Year Zero

By Bane

This is day one of a new life.

I feel good for the first time in a year and a half.

For the past 18 months I have been suffering an incredible amount of pain in my shoulder. It took that long for any physiotherapist to resolve the matter or at least move it in a direction that helps.

For the past six years I have not integrated into a country that I moved to. I have been coasting in my job and just jumping from sinking ship to sinking ship just to remain afloat. I look around now and realize that I find I’ve allowed myself to form a group of friends that don’t share many of my views or interests. I haven’t made much of an effort to make any new friends other than the group I was introduced to after my first few weeks moving here.

All along I have been self-medicating with two addictions that have taken a life of their own. Those addictions have also played into my relationships with women, creating almost an entirely different addiction. They have also made me incredibly isolated, preventing me from doing many things I enjoy or meeting new people.

The shoulder injury might require surgery, but the latest treatment has brought relief that could be temporary or could last. The fact I feel no pain for three days has enabled me to remove the need for any form of self-medication and I am able to focus on looking ahead for the first time in a while. It has also enabled me to take stock of how I got where I am today.

The wake up call took place last week. I was scheduled to get some treatment done on my shoulder the same day as I had planned a Tinder date. My sleep had reached treacherous levels and I was not feeling sharp. Then something happened. I had the shoulder treatment and was told to rest for two days. I thought about the date and realized that this Tinder approach is just more of the same. I’ll meet a girl with the goal to have sex. Accomplish that and move on, all the while my real focus remains on getting real fulfillment from my self-medicating habits.

What if I wait and see how I feel after the treatment? What if I take a time-out? I chose to cancel the date and see what happens. After three days I was finally able to have the best sleep in 18 months. I was able to get things done. I was able to get these things done without the need for my addictions. I was seeing a change. At that moment I realized I can channel my energy towards small improvements – for the first time in a while I had goals. Sure it might start as simple as getting my shoulder and physical health back to where I expect it to be, but that is far different from where I was a few months ago. I had no goals. I had lost hope. I figured this pain would be with me forever and I was just going to have to live with it. Funny that something so small can have such a dramatic impact on your life.

As an aside, I now also have greater appreciation for professional athletes that suffer from debilitating pain years after they retire. I can see why so many fall down a dark path.

So today is the start of a new life. A life where I do what is best for me and ignore all of the pressures in society to do things I “should be doing”. It is a chance to form new friendships that I want, new relationships that benefit both parties and a lifestyle of my choosing.

I can look forward to returning to monitoring my finances, instead of not bothering to make the effort. I will begin to make slow improvement of my physical conditioning back to where I was before the injury. I can join activities that I haven’t been involved with for quite some time. I will play sports again. I can begin to pursue more appropriate relationships with women, as opposed to just sexual conquests.

This will require a deep commitment. I must remember this day. To forget it is to fall back down the rabbit hole into an eternal state of solitary confinement and regressive behavior. Remember this day. The day you began to finally move forward towards struggles and achievement, in place of comfort and repetition, towards a better life.


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