Three Years

It’s a cliche, of course, but I really and truly never thought I’d get here. Three years ago I knew what I had to do. I’d known it for months, maybe years. But I fought myself over it, bargained internally, felt sorry for myself over the conclusion I’d come to, and kept telling myself that it was, somehow, all so unfair.

And now, looking back? Here’s how I see the me of three years ago: What a whiny moron I was!

Because, in all honestly, it wasn’t as hard as I made it out to be. The end results were better than I could have imagined. And my life is, unquestionably, just plain better.

And the best part is that I haven’t really lost anything. I still socialize with all the same people. I go to many of the same places (though certainly not as frequently, and not alone, and not with the sole thought of ‘oh good, now I can drink a shit-ton of alcohol!’).

So yes, I am truly thankful and lucky. I enjoy quiet early mornings without hangovers. I enjoy more restful sleep. And I relish remembering what I did and said the night before.

I never could have done it without this blogging community. I learned the hard way that I am not a ‘meetings’ person. But I also learned that I couldn’t do it on my own. And so I floundered for a long time, looking for a ‘middle ground’ that would work for me.

You all were it. It worked. And it still does.

Many of you are still here, and I still enjoy hearing from you. It’s great to see that you are still following the paths you laid out for yourselves. Some of my early online stalwarts are nowhere to be found. I’d like to think they are happy in sobriety and simply no longer needed the online community. That’s what I choose to believe, and I hope it’s true. Either way, I’m still here.

Thanks to all of you. You helped change a life.

TNNG

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Three Years

Build

Happy New Year to all of you. May 2019 bring peace, joy, and growth.

I don’t write much anymore. I’m fortunate that life without drinking has become the norm; it’s not something I focus on, worry about, strive for. It’s just a part of my everyday life, and for that I am thankful.

I reached a milestone today: 5,000 miles ridden on my bike. I have set a goal for 2019 to ride even more as a way to keep healthy and stay grounded.

A friend from the soberverse (you know who you are: I’m still reading your posts and cheering for you, if silently!) turned me on to the idea of a ‘word of the year.’ I’ve thought about it a lot, and for 2019 it will be: Build.

I built something this year, a new community organization. It’s been a ton of work, lots of fun, really rewarding and (to my great joy and surprise) wildly successful (at least by my reckoning).

And it made me realize: I should build more. Maybe I’ll try to build some things that will fall down. That’s OK. Maybe I’ll build some things that work. Maybe, just maybe, I’ll build something lasting. Whatever the case, I think 2019 is the year to give it a try. In 2018 I did it for the community. In 2019 I think I need to do it for myself.

I don’t know yet what it will be. I need to explore, to think, to bounce ideas around. But once I come up with it, I need to build it.

Best wishes to all of you.

TNNG.

Build

Two Years

Today marks two years. Two years without a drink, of course, but really so much more than that.

Two years without foolish drunken choices, two years without ill-considered arguments. Two years without hangovers. Two years of better sleep, better health, a clearer mind. Two years with more peaceful feelings than I’ve had in a long time.

Everything else is still there. Yes, I lay awake at night sometimes and worry. That’s just me, and I haven’t figured out how to solve it. But I’m pretty certain I know what won’t solve it. Uh huh, you know it , too.

No special celebration planned. Waking up without a hangover was its own celebration. So was riding my bike to work, and having a productive day at work, and having a day (mostly) free of regrets (I’m better, but I didn’t say I was perfect, did I?). It was a wonderful celebration all on its own last week to go skiing with my wife and son, play board games in the cabin in the evening, sleep soundly at night and wake up early to make them breakfast and get ready to hit the slopes.

I hope you all have celebrations as joyful as these.

Thanks to all of you.

Two Years

600

A couple years ago this seemed impossible. A day, a week, a month was a struggle.

It gets easier. The longings ebb. Peace washes in on gentle waves. The breezes seem fairer and the air clearer.

What have you got to lose?

600

Thankful

Last Thursday was Thanksgiving Day here in the US, my favorite holiday. No commercialism to spoil it, no religious controversies, just a day to spend with family and friends as we reflect on all we are thankful for.

I’m thankful that drinking doesn’t pull on me so strongly as it used to. Thankful for a clear head, blissful sleep, and glorious, energetic mornings.

Earlier last week I had to travel for business. The drinking culture around business travel is really horrifying: drinks at the airport pre-flight, drinks on the plane, drinks with business associates at dinner, drinks at the depressing hotel bar before bed.

I substituted a long walk around the downtown of the city I was visiting and a pint of ice cream in my room before bed. (Yes, I ate the entire pint. I know this is horrible. But consider this: since I stopped drinking and started exercising more I have lost 15 pounds even though I eat ice cream like it is going out of style.)

In the airport bar there was a sign that read: “I feel sorry for people that don’t drink. When they wake up in the morning, that’s the best they’re going to feel all day.” It was attributed to Dean Martin.

My response: YES! I feel great in the morning. Better than I used to feel during any part of the day when I was drinking. So Dean, you had the right idea. You just took the wrong conclusion from it.

I hope all is well with my sober online family. Whether you are sober, trying, or just thinking about it you are part of the family.

Happy Thanksgiving to all of you. You’ve been a great help to me and I’m so thankful I found you all. There is no question about it: without this community I would not have had the courage to even try, and I would never have made it through those first few weeks. Without all of you, I would not be sober today. So to all of you: thank you.

Thankful

Dream

I had a strange dream last night, a drinking dream. That hasn’t happened in a long time.

In my dream I was with a very good friend. It was an indeterminate special occasion and we were sitting in a nice place in deep leather chairs. We were both having a martini, and as I was drinking it I was aware that I was breaking my streak, doing something I wasn’t sure I wanted to do. But in my dream the pull was strong. Not the pull of the drink itself, but the pull of the moment. Wanting to have a drink with my friend to celebrate that special moment.

I began to feel terrible about my decision. In my dream, I began to wonder if this would lead to more drinking, if I’d have a hard time getting back on a sober path. I went back and forth between thinking it was no big deal to terrified thoughts that I would be off the wagon for a long time, struggling to get back on.

I woke up greatly relieved. It was, after all, just a dream.

I felt lucky to wake up sober. I lay in bed on my side, then felt a warmth against my back. I slowly rolled over to find that my sweet seven-year-old son had snuck into our room and into our bed in the night, and was sound asleep between me and my wife. He knows he’s not supposed to do this, but it’s so darned cute that I can never be mad for long.

This morning I just gave him a hug and kissed his forehead while he slept. Then I got up and started my day, heading to work while my wife and son slept soundly, peacefully.

I’m so fortunate. I’m so lucky to have these people in my life, to have a home, a job, friends. And so happy that I finally discovered what I long believed to be a hoax, a sham: it’s so much better without the drink. Peaceful. Calm. Grounded.

Dream

Blissful Summer

It’s been a great summer. A sweet summer baseball league for my little 7-year-old, two nice trips with family and friends, riding my bike to work along the beach, dinners with friends. And all without a drink, of course. Which means restful sleep, clear-eyed mornings, and a huge weight off my shoulders.

Is everything perfect? Of course not! This is life, after all. But it’s pretty darned good. And I remember that every time I wake up sober.

I hope you are all having a wonderful summer, too. We’re off for our annual trip to the mountains. Like last year, there will be a clear head to enjoy that clear mountain air.

All the best,

TNNG

Blissful Summer