Sam Grittner

Why Should I Get Sober When America Is Driving Me to Drink?

The sight of my country tearing itself apart is hard to watch. Especially sober. But, while it’d be easy to self-medicate to numb the reality, Trump’s not going to get me.

 

I’ve been getting asked this question a lot lately and it’s a good one (not as good as, “Sam, how do you possibly get more handsome every day? Is God photoshopping you?” or “May I give you a million dollars, you sexy, man-child?” but it’ll do).

It definitely feels like each day is somehow worse than the last, like we’re trapped in a demon-infested upside-down version of Groundhog Day, where rich and evil people are actively conspiring against those with less without even trying to hide it anymore, and the world’s stupidest man/oldest baby/1st Place Winner for Worms That Are Eating The Worms That Are Eating What’s Left Of His Cashew-Sized Brain is in possession of our nuclear codes and uses Twitter as his own personal Burn Book. Former heroes are being called out for being heinous monsters (rightfully so, of course). We have no idea if or when the McRib is coming back. Last Man on Earth got canceled but Big Bang Theory will outlive anyone who reads this … and so on and so on.

Life is extremely hard right now, no question about that (and this is coming from a straight, white man who knows he actively benefits from a rigged system). I get it, I really do, but you’re asking: When is the right time to get sober?

Well, if you are sick and tired and stuck in the closed loop/devil’s donut of drinking and drugging in which you use and then instantly regret your actions which makes you use more so you can numb out the pain and sadness which makes you consume more and makes you spend money you don’t have to begin with which makes you use more to stop feeling the feelings you were trying to stop feeling … you see where I’m going with this. It’s a clusterfuck echoing nightmare and it’s built that way on purpose. Addiction doesn’t want you to stop. Ever. It mimics the voice inside your head to tell you anything it has to in order for you to fulfill its wishes, not yours. It’s like a demonic Oprah, with fresh excuses and resentments hiding under your seat, replenished every time you grab one.

 

If I was high or drunk right now, I wouldn’t be writing this, I would be feeling sorry for myself and fixated on when I was going to cop next. Change is possible. And necessary.

 

So, if you can’t stop and your habits and consumption are making your life worse, the best time to quit is today. It will always be today. Because if it’s tomorrow, it will always be tomorrow. There is always going to be a reason to put it off which is exactly why you should stop putting it off. I don’t know if I’m making this overly simplistic or too complicated. I do know I used to take any pill that was given to me and, on at least two occasions, accidentally on purpose ingested heart medicine for dogs. Yes, I did get a mild buzz in my pinky toes.

There are a million reasons why you can’t get sober: What do you do for fun? How can you go out and celebrate on a Friday night, crash a teenager’s quinceañera, attend an office white elephant exchange, or enjoy literally any activity if you can’t have a drink or a puff or a sniff or a pill(s)? How are you supposed to cope when you lose a job, an apartment, your lucky coin purse, when you botch an experiment and have to find a fresh brain, or because it’s Wednesday or because it’s not Wednesday, if you don’t get fucked up?

Therein lies the rubbity-dub. You will always have an excuse to use. If you are truly an addict, there will always be a reason, no matter how convoluted or illogical – your brain will find a way to make yourself instantly feel better, even though you will be in pain (see: hangovers, empty bank accounts, horrendous voicemails you don’t remember leaving, puking on a mailman, etc., etc.).

So, I guess I have a couple of responses to the question “Why should I get sober when everything is fucked?”

As previously mentioned, it’s always going to be. And even if we had a different President, you would still be using. Trump is evil incarnate, but don’t use him as an excuse not to get better. Fuck that noise.

 

America is facing some truths it has ignored for hundreds of years …. I have to have hope. I would rather be cautiously optimistic and wrong than blame everyone else for all my woes and drink and use to numb out reality.

 

If the world is ending, I’d rather be alive and alert for it. Maybe I’ll have time to find shelter and end up living underground and have to help repopulate the Earth or fight radioactive Baby Boomers with a baseball bat covered in spikes or safeguard Mother’s Milk. And if I’m sober, I can help prevent things from getting worse: I can show up at protests, give money that I previously would have snorted in two hours to the ACLU or Planned Parenthood. I sure as shit will be up and wide-eyed come election day.

If I can make it through almost-Civil War, President Big Boy’s wet brain policies, having limited healthcare, and watching billionaire’s minds melt in real-time online instead of going to live on Mars, I can make it through anything. I am a cynical optimist. I think life is really shitty right now (again, I know how privileged I am and try to put myself in other people’s shoes and consider how life is actively oppressing them while I feel sorry for myself for pretty inane reasons) but I truly believe it will get better.

I think America is facing some truths it has ignored for hundreds of years, and now that they’re staring us in the face, a lot of us are coming to terms with our silent complicity and the fact that if we don’t make the people in charge work for us and what we believe to be right, this country will fade away. But I have to have hope. I would rather be cautiously optimistic and wrong than blame everyone else for all my woes and drink and use to numb out reality.

I can’t make you do anything nor do I want to. I just wanted to share how I feel about this particular question. If I was high or drunk right now, I wouldn’t be writing this, I would be feeling sorry for myself and fixated on when I was going to cop next. Change is possible. And necessary. We need as many people wide awake right now, otherwise we could potentially convince ourselves that this is a nightmare instead of being awake enough to start realizing our dreams.

 

Sam Grittner

Sam Grittner is a writer and stand-up comedian currently residing in Brooklyn, New York. He has written for Playboy.com and the International Business Times. His monthly stand-up show, “We’re All Gonna Die Tonight,” is returning in December.

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