Thought of the Day: From Hyde to Jekyll

Certain sensual  triggers can take you back. For me, there’s smells that bring me back to the bar. They aren’t pleasant, nevertheless they were scents that I’d smell while drunk.

If you’ve logged hundreds of hours in bars like I have, you know what those scents are.

I’ve been away from the scene long enough, yet recently I caught a whiff that stench. Normally, this would prompt me to long for a cold beer, jello shots, or some strange mixture on the happy hour menu.

Not this time.

When I thought back on the actions of bar-hopping Wes, I hated that guy. I took my last drink a month and a half ago, yet it feels like it’s been an era. I don’t recognize that man. It feels as though those memories aren’t even a part of me, like they’re some alien implant. But they are me.

The common (and idiotic) saying is “a drunk man’s words are a sober man’s thoughts.” And it’s not true. I say shit when I’m sober that I don’t mean. BUT, those drunken words do emanate from somewhere.

Since I’ve been sober, I keep hearing this saying: “I have to remember where I came from, so that I know where I’m going.” Or something like that. And when I hear those words, they never quite sit right with me.

I get it. But I don’t want to remember “who I was”. Do I need to? I don’t even recognize who that person was!

When I was in rehab, I was placed on a medication. No shock there. But I began experiencing what I thought were side effects. I was feeling exceptionally joyous in the afternoons. Thinking that it was something that needed to be reported to the psychologist, she simply said “perhaps that’s just you being you and you haven’t felt that way in a long time.”

Weird, I know.

But could it be true? That it’s been so long since I’ve felt happy that I thought it was strange when I started feeling HAPPY? Where has that Wes been for so long? Well, obviously drinking, but….I completely forgot what it was like to be me.

That side of me has been buried for eight years. For eight long years, I was buried in self-pity, paranoia, and general discontent…brought about largely due to alcoholism.

(Mind you, I was drinking before then. But it was 2009 where I’d say it exploded into full-blown alcoholism)

Now that I’m on the path to where I’m somewhat regaining this “pre-alcoholic” Wes, I’m coming to hate “alcoholic Wes”. That guy was an obnoxious asshole while drunk, and just plain an asshole while sober, while on the inside he was fretting over problems that he made in his head. I hate that guy.

I hate his ideas.

I hate his cynicism.

I hate his humor.

I hate his drunken hobbies.

Yet I am him.

The Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde analogy gets thrown around a lot with alcoholics and addicts. It certainly feels apt in my case. Yet even during my sober hours, I was still that dickhead drunk. For me, Mr. Hyde overpowered Dr. Jekyll and stayed that way for years.

Only now the genuine self, I believe, is emerging. And it’s difficult to recognize him. I’m slowly growing to the point that I don’t hate everyone I meet. I’m far more present in the now, I feel, than I’ve ever been. I don’t feel that piece of shit that I was for so long.

And it’s strangely alarming to think that that was who I was. Perhaps he’s still lurking somewhere in the dark corners of my mind, waiting for his chance to rise once again. I know I haven’t fully overcome that. And maybe that’s why it’s important to remember who I was.

That bastard’s waiting. Waiting for a slip up. I can’t forget for one second that he’s there.

But in the meantime, this so-called “real me” is prevailing. Joyous occasions aren’t some abnormal experience, that’s who I’ve been the whole time.


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