I have been sober for almost ninety days.
Some of you will think that is pure insanity. Some of you will question how I’ve done the “unthinkable”. Some of you will believe that it isn’t possible. Some of you will question what the hell is wrong with me. And sadly, some of you will think that you would never be able to do it. You can think whatever you would like to, but I know for a fact, that I have caught at least one person’s attention with that last statement. And with that, stick with me my friend.
It wasn’t hard for me to give it up. Actually, it was a hell of a lot easier than I thought it would be. I looked at it as a toxic detox of everything negative in my life. I was going through a rough patch of time before I started this “sobering” journey. Mind you, I’ve been through rougher patches, but this one was pretty stressful. Looking back, it was in no way comparable to some people’s lives and the difficulties that some face day in and day out, but for me, it was a tough road to stare down alone. Or at least, what felt like I was alone.
It took me crashing into life to see the world around me wasn’t as bad as I was making it out to be. While there were situations popping up in my life I didn’t want to deal with and weren’t handling them with the glass half full, I kept turning to my “friend” that I always knew would be there. That would help me to forget about the pain of being alone and the situations I was currently in. Through thick and thin, through the ups and downs, Jack Daniels was always there.
Mind you, I know I sound dramatic. I sound as if I was at the bar spending my paycheck every night trying to buzz my problems away. That’s not the case. I honestly can’t tell you the last time I went to a bar in general that wasn’t with a group of people for a special occasion or for that matter, a liquor store. I was far from a heavy drinker, but looking back, I think I was something worse, I was a dependent drinker. When life hit a bump, I located a glass of wine. When I was feeling overly anxious or nervous about a situation, someone had to hand me some whiskey. When I was feeling lonely and didn’t want to spend another Friday night alone with my dog and my thoughts, I found Netflix and a beer. To you, it might not sound like much, but to me, I felt myself drowning in my own dependency.
Why you may ask? When I have my dog who is my rock and I know I can depend on no matter what. When I have a kick ass job and a life I’ve worked so hard for. When I finally started to become proud of the human being I was becoming, why did I feel this need to turn to alcohol to quiet my anxiety and help me with my depressive moments? Because it was easier than just admitting I needed another outlet for my sadness. It was a simple way for me to quiet my overwhelming thoughts. It was easier to shut my mind off from the fears rather than saying them out loud for the world to hear. The Lord has a funny way of humbling you..
We live in a society where no matter what the feeling is, it’s easier to turn to alcohol as the cure all. We grow up thinking it’s an important thing in society. That you’re not cool if you don’t drink underage. That 21 is the best time of your life because you can finally legally drink. That we should drink in social settings. That we need it in order to have fun. That some of it is good for our health. That no matter what the occasion, alcohol is something that should be accepted for all. We drink when we’re happy, we drink when we’re sad. We drink when we’re scared, we drink when we’re frustrated. We see people having fun with it in commercials, we see people finding love with it in movies, we see people “thriving” on it, yet we know all the downfalls to it as well. And yet, we literally find any excuse to still drink.. Again I say, why?
Sure, depending on the drink itself, the taste can be great, but other than that, why? Are we running from our feelings? Are we too afraid to be different from the normal? Have we grown so attached to this “out of body experience” that we get from alcohol that we feel that we need it all the time? Or have we grown so depended on it as a society that we don’t know how to put the bottle down?
Almost ninety days ago I started this journey not necessarily by choice, but by a wake up call from God. You may choose to think whatever you want to with that statement, but my faith has taught me that God doesn’t let things happen to you without a bigger plan in mind. For a while, I wasn’t quite sure what that plan was exactly, until I started writing. Until my mind had cleared and I was able to focus on something other than the lack of alcohol in my life. It was for this story and the one reader it’s going to reach.
I know by telling this story, it will do at least one person some good hearing it. Knowing that you’re not alone in this battle and that I won’t judge. That’s half the battle, thinking that people will turn their back on you or judge you. The way that people will look at you when you turn down going to the bar. The people that will not want to hang out with you because you would rather go to the library instead of a late-night out. When it comes down to it, it’s only about what is good for you. In this case, for the moment, you have to be selfish with what is good for you. The people that stick around through your decision are the only ones that you want to keep in your life anyways.
With this story, I’m in no way saying that you, or anyone, should give up alcohol. I’m just saying for the time being that I did and life is looking a hell of a lot brighter without it. I’m in no way saying that I will never have a glass of wine or a pumpkin beer again, but it does feel okay to spend a summer without them. And in no way am I saying that someone who has had one too many adult beverages or if someone needs a glass of wine after a long day that they have an alcohol problem, I’m just saying we should all recognize that life can be just as much fun, if not better, on the sober side of life and that we should all see through our beer goggles as to the real reason why we drink.
At the end of the day, this isn’t about my story. This isn’t about Jack Daniels or whatever your adult beverage of choice may be. Hell, this isn’t even about the way society is and what everyone is doing for happy hour tonight. At the end of the day, this is about you, the reader, and the one question I want you to think about.. Why do you drink?