While in the early weeks I was pondering whether I would give up alcohol for good at the conclusion of my sober year, lately I've hardly thought about alcohol or drinking at all. Today, for the first time, I said out loud what I had been thinking for some time now: "I think I've decided I'm never going to drink again." I blurted this out to a sober mate of mine. However, I'm such a flip-flopper I could have been a politician in a former life, so don't be surprised if I change my mind on this several times before the year is out! But I'm becoming more and more certain that this is the path I'll tread for the rest of my life.
I'll try to explain why. So many good things have happened to me since I quit alcohol. I'm harnessing my new-found energy and channelling it into new and exciting writing projects. I'm calmer, less frustrated with the minor inconveniences you encounter in life, more engaged with others, happier. I've actually always seen myself as an optimistic, happy-go-lucky, laid-back, glass is half full guy (despite the opinions of others that I'm more of an intense, uptight, serious, depressive type, but there you go). My life is great. I know I'm a very lucky guy to have had the love of an astoundingly amazing woman for the last 20 years and, more recently, from two beautiful daughters. But what I've found is more inner peace and a deeper sense of genuine happiness, within myself.
I think there's a certain increase in self esteem that comes with this journey. I like myself more now (not in an arrogant way, but more in the way I'm coming to accept my faults as part of my humanity rather than any particular failing).
I've gained strength in choosing not to drink, and being comfortable in my sober skin, when most people I know do drink, and will drink. I can totally understand where drinkers are coming from when they express disbelief that we sober people are choosing life without alcohol. They only see it from the sacrifice point of view, and why would they see it from any other? So if I experience any (self-perceived) pressure or judgement from anyone about my non-drinking I try to see where it is coming from and let it slide right off.
To all my sober cousins out there, if we're strong enough to swim against the current in a river this swift then what can't we do?