Evening Grieving — Or Not
Gately often feels a terrible sense of loss, narcotics-wise, in the A.M., still, even after this long clean. His sponsor over at the White Flag Group says some people never get over the loss of what they’d thought was their one true best friend and lover; they just have to pray daily for acceptance and the brass danglers to move forward through the grief and loss, to wait for time to harden the scab.
I have to say — going into six days out I haven’t felt the kind of sense of loss that I’d feared. Tramadol was almost always a late-afternoon/early-evening drug for me, so whatever grief I feel tends to settle around me near sundown (frequently referred to in IJ as a “sad time”) and but it dissipates pretty quickly, surprisingly.
After several months of taking the drug on a daily basis, the thing that terrified me the most about the idea of quitting was how would I ever make it through the evenings without it? I literally could not conceive of what I would do with myself after sunset, both in terms of what I’d ever done in the past B.D. (before drugs) and how it might be in the future. Just didn’t even want to entertain the idea.
But now, kind of amazingly, the evenings are fine. It’s like they’ve stopped being this very overdetermined time of day which was defined and bound exclusively by my relationship with tramadol, and now they’re just, well, evenings — neither inherently good or bad or frightening or soothing, just another stretch of hours that you can fill however you want. It’s an amazing feeling.
When I quit cold-turkey for a few weeks back in December, one day early in the process I was going absolutely out of my skull with fear and craving and the general sense that nothing would ever be okay in the world again. So what I did was drive over to the mall at like 8 PM on a Thursday night to purchase the newest Metroid game for the Wii, because I knew that I needed something that I could get involved with and use to distract myself, when necessary. And on the way to the mall, and when I was in the mall itself, I was dumbfounded by how many people it seemed were still out and going about their business and doing various things, at like 8-9 PM, on a Thursday night.
Because see for me by then the evenings had become strictly a time for taking drugs. I would get home, and take my normal daily dose between 6:30 and 7 PM, and basically shut the house down and cocoon up in front of the TV or computer and not go anywhere or do anything. In some ways it was almost like an extension of sleep, and I had forgotten — literally forgotten — that this probably wasn’t the case for Other People. But here I was, on a Thursday night, out of my craving mind at the mall and watching all these people doing all these things that had nothing to do with drugs, and it struck me, right there, just how much I’d lost, and gave me the realization that maybe it was time to start pointing my grief and craving in a totally different direction.