Four years (and two days) off the bottle
How I forgot my sobriety date, again.
|Alex Wilhelm||May 26, 2020||9|
I don’t have a copy editor for this personal blog. Please send all typos and corrections to email@example.com. Thanks! - A
I got my quitting drinking date wrong again this year.
In self-defense my first day off boozing wasn’t that great. It wasn’t bad, not really. It was better than nearly every day that came during the three or four years leading up to it. But I spent the day in a hospital, so, it wasn’t really great.
I quit drinking on May 23rd, 2016, but my first official sober day was May 24th. That’s because while stumbling around Monday morning on the 23rd I had a small sip of a leftover drink. By order of the Higher Prelates of AA, Tuesday was my first full day off the bottle and was thus the one that counted.
That has never felt quite right as I really quit Monday morning, and, by the time I woke up Tuesday I’d wandered through a few emergency rooms and was out of San Francisco, taking up temporary residence in Cupertino and Sunnyvale. But what can you do.
All that’s a long-winded way of saying that it’s not a huge shock that I thought my sober date was today, until this morning when Liza checked her calendar and realized that we’d missed it.
The mistake is not stopping us from celebrating. I’ve stocked the house with carbs, ate a burger, went on a long walk on the beach with my partner, and even played some frisbee in the sun. Liza and I are off this week and the East Coast is finally warm, making this particular week a gift — today is close enough.
Pretty Damn Good
A year ago, wrapping my third year away from alcohol, I was 29, engaged, officially living in San Francisco, and commuting across the country every two weeks for a job that was more stress than it was worth. Now I’m 30, married, settled in the East Coast, and in a new (old) job that let’s me stay put. My work-related stress is down by about 85%, and I can do more push-ups than back then.
Not that all things are good. They aren’t. But more and more of my life’s foundations are settled, stable, and well-laid. I hope I can say that again next year, and the year after.
If I manage to, it won’t be my doing, or at least not entirely. I’ve been floating gently along on an updraft generated by the people in life that I love, and, deservedly or not, love me.
Drinking coffee in the shower this week, thinking about this post, I was a little taken aback at how long the list of people who have helped me has become.
AS for getting me help initially. EW and BL for catching me when I really did fall over. MM and AA (the person, not the group) for forming my sober coven. AW for being a pillar of strength as well as guidance. OT for fitness love. Out in Providence I’ve got a new crew of folks who have my best interests in mind, including DH and RJ and DJ and LW and RW. And there are friendships that exist across the country, DO and AO in Eaglesville, KL and F in the Bay, the Destiny Kids ArrKayEl and T, bymyOWNself and F and L, and calmTreebeard and K. Not to mention the rest of mine and my partner’s families.
And there’s Liza of course, around whom my universe contentedly spins. I could write a whole post just about her love and support from the last year, but she wouldn’t let me post it.
It’s been a whole fucking year. One filled with change and surprise and stress, but also with sheets of filled paper ripped away, leaving new, crisp pages for the writing.
I think about that every day.
Not everyone who winds up an addict gets to have a second go. A lot of folks just don’t. I’m always going to be ecstatically in debt to everyone who refused to let me fully dissolve into bourbon.
I’m excited about the future. That alone is a miracle. Optimism isn’t free and I’m glad to have mine back.
As always, if you are struggling with drinking, ping me. I’m here for you. You deserve the same support I didn’t deserve either. You really do. Hugs. — A