I don’t write or even talk much about my struggle with alcoholism. I’ve written about short lived victories in the past that made it sound like I overcame when really it was an ongoing battle for the longest time. I didn’t want to sound like a broken record though at it’s heart, that’s a true picture of addiction. Being trapped like that, quite often there aren’t a lot of words that can express the darkness and the solitary way of living that it really is. And now I’ve found an exit. I’m out. And it feels amazing.
Today I celebrate one month of sobriety. I couldn’t find my way here with all the blueprints and tools in the world so I did it while going through the intense pain of my recent surgery. I always foresaw myself making it out. Reaching that one week, then the second. To reach the end of the third week was what I wanted badly as it had been ingrained in my head that it takes three weeks to break a habit. Then making it to a full month? A pipe dream but I knew I could do it.
Back up three, even two months ago and my outlook was super bleak. I consider myself a chill, level headed kinda guy who’s typically up more than he is down. From last winter through ’til a few weeks ago I was in and out of the only depression I’ve ever known. This was the period of time where I was actually putting in the greatest effort into quitting the sauce but failing over and over and over.
What I came face to face with was that it’s one thing to know you should walk away and a whole other thing to attempt to do so. I coasted for years being annoyed with what I was doing to myself but I just let it happen. I couldn’t stand myself but I hated myself even more when I began putting forth an effort, as weak as it may have been. Moments of wanting to stop at the liquor store on my way home from wherever then saying nope and going home.. only to change my mind an hour later. But for that hour, I was strong.
My writing was dark. My day to day interactions were labored. I put on a phony normal face for my kids and coworkers but inside I was the second cousin removed of death itself. And so in death I found life. In the throbbing agony of sitting in my hospital bed and staring out the window I sweated out my addiction. I decended into hell in order to ascend to where I am today. Everything was temporarily stripped away including life long regular bodily functions. Through the suffering I found victory and newness of life.
At its core quitting something like alcohol is quite simple. How do you not drink? Don’t go buy any. But going deeper than the obvious, the art of breaking free can be a minute to minute process. I felt so unable to walk away for so long. The chains were so very heavy and the blinders I wore deceived me far too long. The damage I did to my mind and my internal organs is immeasurable. No matter how wrong it felt I always embraced it and continued my twisted love affair with the bottle.
What an evil thing alcohol really is. It should be illegal. It shouldn’t exist. It ensnares too many people. There’s a reason it tastes disgusting: it is poison and our bodies reject it. What an absolute joy it is to be free of it.
The clarity, honesty in sobriety and the money saved is enormous. One month free today. Going on the duration of my life.