With 24 hours left in my sentence, I naturally begin to wonder if I shouldn’t stay. It’s not as if I have a happy, fulfilling life to return to. Yes, I have some obligations, but I could easily shirk my duties if I thought it would do me a lick of good to remain hospitalized.

The trouble is that I don’t see myself as someone with a treatable illness but rather as someone with an obnoxious personality and failed life. There is no cure for being a certifiable loser. I feel bad for taking up space (thought admittedly there’s plenty to spare this week) in this facility where kind, suffering souls come to recover their well-deserved sense of well-being.

So I will return to my half-life, feeling half-dead, and continue to wonder what I could possibly do to redeem myself. I had thought the answer was to donate my body to science, for use both before and after death. So far the pre-death part isn’t working all that well, but I’ll keep looking. Today I read in the Washington Post (yes, an actual physicial paper in the patient library, where there was no meter ticking for each article I read) that the NIAAA is conducting research into women and alcohol. Maybe that’s an area I could pursue, though I imagine that I exceed the upper age limit, as with about 90 percent of clinical trials.

The folks who interviewed me here sure made me feel like I had an alcohol problem, because I generally consume about one drink per day. Going without it for a week hasn’t been an issue for me, but I imagine I’ll get back into my drink-a-day rut once I’m home.

I suspect that the real answer to feeling better about myself, and everything else, is to stop dwelling on myself and to dwell instead on everything else. That is, to dwell in the land of impersonal things: science, computers, music, literature, plants, animals, and other people who are just as messed up as I am but manage not to bore the pants off the Internet with their constant whinging.



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