Sisober, Mntase!

It is common for people to put themselves in situations where they aren't breathing. The best thing about the lockdown is that it is forcing the self to confront what is not really working out in your life. In this way, the breathing becomes better, the pressure to be has also decreased.

As an alcohol and cigarette person, the ban on these goods was devastating to me, at first. At some point I even brewed three 20L buckets of varying alcohol mixtures, which plucked me up so bad that I ended up giving away most of it. I had done this to 'cope' during the lockdown but as it turned out, it just made me loathe the smell of alcohol. The cheap Mazotti backdoor cigarettes were also harming my chest, so I decided to pause smoking for a bit.

I enjoy the high fever adrenaline that comes with substances, sex, power or music. But since the advent of this novel virus, I have had to deal with my demons sober. In the past, I had no inclination to confront myself whatsoever. It is not easy. I am suddenly anxious and shy around people. I am edgy and feel irritated when company stays for too long. Why is this the case? It may be because sobriety awakens everything inside, while intoxication suppresses it. I feel naked.

We have mastered the art of suppressing things for some time, as a people, leaning on our addictions. Quarantining on my own has given me a chance to let it all come out. Suddenly my demons have come out to play, with all that my soul is burdened with. I used to believe that being drunk eases you, when in reality it doesn’t. Before the ‘cory’, I used to get drunk every weekend and perhaps on selected weekdays. Although I had not considered myself an alcoholic, in hindsight I realise I probably was.

Alcohol makes you avoid your triggers quite well. Triggers are messages reverted from the past to alarm the present as a way to help fix you. I am constantly triggered, but this time I don’t have a fag to drag on, nor a ngudu of Black Label to calm me down. Triggers are important in showing you which wounds are healed, and which still need a little bit of care.

Addiction stems mostly from attachments. It isn't even about the thing you are addicted to, because that’s just a signifier of what you are trying to cope with. Shit happens to us in this life thing (on a personal, group and global scale), shit that is too painful to deal with or to revisit – and so we press things down so that we can function. We drink so much so that we can cope. We overdose on church activities to distract from the poverty. We sleep around so much to distract from the void we feel inside. I could go on and on but you get it. What I’m trying to say is that your demons are shitty. Ultimately they must be revisited. And it is not always about the new challenges that we avoid facing, but old ones that are still lingering. They become a reminder of screaming lambs that are desperately seeking to be silenced.

Don’t get it twisted though – I am not saying I have quit alcohol due to this lockdown-induced realisation. However, I do not have to be in a constant drunken state to hide my bruises, going forward. We must travel back in time and remove the old plasters, clean the wound, and patch it up again. This lockdown is a forceful teacher who is constantly teaching us not to succumb to our old ways. The excuses we give for not doing what we are supposed to with ourselves have run out now. There is nowhere to hide!

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