Monday, July 4, 2016

One Month Sober

As of today, I've been sober for one month. I haven't had a single drink in that time, and haven't even been tempted to have one. This past month has been too good for me to ever want to go back.

Living without alcohol is amazing.

I wish I had taken this step a long time ago. But as I mentioned in my previous post, a younger me did not have the experience to really appreciate this. I did quit drinking though before it seriously injured me or anyone else, so for that I'm thankful.

Even more than that, I'm thankful to all of the truly wonderful people who gave me so much of their love and support when I made the decision. I'm late in thanking all of you, but I have definitely felt and appreciated your generous kindness in this past month.

I felt a little guilty when I received the outpouring of heartfelt compassion from so many people. I've been quite blessed in my life, as all of you showed. There are many with struggles that are much larger than mine who never get the same kind of support. But I hope that anyone who read my post about quitting became more willing to share their own stories and to allow others to help them.

You can accomplish a lot on your own. You accomplish a lot more with others.

And you can accomplish crazy workouts!!

When I wrote "I've had my last drink", I didn't mention in that post that my good friend Geoffrey quit drinking at the same time. He needed to share that in his own way - which he did. And he too got a large and warm response. Both of us have been tremendously buoyed by those many uplifting voices. And we remind one another almost daily how happy we are to have both made the decision. It would have been a tougher journey for either of us alone.

I was amazed by the many personal stories that individuals shared with me. I hadn't realized how many people have been touched by alcoholism, either directly or via someone closely connected to them. I wish I could share some of those stories here, but most of them were shared privately. I'm lucky that I didn't have to hit "rock bottom" before I learned my lesson, as many others have. Reading the stories did a great deal to reinforce my decision.

Thank-you, truly, to those who shared those personal memories with me. And to those who invited me to contact them if I ever needed a compassionate ear.

One thing I've gained through this blog is the ability express my personal demons openly. Some of my friends pointed out their appreciation for my ability to recognize my own problems and to deal with them. They appreciated my vulnerability. Many folks are afraid to be vulnerable, and I hope that my writing inspired them to be more open.

It is indeed scary.

Less scary with friends

But I made a decision a long time ago not to live in fear. To make hard choices. I suppose it comes almost second-nature for me to face fear with defiance. But that's not the case for everyone. And I hope I can motivate others to conquer their fears, to be vulnerable, to show their cards and let the chips fall where they will.

Stepping outside of the comfort zone is worth it in the long run. Trust me.

So again, thank-you, all of you. Even those of you who chose to keep your thoughts private, thank-you just for reading. The decision to quit drinking has been of great benefit to me. However, it's just as important that it benefit others as well, whether it's to strengthen their own resolve, or to encourage them to make choices to bolster their own health and happiness.

Easier to train and improve with buddies!

Finally, I'd like to finish the post with a bit of "crunch": A list of pros and cons of quitting drinking. Here we go.

  • It is a lot easier to wake up every day. I wake up every morning before my alarm rings at 5:40am. I no longer miss a morning workout, unless it's a rest day.
  • I'm never hungover. I don't have to wait for a headache to go away before I can go about my day. I don't have to compromise on activities or exercise because my body feels drained. I can focus more at work.
  • I save money.
  • I save on calories! One of the greatest perks has been my increased calorie budget. I've been eating more real food. In fact, I "have" to eat ice cream often just to make sure I get enough calories in a day! Maintaining my weight is a lot easier now.
  • I no longer feel the pressure to drink with friends or at dinner. Everyone knows that I'm sober. Even when I was drinking, there would be times when I'd want to drink less, either because I had drank too much the previous night or didn't have the calories in my budget. And then I would go out with some friends and drink anyway. Never again.
  • I no longer have to worry about making bad decisions when my faculties are compromised. I can drive anytime without risking breaking the law or hurting someone. I can spend time with people without worrying about behaving stupidly or inappropriately. I can go out without worrying about what kind of condition I'll be returning home in. I can make plans for early the next day and know that I'll be able to keep them.
  • My physical, mental, and emotional health have all been lastingly improved. I may still be reasonably young, but I have the ease of mind knowing that I will have fewer mind and body issues as I grow older.
  • None.
Today, on the 4th of July, is the perfect day to be celebrating my freedom. I feel truly free. Thank-you, bless you, and have an amazing 4th of July!
The weather couldn't be more perfect today!