April 18th

Birch trees in the clearance in my local forest.

Gorgeous, sunny, just-the-right-touch-of-warmth day today. One of those days when I think how lucky I am to experience it all. The weather, the sun, nature, quiet walks, muscular bike rides, easy fulfilling naps — you know — all of that normal Sunday stuff.

I went for an afternoon walk in my forest after a busy day — another walk in the morning, an 18 km bike ride around midday. Everything seemed perfect — except the people — there are too many of them, and they all wanted to enjoy this perfect day as well. And in the “my” forest a short walk from where I live. They all were there — families, old and new, with young children or elderly parents or grandparents, groups of young people, local bums and alcoholics (drinking in the bushes along the paths), casual bike riders and pro wannabes mountain bikers (those men dressed wholly in shouty colors Lycra). I didn’t like it, too many of them and loud and blocking the paths with their inconsiderate walking in groups. Fortunately, they were mostly on and around the edge of the forest, 10 minutes of walking on deeper paths brought finally quietness and peace.

Anemones in the forest.

All that made me think about where exactly do I belong among other people, where do I belong in society? I don’t think I belong to any group now (well — I do belong to recovering alcoholics, but we don’t associate with each other, bar for AA meetings, and we tend to keep on the quiet side). I don’t think I need to belong to any group anymore, which is very refreshing to me — most of my life from my early teens to last year I wanted to belong, and I did try to belong to some group, to have some common identification with other people, often with laughable results. I was (in no particular order): a nerd, an incel, a jock, a gamer, a drummer, a romantic poet, a golfer, a stoner, a writer, a painter, a husband, a corporate cog, a social media persona, and a lot of others even more cringe. And all that time I was also a member of a special, rather reclusive group, a group that no one wants to join, and yet somehow their numbers are only growing, a group that most who join never quit — alcoholics. And yeah — we do recognize each other, even now I can tell if that person has a problem with quitting alcohol from few looks, few words, few gestures. I am not talking about local drunks — I am talking about people who are all around us in any society. Most of them have respected jobs, nice outside personality, they keep their appearances and their lies very well. Most people cannot tell that they might have a problem, hell — most of THEM cannot tell and admit that they have a problem.

We do recognize each other, it’s quite easy for me — I see myself in them and in their behavior, I was just like that until early September last year. I quit being an active member of that group, but being an alcoholic comes with a lifetime membership… and I will do everything that I can to never get that membership active again, I simply enjoy my current, sober life too much.

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