It’s been one of those days: Six states in 14 hours. The plan was to do it in nine. Then I took a wrong turn in New Jersey. It was the second anger management test I had in a week. I guess I passed. But for a few hours I seriously considered diving off the wagon head first.
The drive was going well enough. We made it to New Jersey in record time, then hopped on the turnpike. The plan was to take the turnpike to I-95 South into Delaware and points further south. Somewhere we missed the turn. Before we knew it we were almost in Atlantic City, a good two-plus hours off course from where we were supposed to be.
It took us nearly four hours to find our way out of the mess we had gotten ourselves into. A couple of nice people in a CVS helped me plot the course back to Maryland. It worked, but we hit bumper-to-bumper traffic the whole way across. We finally rolled into Lusby, Maryland, some two hours south of Washington DC, around 7 p.m., having left Haverhill at 5 a.m. in an attempt to make good time.
So here I am typing this at 9:24 p.m. I have to leave here at 4 a.m. to get to DC and I should be crashed out. I don’t want to bitch about a long day of travel because I don’t really like it when other people bitch about such things. In that respect, I can be a jerk. But it’s better if I get these thoughts out of my head.
It’s worth noting a few things about today:
–I didn’t go into the full-on road rage as I would have a decade ago. I flipped off no one. I didn’t punch the steering wheel in anger.
–I do admit that I was in a pretty dark mood for the rest of the trip. I scowled. I didn’t say much. I felt angry.
–Most importantly, in the flash of angry emotion, I considered breaking my abstinence and my sobriety. I seriously considered it. I didn’t admit as much, but the thoughts were there. I was simply at the breaking point.
It would have been awful had I carried out the angry instinct, given all the work I’ve put into my 12-Step program. I thank God that I didn’t.
But it’s a scary reminder that I’m never far from a relapse. I have to work my program hard — definitely harder than I have of late. I’ve kept it together, but I’ve been getting sloppy. That can’t possibly be good.
And since I’m on the road all week, the danger level is high for me.
So I was tested big-time today, and I expect to be tested some more as I work two security conferences on a schedule that is more ragged than my normal schedule.
One thing occurred to me as we sat in traffic somewhere on the Atlantic City Expressway: With my Prozac dosage up by 20 milligrams since Aug. 1 in an attempt to head off the depressions I usually experience in December, I’ve been waiting for the wild mood swings that hit me as the chemicals balance themselves out. The emotional zigzag I experienced last time the dosage was upped was epic.
Today, lost in New Jersey, I think the mood swings I’ve been waiting for hit me hard. In fact, with my brain cells scrambled, I’m pretty sure I missed that turn because my head was in too many other strange places to comprehend the road before me.
If this is what happened, the rest of this trip will be much better, because I will have turned the corner.
We’ll see tomorrow.
I’m happy to say the day ended well. We arrived at the home of our cousins, the Deans, and they did everything they could to make the tired Brenner clan feel better. The Deans are quite a family, the kind of family everyone should try to be like.
When you have such beautiful friends and family around you, the effects of a bad day can never last.
Now I’m going to crash and hope for a better Monday.