When a drunk has a terrific hangover because he drank heavily yesterday, he cannot live well today. But there is another kind of hangover which we all experience whether we are drinking or not. That is the emotional hangover, the direct result of yesterday’s and sometimes today’s excesses of negative emotion—anger, fear, jealousy, and the like. If we would live serenely today and tomorrow, we certainly need to eliminate these hangovers.
My emotional life is ruled by politics right now, and I’m just going to go with it.
I know I’m not doing it well when I dream about congress, or when thoughts of politics and politicians are the first thoughts I have waking up, or the things that run through my head when I’m trying to sleep. I don’t feel that the negative emotions are excessive. I think anger, fear, and the like (disgust, dismay, despair) are appropriate and called for. If you’re not terrified you’re not paying attention! And I don’t live serenely.
I mean, I do live serenely, this just takes up too much negative space in my head and in my day. I haven’t reached my goal of spending ten quality minutes with it. I’ve seen people around me lessen their zeal. I think I have lessened my newspaper reading, but only a little. I’m not sure what an appropriate amount would be.
Other things. I marked 33 years sober last week. This number is beyond my comprehension. I feel in this way blessed among all the alcoholics who ever lived. Emotional hangovers, unpleasant as they are, are the only kind of hangovers I’ve had in all that time. I remember cotton mouth, dry heaves, vague and fearful regrets. I’ll take the emotional hangover because this hangover comes with hope and a plan to suffer less next time.
And viva la resistance!!