed as a child about my love of Star Trek, because I was teased relentlessly.  Yeah, I was that nerdy kid in school, much like I'm that nerdy adult now.  But for YEARS I tried to hide it from everyone, my obsessions with bits of nerd culture.  And it wasn't until I made the decision to travel to Las Vegas this year to attend the Official Star Trek Convention (a journey to Mecca for a Trek fan) that I "came out" as a fan to EVERYONE.  This wasn't a little, "Oh, Donny likes Star Trek" anymore. This was, "Oh, Donny LOVES Star Trek.  A lot.  Like, it's a major part of his life" kinda deal.

And, much to my disbelief, instead of being teased, it became a side of me that is celebrated warmly by Trek fans and non-fans alike.  I'm that guy.  I'm the sober Star Trek guy that manages a bar as a job, builds video game environments in his free time, and succeeds in being occasionally humorous only by being really bad at being humorous.  And owning those parts of my personality instead of hiding behind behind it all with alcohol has made me a much happier person.

But when I look at what I've moved on from is where I truly get a picture of how far I grown. Two and a half years ago, I was a severely unhealthy, depressed and self-destructive mess.  I still have to remind people that there is simply no chance I'll ever drink again, and it's such an easy thing for me to say and commit to because the rewards of moving on from that period of my life are fucking immense.  It would be suicide to return to what was the root of many of my problems, and would be a denial and betrayal of all that is now good in my life:

The friendships that have grown and the bonds that have formed now that I'm not stuck in my narcissistic ego-cycle that was fueled by drunkenness.

The peace of mind that I have knowing that I am in sole control of my actions and words, and knowing when I wake up in the morning that I can remember absolutely everything I said and did the night before, and knowing that those things were genuine.

The mental energy I now have to expend on thinking critically about my problems and situations and coming up with solutions to said problems.

And acting on these situations with a firm confidence that my judgement is sound and unclouded.

The physical energy I now have to go out and exercise instead of laying in bed recovering from the previous night's mishaps.

And waking up, being able to breathe, my lungs and heart not hindered by clouds of cigarette smoke or freakishly haunting anxieties pounding down upon my chest. 

And the financial stability I have achieved and maintained.  And the piece-of-shit car I finally got rid of, without looking back, and the new car I have settled into and fell in love with.

And the realization that this is a not a life to throw away, but one to be in love with and cherish every moment and take the chances, no matter how scary they may be, because this is the one and only life you get, and it's up to you to make the best of it.

Why the fuck would I ever go back?

It was a damn good year.  And this new one is starting off great, thanks to a great new friend that has entered my life, like a god-damned comet out of the sky.  Bold, bright, exhilarating, and beautiful.

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Futility

I was a breaker of my own rules
I found this list while cleaning out my night-stand drawers a couple months ago.  I scribbled this down in early 2012, when I was desperately trying to limit and control my drinking.  I was tired of my drinking affecting my life in such a drastic way, so I felt it was time to make a list of rules that I would have to follow.  I taped it to the wall beside my bed, so that I would read it before I started every day.

1. No drinking before work

As someone that works every night, at a bar, I have quite a bit of free time every day before I clock in.  During my downward spiral of alcoholism, anxiety, and depression, it became customary to calm my nerves by having a drink (or seven) before work.  The only thing that would calm my early-morning jitters was alcohol or a pill, and alcohol was cheaper.  This usually meant that I would start drinking early in my day, and would also cause me to crave drinks throughout my day from then on out.

Not doing this would've saved me a lot of trouble.  But as my daily withdrawals grew, it became increasingly difficult to obey this rule.

2. No buying alcohol to keep at the house

I knew I was developing a problem when I started to pick up bottles of Jameson at the liquor store on my day off.  I'd then go home and start taking swigs from the bottle and spend my entire day off doing nothing but soaking my organs in alcohol.  This would usually cause me to want to go out and be around people.  So, by the time I got to the bar, I was already drunk from the six or so drinks I'd had at the house.

But keeping a bottle at my house also meant staying drunk throughout my day.  I'd take a swig before leaving the house before any activity, and upon returning home.  This increased intake fueled the fire and made my withdrawals much more severe upon waking up in the morning, or when facing extended periods of time when I couldn't drink.

3. No shots except at The Grocery after-hours

This one is stupid.  I was attempting to tell myself that the only time it was okay to take shots was when I had closed up shop for the day at The Grocery (the name of the bar I manage).  But one shot would always lead to a few more.  And then I'd go to a bar, and order more shots.  Blackout would soon follow.

A friend once told me that my problem was that I took shots.  He said that my problem would go away if I'd stop ordering shots and just do what rule number 4 says.  But my problem was greater than just taking shots.

4. Sip your drinks when out

In an attempt to move away from constantly taking shots, I started messing around with 2-part liquor drinks, like rum and coke or gin and tonic.  But I would fly through them so quickly.  I'd knock one back on a 5 minute average.  I had a craving I couldn't satisfy.  I just wanted more and more and more.

So I made a rule to just sip drinks, instead of guzzling them down like an alcoholic (which, I very much was).  I started ordering less-tasty beverages like scotch and rocks, but my palette would quickly adapt and I'd start guzzling those down too.  Plus, once I had one cocktail, I couldn't help but through in a few shots too.

5. No shots while at The Grocery off the clock

When I'd go up to The Grocery on my off days, it usually ended in disaster or embarrassment.  I'd have nothing but time to kill and an appetite for liquor to feed.  I'd also usually be well on my way by the time I got there. 

But truthfully, I really just wanted to hang out and be social.  My non-stop drinking habits prevented this from happening.  Ideally, I'd simply sit at the bar, order a beer, and socialize with friends without any worries.  But what would really happen is that I would order a beer, take a sip, and then get that hunger and order a shot.  I'd suck down two or three cigarettes and order another beer and another shot.  I'd talk and talk and talk, my speech becoming more and more slurred, and soon enough I'd be ten drinks deep having only spent an hour at the bar. 

My time sitting at a bar-stool, which I wanted to purely be social, overwhelmingly became exclusively an exercise to feed my hunger for alcohol.  Blackout.  Embarrassment.  Bam.  Wake up and another day has passed and you have no idea what you did or what you said the previous day.

6. Drink less liquor, more beer

This one was another futile attempt at getting off liquor.  Beer was "safe" to me because I couldn't drink it that fast.  I didn't really like the taste all that much.  But, as stated before, once I had a sip of beer, my body ached for a shot of liquor.  I would become obsessed.  I'd feel deprived.  The beer wasn't enough.  I needed moreI'd get frustrated to the point where I'd rationalize taking a shot instead (or in addition to) the beer.

Plus, I soon found a variety of beers in which I enjoyed and therefore could guzzle pretty quickly.  See what I mean?  Futility.

7. Keep yourself in check, fucker.  Your problem won't get better if you keep doing the same thing over and over.

I, like many alcoholics, was convinced that I could solve my problem without quitting drinking completely.  More than that, I wanted to solve my problem without quitting.  I didn't want to give up alcohol.  I was scared shitless to do so!

Every morning I would wake up and see this list, realizing I'd broken any combination of rules the previous night.  It didn't matter how many times I'd read the list, or recited it in my head before ordering a drink.  I was doomed to fail because I did not accept that I was an alcoholic, and that abstinence was the only solution.

The number one question I get asked is if it's hard for me to stay sober.  My answer is always the same:  No.  But I've never faced a challenge quite as difficult and horrifyingly futile as trying to limit and control my drinkingIt was the decision to stop, and dedicate myself to that decision for the rest of my life, that made staying sober "easy" in comparison.

I'm just one of those people that can't have just one.

 

Monday, March 3, 2014

11 Years A Slave: My Battle With Nicotine

So far in this blog, I have mainly touched on topics directly related to my sobriety from alcohol.

But there is another chemical with which, like many other people, I have battled with: nicotine.

Here is my story of being a slave to nicotine for 11 years.
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Ask any child and they will tell you that smoking makes no sense.  I remember secretly plotting with my sister and brother to steal my aunt's cigarettes when she wasn't looking so we could throw them in the trash.  We didn't understand that she could and would just buy another pack (if she didn't have another few packs waiting for her in the freezer), and as a matter of fact, we didn't care.  We just didn't want our beloved aunt to die.  I'm sure that everyone that has grown up in the last 50 years, smoker or ex-smoker or never-smoker, has childhood memories such as these if they loved someone that smoked cigarettes.

One could then ask why so many of these people, who had such an early conviction against cigarette smoking, eventually take the plunge themselves and spend a literal monetary fortune to enable themselves to inhale a chemical that positively has no benefit on the human mind or body whatsoever.  As a matter of fact, this chemical does nothing but steadily drain a person's money, energy, and health to the point of exhaustion and death.  Why would anyone do such a thing?

The answer is simple, and shouldn't be debated beyond this simple fact: nicotine is one of the most addictive substances known to man.  Smoking isn't a "bad habit", as so many people excuse it.  As Allen Carr put it in his book The Easy Way To Stop Smoking, (and I'm paraphrasing here) "I love lobster.  But you don't see me making a habit of spending a fortune on lobster, filling my pockets with lobster, and making sure I have a lobster hanging at my lips at every waking moment through my day." Nicotine usage is not a habit, it is a powerful drug addiction and nothing less.

I started smoking cigarettes when I was just a month shy of turning 18.  Why?  Because of a girl.  I started smoking because I wanted to look "cool" to a girl.  That's right.  I have no shame in admitting it. 

We were at a high-school party and I was recently single and had developed a crush on this girl.  A few of us were drinking in her SUV parked outside of some guy's house.  She lit up a cigarette, looked at me and joked, "Come on, Donny.  Everyone's doing it."  I knew she meant it playfully, but I didn't want her to look at me as uncool or square, or even just a tad bit different than her.  So it was then that I took my first puff, starting a journey that caused me to effectively waste approximately $23,660 over the course of 11 years, all to impress a girl in my senior year of high school that I had a fleeting crush on.  Hell, I don't even know what happened to that girl or where she is today, but I know that her and I never got together and that particular crush faded a couple weeks later in lieu of a crush with another girl.  The ends do not justify the means.

It started with just a pack every week or so.  I didn't even know how to inhale properly.  "Donny's wasting those cigarettes over there," my friend Stephen laughed to all my other smoking friends. "He's blowing the smoke out before he inhales!"  Dammit, I didn't want to look like an amatuer!  With the advice of my friends, I learned how to inhale properly.  The first time I did so I was driving home late one school night.  The rush to my head made me so dizzy and sick that I stopped my car in the middle of the empty street because I thought I was about to vomit.

But I didn't.  And kept smoking.

There were early moments where I truly believed that I could stop at any time.  I specifically remember telling myself, one night while secretly smoking on my mom's back porch, that I wasn't addicted.  I was just doing this for a while to fit in and I would eventually easily quit.  Right?  Actually, I was right.  I did eventually quit, and I found it surprisingly easy. But it took a lot longer to get there than I originally planned.

I turned 18 and over the next few months, my last semester in high-school, I became comfortable as a smoker.  It went well with the punk rock look I started sporting that year.  It gave me something to look forward to on my break at work.  It made me feel and look like an adult (at least in my mind), and was a step towards breaking the image I had developed in early high school that I was a goody-two-shoes.  I was tired of being called a square and a nerd, and I desperately wanted to fit in with the cool kids.  Cigarettes were a step in that direction, and my increased alcohol consumption would soon follow.

(It's interesting now, seeing that both my addiction to nicotine and my dependence on alcohol developed from an attempt to fit in at school and rebel from the nerdy image I had developed.  I suspect that it is around this same age and for this same reason why many start smoking and drinking as well)

The next few years were textbook: I went through the painful experiences of parents and loved ones discovering that I was a smoker. Eventually I was up to near a pack a day.  It quickly started affecting my health, as I remember having severe sore throats all the time, and I would smoke despite of them.  I wasn't making much money after high school but that didn't stop me from buying cigarettes.  I struggled paying all my bills on time and never had more than just a few hundred dollars in the bank at any given time.  I specifically remember checking my bank account one day and seeing that it contained a mere six dollars, and I used four of those dollars to buy another pack to tide me over until pay day.  Cigarettes had sneakingly become a seemingly unavoidable and necessary part of life.  The addiction had taken hold and interwoven itself into my twenties.

From the age of 25 to 29 and the onset of my alcoholism, smoking went from a common addiction to something that was down-right disgusting and horrible.  I started smoking inside my house and kept ash trays in every room.  I would wake up and smoke 3 cigarettes before even getting out of bed.  I would smoke at least 1 cigarette for each stop I would make in my car throughout my day.  There were ashes and cigarette butts everywhere.  In addition to my own wretched ash trays of a house and car, I also worked at a bar which allowed smoking, so there was very little through my days that stopped me from smoking a cigarette.  As a hardcore fan of video games, I had even perfected a method of smoking a cigarette and playing a game at the same time. 

This is an actual photo of the ash tray beside my bed in March of 2012.  Disgusting.


I was never ahead financially.  At the end of my career as a smoker, I was spending twelve dollars a day on the 40 cigarettes I would smoke each 24 hour period.  That's $364 a month.  A MONTH!!  Just a little less than a full week's pay-check.  I had to check my bank account on a daily basis to make sure I had enough left to pay my bills.  At one point, I had to ask help with my rent from my mother in order to stay afloat.  It never occurred to me to stop smoking. I was hooked for life.

Not only was I hooked for life, but I was a proud smoker.  I loved it.  I was obsessed with the image of a cigarette hanging from my lips.  I thought it lent to the devil-may-care rock-and-roll attitude that I wanted to convey and that it also lent a certain rhythm to my conversations that was unmistakably cool.  And with a phlegmy cough added at certain points, I was definitely proud to look so...um..."Keith Richards Unhealthy".

In the 11 years that I was a smoker, I only tried to quit twice.  Once was in college and once was when I started having panic attacks as a result of my alcoholism.  Both times I miserably failed and gave in at the 23 hour mark.  I was terrified of quitting.  Everything I had ever heard about quitting had always told me that it was one of the hardest things human beings ever had to go through.  The thought of facing such an excruciating test of my patience and my ability to control myself gave me anxiety instantly. 

After I quit drinking, my cigarette intake definitely increased, as it often does with recovering alcoholics.  Slowly I started to realize that, while I had quit drinking and was freeing myself of one addiction, I was still a miserable slave to another.  As my judgement became unclouded in those early months of sobriety, smoking was starting to make less and less sense.  The liberating feeling of quitting drinking was great, but how worthy was it if I was still gonna eventually die an early death one day at the hand of nicotine?

But it was so hard to quit!  Or was it?

My friend Alvin gave me a box of books one day about two years ago.  I was instructed to let my coworkers go through the box and take home any books they wanted.  For months, this box sat in the back room of my workplace, still half-full with books.  One day while taking out the trash, I considered just tossing the box of books into the dumpster.  But I just couldn't throw away perfectly good literature, so I took the box home and set it inside by my front door.  For another month, this box stayed in the exact same place.  Eventually I decided to move this box from the spot by my front door to my storage closet in the back of the house.  But before I did, I perused the books inside one last time.  One title caught my eye: "The Easy Way To Stop Smoking".  I took it out of the box and set it on my coffee table, where it stayed for another few months.

About 8 months into my sobriety, I became sick with a sore throat again.  Cigarettes were tasting increasingly more disgusting.  I wasn't even finishing half of one before extinguishing it, yet I marched on.  I did, however, begin to consider quitting, despite the anxieties surrounding the thought.  I could quit, but I would need help.  I had heard mixed reviews of the drug Chantix, but knew a few people that had used it and quit successfully.  So I called my doctor and made an appointment in a few days to discuss taking the drug.  I would have to spend money I didn't really have to gain access to this drug, but it would eventually save me money in the long run.  I was ready.

But I felt like there may have been a simpler way out.  I remembered that book on my coffee table.  That night, I picked up the plain blue copy of Allen Carr's The Easy Way To Stop Smoking and read while laying in bed.  The cool thing about the book is that it encourages you to smoke while reading it instead of making you feel guilty for doing so.  I read and puffed away.

The book's primary focus is breaking down the brain-washing that we, as members of modern society, have undergone when it concerns a) the reasons why we smoke, and b) the assumption that it is so hard to quit.  Mr. Carr makes the point that there is absolutely no benefit from smoking and that it is, in fact, not hard to quit at all but that it is easy.  It was the first time that I had ever heard anyone on this planet say that quitting smoking was easy, and this man was a hundred-a-day smoker before quitting. I was skeptical, but I read on.

I also soon realized similarities in the attitudes that Mr. Carr had about quitting smoking and the attitudes that I had developed about quitting drinking.   They were all centered around not letting yourself feel deprived.  Familiar with this idea and method, I began to actually, for once, believe that I could stop smoking.

I was intrigued by what this man had to say about smoking.  Why do people smoke?  Because of stress?  Boredom?  To feel satisfied after a meal?  To look cool?  Because we're gonna die anyway?  He shot each of these beliefs down with each chapter of the book.  I read half the book before bed, and finished it when I woke in the morning.  It took me about 5 hours. After I finished, I went out on my porch and smoked two cigarettes back to back.  I inhaled deeply, and with each puff I thought about how ridiculous of an act smoking is.

I was gaining nothing from it.  I was losing money daily.  I was losing health by the minute.  I foresaw a future of dying of lung cancer in a hospital bed, surrounded by tearful loved ones.  It wasn't making me look cool; it was making me look sad and pitiful.  There were no females that were impressed by my ability to inhale cancerous vapors.  I was stinky, yellow-toothed, and oozing phlegm.  There were yellow stains on the sides of my forefinger and middle finger where the tar had seeped out of countless cigarette filters onto my skin over the years.  I couldn't breathe efficiently and there was an ever-present hacking cough throughout my day.  I was a slave to nicotine, and I no longer wanted to be a slave to such a destructive master.

Mr. Carr was also a firm advocate against replacement therapy.  With nicotine gum a relic of the late 1990s, but modern electronic cigarettes on the rise, I had decided that I would not go that route.  The key is to kill the addiction as quickly as possible.  By feeding it more would only prolong nictoine's exit from my system, thus needlessly prolonging my addiction and withdrawal symptoms.  I wouldn't chew gum or shove food down my throat to fill the void, nor would I make changes to my other daily habits in order to quit.  I would be hardcore and quickly learn to live without that cigarette hanging from my lips.  I would quit cold turkey, and never consider picking up another cigarette for the rest of my life. 

I finished that last cigarette and went inside.  I gathered up all my lighters and ash trays and threw them in the trash.  I cleaned the ashes from my coffee table and night-stand.  Yet I cluched the half-a-pack of cigarettes I had remaining.  I looked at it and considered keeping it in case I broke down in the next few hours and decided that I would quit tomorrow.  Or the next day.  Or the one after that.

Fuck it.  I took out the remaining cigarettes and tore them in half, tossing their meaningless remains into the trash.  I was done.  I called my doctor the next day and cancelled my appointment to discuss taking Chantix.  I could do this without pharmaceutical help.

And yes, it was much easier than I ever imagined it to be.  And today, 11 months and 4 days later, I have resisted smoking 13,660 cigarettes.  I feel better.  I smell better.  I look better.  Coughing is something foreign to me now.  I have more money in the bank than I ever have had in my life.  I go to bed and wake up feeling rested.  I don't have this chemical addiction nagging at me through every moment of my day, begging to be fulfilled by another puff of nicotine.  I experience moments with loved ones more fully, as they aren't punctuated by a constant need to take a break to go feed an addiction.  But most of all, I have a very different future than I most certainly would've had if I had never decided to quit.  And I predict this future to be much more fulfilling.
-------------------------------------------------------

If you or someone you know is trying to quit smoking, I highly recommend Allen Carr's book The Easy Way To Stop Smoking.  You can find it at most book stores or download it to your tablet or smart phone.   It is endorsed by many celebrities, including Ellen DeGeneres, Ashton Kutcher, and Anthony Hopkins.  It has not only worked for me, but also for my twin-sister.  A few of my friends read it and quit for a while, but failed because they did not continue to follow it's simple directions:  Decide to quit smoking, rejoice in that decision, and never smoke again.  It's as easy as that, I promise.  The only thing holding you back is your belief that it is terribly hard to quit.

Click here to find "The Easy Way To Stop Smoking" on Amazon!










Friday, February 14, 2014

30

"Be content with what you have; Rejoice in the way things are. When you realize there is nothing lacking, the whole world belongs to you." -Lao Tzu

This pretty much sums up how I felt on my birthday. I thought it would be a little depressing, but it was the opposite. Today I took a look at my life and realized how happy I am with all that I have.  I am content. I have a great job,  great family and friends, and am winning a battle with two addictions.  I am what I wanted to be when I grew up: happy. 


Thanks for all the birthday wishes. 

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

For Those About To Drink, I Salute You

 [EDIT] I do want to add that I don't want the title of this blog to be misleading.  It was simply a play on the AC/DC album title "For Those About To Rock, We Salute You".  While I do think it is healthy for someone in recovery to not harbor feelings of jealousy or resentment towards those that drink, I DO NOT encourage anyone with a problem to drink. And if you think you may have a problem, please get help or seek the advice of someone that's been there.  It could save your life.

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In the halls of Alcoholics Anonymous, you often hear recovering alcoholics say, "Hell, if I could still drink I'd be right there with em!" And of course, this is true.  Most recovering alcoholics LOVE to drink and if they had never decided to turn away from a life of consuming a liquid they had a very unhealthy reaction to, they would probably still drink you under the table.

And yes, for me personally, if I could drink without having that weird reaction of passing out in a public place with my pants down, I probably still would.  But it is key that I never feel any bit of jealousy towards those that can drink like normal people.  This is one of the most important steps of maintaining sobriety.  If you let jealousy fill your thoughts, you won't recover.  And if you are one of those that think you are recovering but still harbor jealous feelings, you're kidding yourself. You'll spend your remaining days in agony until you break down and have another drink,  because you are letting yourself feel that you are being deprived while everyone else is indulging.  Those thoughts will nag at you day in and day out, from the time you get up in the morning until you manage to fall asleep at night.  You have to understand that YOU have a problem, and THEY do not, and there isn't anything you can do to change this fact.  Nothing.  So it's futile to to harbor negative feelings of jealousy because of an irreversible condition you've developed.  Acceptance, or death.

We can't move forward until we begin accept the nature of our problem.  This is universally true of any personal problem.  And until you accept every inconvenient truth about your addiction, you won't even begin to truly recover.  Before I decided to get sober, this was my main problem when attempting to "fix" my alcoholism.  I knew that I had a big problem on my hands, but for so long I spent an ungodly amount of energy on finding a solution that would allow me to keep drinking like everyone else.  I just knew that if I drank less or switched drinks or whatever, I could make it work and continue to drink with everyone.  What I didn't understand, and failed to accept, is that my addiction was much stronger than me as long as I allowed myself to feed it.  I didn't realize that the solution was to starve it to death, not to try and beat it into submission.

When I finally did make the decision to never drink again, I wasn't sure that I could do it while working at a bar.  I thought I'd get those jealous feelings and want to be part of the fun crowd that I was helping make possible.  With everyone toasting and cheering all around me, nagging at every fiber of my being, I'd certainly want to raise a glass and toast as well.  Luckily, I was smarter from the get-go, and never allowed myself to feel jealousy when those moments arose.  I accepted that I have a problem and was better off at not indulging with the rest of them.

Early in my sobriety, one of my good friends and former co-workers told me that she lived next door to an older alcoholic woman that had once been a self-proclaimed "Mrs. A.A." She spent so much time in the halls of Alcoholics Anonymous that she even met her husband at an A.A. meeting.  But my friend told me that this lady constantly fell off the wagon in her older age. Upon learning that my friend was a bartender, the older woman said, "Oh, I see.  You're one of those people who can drink normally."  This statement reeked of jealousy.  I bet a million bucks that this lady, despite all her efforts in following a 12 step program, submerging herself in the fellowship of recovering alcoholics, and marrying a partner who shared a similar affliction, had failed simply because she had harbored resentment and jealousy towards those that can drink like normal people.

You can't be jealous.  Don't let yourself be.  Jealousy makes you feel like you're being deprived of something, and that feeling of deprivation is a nagging, nagging thing.  It will eat away at you until you finally give in and throw all your progress out the window.  Cut these feelings off at the source before they being to fester.  Think of all that you have to gain from your sobriety, and rejoice in the fact that you're taking back control of your life. 

[I must take this moment to point out that this "anti-letting-yourself-feel-deprived" mindset is the cornerstone of my method of quitting smoking as well]

If you've quit drinking, be proud of that fact.  And be equally proud and happy for those that still drink.  That doesn't mean that some of those people may not have problems of their own, it just means you're not letting yourself be jealous of someone that drinks.  I sure don't miss the hang-overs, poor judgment, next-day anxieties, etc, etc.  I'm not sitting in a bar full of loud and cheerful people secretly wishing I could drink with them.  I'd drink with them if I could, but I can't.  And that's that.  I'm not gonna let my personal problem bring anyone down.  They are all having a good time, and good for them!  So, I say, for those about to drink, I salute you.  And in fact, next time you all do a "Cheers!", pour me a shot of water or Coke or something.  Just because I don't drink, doesn't mean I can't celebrate and acknowledge the good times with you.