I didn’t decide stop drinking 549 days ago. It was more like 3 years ago that I decided I want to stop.
For some people, like me, relapses are part of the process.
For me, there was a pattern. I’d achieve some length of sobriety, 2 weeks, a month, sometimes even more before relapsing.
After that 1st night back to drinking, I wouldn’t set back my counter. I’d wait, because if I was going back to day 1, I wanted to make it worth it! So that one night of drinking would turn into 3-4, or sometimes more.
It was a full two years of this.
It was so confusing for me, because not only did I want to stop, but I felt so dang good mentally & emotionally every time I did! I didn’t understand why I kept going back.
Now I know that it was probably PAWS (post alcohol withdrawal syndrome) and/or my alcoholic voice trying to persuade me. It took me quite awhile to learn & grow my toolbox.
So when I say that I have over 500 consecutive days, know that they didn’t come without mistakes and setbacks. I’ve had so many day 1’s.
As frustrating as it was at the time, I’m thankful for the rough road in my first attempts at sobriety.
One day back in March, was the worst day one, and my last to date
After hitting my one year, shortly after the entire country shut down & was ordered to isolate, I considered drinking. It would be okay, I told myself, I’ll stop again, after this pandemic, if we make it out alive.
You see what my alcoholic voice did there? I could die, we all could, so why am I staying sober? It took my vulnerable state of mind & tried to talk me into taking a drink.
I didn’t overthink it, or stress about it, but knew in my heart that the switch in my head might flip after that day & I would grant myself forgiveness.
The day came & went & drinking was a fleeting thought. The thought of more day 1’s and being in that cycle was enough to make the thought of it repulsive.
There have been a few other times this year when I considered it. Like when our good friends got married this month. It was the fear of getting back into that cycle that stopped me from taking that first drink.
That knowledge is a gift of my relapses.
I have no idea if I’ll ever drink again. I just know that I love my life so much more at day 549 than I ever have before.
A few weeks ago, I woke up ill on a Saturday. Not terrible, but I was achey and had a headache. I didn’t have enough energy to shower until noon. Then it hit me.
This used to be every single Saturday and Sunday.
Every weekend day, I was a zombie. It took all my energy to do the minimum. By afternoon I was almost recovered and would diligently cross off all my (minimal) chores so that I could start drinking at 8:00.
I lived to drink.
I thought it was life.
The thought of quitting was a horrible prospect.
Sober people were much different than me, and I would never be happy without it.
These and about 100 more excuses all crossed my mind every time I thought of my drinking.
It was all a tremendous lie, courtesy of alcohol and Betsy, my AV.
My only regret, like most everyone else, is that I didn’t do it sooner.
Now I feel like the decades I spent drinking we’re wasted sitting on the sidelines of life and I can see how much I’ve missed.
Perhaps I was late to the game, but I’m grateful to be in it now, and remorseful for the ones in my life who are still on the side— the ones who are fully committed to believing the lies of alcohol.