Six years (and one day) of not drinking
I forgot to write this on the proper day, and Liza is at work so she can’t edit it for me. Expect a typo or two. — Alex
Yesterday was my sixth anniversary of not drinking.
Frankly I am a little surprised that I have made it this far. Not that I want to return to torching my health, happiness, and friendships. I don’t. But I am somewhat bewildered that I am still on the wagon as I am not particularly strong, or smart.
Most folks don’t make it this far. I try not to forget that.
Around the middle of my two weeks of day-school rehab, someone cycled back into the program so quickly that some patients still remembered him. They were shocked. You were doing so well, they said. It turned out that he had found a small, stashed bottle of vodka after leaving, took a little taste, and then fired back up to his old consumption levels overnight.
He was back. I don’t want to go back.
There’s a Christian riff that I recall from my youth that goes something like for the wages of sin is death, but the gift of god is eternal life. I don’t believe that, but the concept of extreme tradeoffs resonates. Why? Because my body and mind would like to consume breakfast vodka followed by bourbon the rest of the day, giving me a simple choice: I can drink, or I can do everything else.
I am more fortunate that I deserve. My partner loves me, my family is supportive, and I have a pack of dogs tearing around the house who depend on me for their care, helping keep me focused. We’re going to have kids, too, which will provide even more incentive to keep my shit together.
That’s the everything else in my life. Why would I ever trade it all for the ability to feel like hell all the time? I don’t know. But my mind loves to run through scenarios in which I escape all my responsibilities and relationships, and instead hide in the woods and booze until I die. Who knows why that appeals. Brains are weird.
But I now have six years of not drinking done, and I am going to do another six. And then hopefully another six.
Hugs. I’ve had the incredible fortune of talking to a bunch of folks during the pandemic about drinking, and other forms of substance use disorder. May we all find a clear path to a simpler future, and hold onto it. — A