The First Time I Quit Drinking

The First Time I Quit Drinking



I had a whole list of things to do today so, it stands to reason that I spent hours listening to the Michael Cohen hearing and then decided I needed to “organize” my computer.


Of course the “organizing” turned into me just reading old things I had forgotten I had written and reviewing old sobriety related resources I haven’t looked at in almost three years.


One of the things I had forgotten about writing was from my first go-round at sobriety in March 2015. I don’t talk much about that attempt at sobriety, I’ve dismissed those four or five months as not worthy of discussion. If you asked me why, my knee jerk reaction would be to tell you that I don’t know but, that would be a lie. When I sit with it and look at why I don’t talk about that time, I’m sure it’s because it wasn’t successful. Or, maybe because it doesn’t feel like I did “the work” so that time isn’t as valid as the 1126 days of sobriety I’ve had since early 2016. Probably some sort of combination: part perfectionism, part imposter syndrome and part a few other things I haven’t realized yet but I’m sure are there, under the surface.


When I found a folder called “Journaling” I was curious because I don’t normally do anything journal-like on my computer, I’m old fashioned that way and have roughly one million partially filled notebooks to prove it. I opened the folder and there was only one document in it, a document called My Journey to Independence. Hello! BOLD TITLE ALERT!


Getting beyond the title, I was pleasantly surprised when I opened it – it details my first ten or so days of sobriety from four years ago. The brevity of this document wasn’t a shock, I’m a notorious starter with very little follow through. Through the limited words that made up My (partial and incomplete) Journey to Independence, I was able to see a fire in me – one that I’m still nurturing and stoking.


I think we all have dreams of some sort that follow us throughout our lives, often without even realizing they’re possible because we’re told that there’s such a narrow scope that’s possible in life and anything outside of that is fantasy.


Sometimes I get glimpses back seven, eight or nine years ago, through Facebook memories, where my frustration with the status quo of my life is very clear. These memories often highlight the fact that I’ve always wanted…. More. Without really knowing what more meant. All I knew was that I wasn’t happy going to a job I hated in a cubicle, in the town next to the one I grew up in, just getting by and doing things because they were the things I had always done. I had grand dreams of breaking out and doing something that felt satisfying and big and from the heart.


The things I wanted then are the things that I want now. Except now I’ve been able to home in on the details with a little more clarity. My sobriety has helped me find that more I was craving. I may rarely know what I’m doing but, I’m doing it anyway. And I might be scared all of the time but, the fear is what lets me know I’m on the right path.


Folks, my sobriety has been the single best thing that I’ve done for myself in my life (I say that about a lot of things but, I mean it every single time. I promise!), and my sobriety includes the lessons I learned in those first few months back in 2015. The months before my ex broke up with me. Before I hooked up with a married friend or went to Hawaii. Before I was miserable and thought the only answer might be slicing my body with a razor blade. Before Hip Sobriety School and everyone I know now who holds me up without even realizing it.


We never lose the lessons we learn, even if we slip up and go back again (and again, and again, and again.)


And, just for fun, here’s the first entry in My Journey to Independence:





I’ve given up booze.  Is it for good?  Only time will tell.  Was I sick of toiling away at work and then just coming home to self-medicate every day?  You’re damn right I was!  How am I ever going to get where I want to be in life if all I do is drink beer and watch tv?!!?  How am I going to accomplish the one million dreams I have if all I’m doing is sipping G&T’s while looking at Facebook???  I’m not.  That’s the long and the short of it.  I need to do something that will strengthen my mind, not dilute it.  Not make me lazy and slow.  So, I’m off the sauce.

Me, juggling the shit out of what was bothering me – March 2015

We’ll see where this journey takes me but, for now, I’m really excited to have my life back.  I’ll be able to write more.  Even if it’s only for a few minutes every morning.  A paragraph or two.  I just want to be able to get my words out.  My feelings on this screen.   I’ll be learning more.  I finally signed up for some free online classes.  Maybe it’s not the traditional education setting  but, I’m not interested in getting graded.  I’m interested in learning what I feel is important.  I’m going to get better at math and science.  I’m going to learn more about world history.  It’s going to trigger more interest in me and I’ll seek out more and more knowledge.  I’ve also reignited my love of juggling.  I juggle every chance I get.  Every moment that it’s possible.  I have those tennis balls with me so I can just drop everything and juggle the shit out of what’s bothering me.  It’s a great way for me to focus on the task at hand.  At getting better at something that is tangible without all of the heavy loads that are usually tied to practicing and getting better at something.  I want to have an impact.  Not only in other people’s lives, which is totally important, but in my own damn life!  What good am I to myself if I’m just doing what everyone else I know does…. Work, home, bed, repeat.  I have no interest in being a sheep and I have no interest in waiting until I’m in my 50’s, 60’s or even 70’s before I start living my life!  I need to clean shit out (literally, this apartment is a disaster), I need to encourage my intelligence and deductive reasoning to grow, I need to get my body in the shape I want.  I know that I DON’T want to go home to visit feeling the way I do.  I want to be happy and healthy and strong while I’m home.  I want people to say, “wow, the west coast really agrees with you” I don’t want to be a depressed lump.  That’s not living, that’s existing. 


I love you.

Keep going.


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