Someone reacted with disbelief when I said I was off booze for 12 months. "How on earth are you going to be able to do that? That would be so hard." I just told her I had made up my mind and I WILL do it. I KNOW I can do this although I am heading into the unknown in terms of the moments of weakness and temptation I'll inevitably encounter.
I recently read a story about this Nelson rooster, Chris Whiting, who won a car in local car dealer's "keep your hand on the car" competition. He remained in contact with that car, in at times freezing conditions, for 78 hours and nine minutes - outlasting 25 other hopefuls. That's more than three days. He had failed at a previous attempt to win a car in this fashion so was determined to do it this time. In terms of the determination side of things I relate to him. He made his mind up and so have I.
I also read about someone who had given up booze and how there was a honeymoon period at the beginning. I'm probably in this stage, where everything is new and I'm feeling great about my decision. But as reality and boredom sets in will going without become a chore and a burden? She said hard times set in, but two years down the track she's gotten through that and is positive she will never drink again.
For me, drinking alcohol was just something that was a part of my life, the perfect celebratory reward for all the little triumphs and there to soothe (or distract me from) the stresses and disappointments. In the next 12 months I guess I'll find out how important alcohol really is to me - how much it contributes to who I am as a person. At the moment I'm feeling like needing alcohol to function in this world is just one big myth. But who knows? I don't have all the answers, and may never have them.
As much as drinking was a part of me before, becoming the guy who doesn't drink will become perhaps more a part of my new identity, because I'm aware I'm swimming against the current in this. The only thing keeping me going is I've probably never been more at peace than I feel at the moment. I have an inner calm. But there are voices internal and real that are still telling me what I'm doing is not going to be an easy thing, asking me if I'm really sure I want to do this.
For all of you who have caught the sober train but are further down the line than me I have some questions:
Do you ever get used to not drinking?
At some point is drinking alcohol something you no longer think about about much at all?
Will I ever be at total peace with this?
Will I always be a person that drinks but is constantly thinking about quitting or a person who doesn't drink but wants to?
Is there any middle ground?
I remember one time I gave up Facebook for a while but the pull of social media, and of missing out, and of feeling like I couldn't live without it, drew me back. Is alcohol going to be like that?
I reached out to a mate the other day who I had noticed had posted something on Facebook about being five years' sober to tell him I was at day 35 and to ask him how the sober life was going for him. He told me how much better life is without booze, and encouraged me to keep going. I suspect reaching out to people like that will be an important part of this journey.
Today's musical offering is from:
The greatest band ever!