Today is day 180. I'm no mathematics genius, but I'm aware I'm not quite at halfway in my year without booze. But I like round numbers, and 180 has always marked the six-month point in this journey for me.
The thing is, the further along I go I'm less sure about the duration of what I'm doing or even what the destination is. When I tick over to a year sober, I'll most likely regard that as merely the first stop along the way.
The truth is, I keep an eye on my sober days tally on Living Sober but this sober goal has long ceased to be an exercise in marking time. It's not a grind. At the moment I'm attending the many Christmas season shin-digs. I've just returned from a family reunion. I no longer see attending social gatherings as an exercise in will power or regard them as something to get through.
I looked forward to my family reunion. The booze flowed - and I laughed when I realised my hotel room overlooked the local liquor-store's car park - but that didn't affect what a fantastic and precious time it was for all of us. It was more about spending time with loved ones than alcohol.
I'm getting good at socialising without alcohol in my glass, and in my body. I'm more in control and more confident without it. I can remember everything and I can drive myself home. I don't get hassled by the insecure drinkers who think my non-drinking is about them, maybe because I'm truly owning my sobriety. Mostly people are supportive, even if what I'm doing will never be for them. I don't feel the need to mention it or to hide it. If asked about why I gave up, I'm happy to explain it, and also the benefits I'm enjoying. If I'm to be the poster boy for sober living then so be it.
I'm writing about it less - and this blog is suffering somewhat as a result - because there's less angst and internal turmoil. When people ask if I'll ever drink again I tell them: "I'm giving it a year, but probably not." In my head I'm saying: "Why the hell would I ever go back to it, when I've gained so much?"
Alcohol holds not power over me.
Alcohol no longer appeals to me.
Alcohol is no longer the reward for a hard day's work.
Alcohol is no longer the salve for my stress and anxiety.
Alcohol is no longer my go to in times of pain or sadness.
Alcohol is not a conduit for my celebrations.
Alcohol no longer inhabits my thoughts or desires.
My life is FAR BETTER without it, and yours will be too.
(The liquor store view from my hotel room - classy!!!)