Friday, June 3, 2016

I've Had My Last Drink



When I was 25 I got a DWI (Driving While Intoxicated). It doesn't matter what the circumstances were. I was stupid, plain and simple. One would think I would've learned my lesson at that point.

I did not.

Maybe a year after that, I was driving home drunk. Very drunk. I was having trouble staying awake. But I was suddenly jarred to consciousness by the sound of not one but two of my tires going flat simultaneously.

I had driven so far onto the curb that it cut into the insides of the two left tires. And I was lucky that it did, because I was about twenty feet from slamming into a telephone pole.

I still did not learn my lesson.

Another time I was driving home with a friend in the winter after we'd gone out drinking. I was driving too fast on a windy back road. The car spun out and we shot off the side of the road. The car finally came to rest balanced on some rocks overhanging a creek. We got stuck. Thankfully a passing driver saw us, went home to get his truck, and hauled us out.

I still did not learn my lesson.

I've been pulled over twice since then for driving drunk. Both times I was extremely lucky to not get arrested. There have been countless times that I've driven with one eye shut because I couldn't focus with both eyes open.

The world has spent 12 years trying to teach me a lesson that I refused to learn.

Last night I finally decided to listen.

As of today I have quit drinking.

Never again.

This morning I poured out the beer that was in the fridge and the rest of the booze loitering about the house. I feel immensely liberated and powerful.

Many of my friends probably wouldn't consider me an alcoholic. I exercise every day. I go to work. I get up early in the mornings. If my friends and I are out drinking, I'm often the one who stays in control and makes sure they get home or find a place to sleep. Several times I've taken a break from drinking for as long as six months. I've never blacked out.

But alcoholism comes in many forms. And I'm an alcoholic.

You might be wondering what great event inspired this sudden decision. You may be skimming through this post looking for the crazy story of what happened last night. You're thinking, this is going to be good. What was it?!

Nothing.

Nothing special happened. I ran 14 miles. Then I went out. I had fish tacos and a couple pints of Horseheads IPA. Then I went to another place and had a couple cans of Anderson Valley Gose. Then I went home and had some whiskey. And then I decided to quit drinking.

Done with this.

I'm sorry it's so anticlimactic and boring. You may even think that I'm not serious, or that this won't last. If I didn't almost die, or suffer some other terrible fate, then what's the big deal?

Nothing terrible or exciting happened on the day that I decided to lose 50 pounds either. I just decided, in a moment, to get into shape. And I did. In 6 months I'd lost the weight and I've kept it off for over two years.

It's a matter of controlling my own fate, living the life that I want to live. Once I decide to do something, I do it immediately. Because waiting, even for a day, means I'm not serious. If I decide I want to do something, and I don't start immediately, it means I don't actually want to do that thing. It's just bullshit. Wishful thinking.

And I'm writing this post now in order to keep myself accountable. This is a promise to you, reader, and a promise to myself. Everybody reading this will know I made this promise. And if you see me holding a drink, you better call me out on it.

I've been blessed in my life. And up until this point I've been abusing that good fortune. There are people whose lives are much much harder than mine who are able to make sacrifices much bigger than this one. I have no excuse.

By making this decision, I lose absolutely nothing. But I gain a tremendous amount. I will become even healthier. I will save money. My sleep will improve. I will become more productive. I will have more free time. I will be happier.

What I feel now..... it's immense. Almost too immense for words. I feel light as air. A weight has been lifted that I didn't even realize was there. It was a weight of my own design, an anchor I had placed on my own ankles. And today I cut the chain. Just like that. I could've done it at any time, and only today did I realize that.

Thank you for reading.

Good memories, but that's all they are now: Memories.

7 comments:

  1. I'll be here to help you hold to this promise. I doubt that you will need much assistance because of your stubborn Russian determination ,but I will be here nonetheless! <3

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  2. I'll be here to help you hold to this promise. I doubt that you will need much assistance because of your stubborn Russian determination ,but I will be here nonetheless! <3

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  3. You are an amazing inspiration to us all, a living example. It's been intriguing watching you mature since we've known each other a number of years. You don't need validation from us but, I like your commitment to being held accountable.

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  4. You can do this, Peter ❤️
    Thinking of you.

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  5. I do hope you're trekking on well with this friend. Your words inspired me to get off my butt and make some changes myself. -FM20

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