Finding sobriety

I quit drinking a few months ago. In fact, August 27, 2019, was the last day I had a drink.

I’d tried to quit drinking for years. It’s not that my drinking was disrupting my life. It wasn’t. But the potential was there.

Sometimes I’d say or do stupid things when I was drunk, but that’s normal (right?), and all part of being a drinker, who occasionally drinks to excess.

I’d drive drunk. Not often, but there were nights when I drove home with one eye closed, wondering why I wasn’t being pulled over by the cops.

I abhor the fact that I engaged in drunk driving. Not from the social responsibility standpoint, but from a more selfish understanding that a DUI had the potential to severely impact my life to the point of crippling it, and I always felt stupid for putting myself in that position. But I did it anyway.

Neither the possibility of a DUI, nor doing stupid shit in public were what I disliked most about my drinking. Nope.

What I hated most was the fact that it was a habit.

I rarely went a day without drinking.

Oh, sure, I could have a completely sober month, no drinking at all, if challenged to do so, but as soon as that was over, I’d be right back at it.

Most of my drinking was done alone at night. I’d often pour myself some bourbon or rye while sitting in the living room in front of the tv with my wife. She’d go to bed early, and I’d continue drinking.

I often wondered why I did this? There was no purpose to it, at least not that I could tell. But I did it, because why not? It wasn’t hurting me. Not much, anyway. And I never had to miss work or any other activities because I was hungover or anything like that. I was fine.

But my mind nagged at me somewhat often about the habitual nature of my drinking, the lack of a reason for it, so I tried to quit drinking, or at least limit it, on several occasions. Those attempts were successful at first, but they ultimately failed, and I fell back into my old habits.

I had difficulty with peer pressure, too. Not that I’d give in, but that I felt like I was pushing people away, and I didn’t like that.

I remember one time I was in a social situation with my wife and another couple. The other guy broke out a bottle of alcohol that was special for some reason, and I was encouraged to drink, but I refused. I was mocked for that, because I guess I came off as a bit of an asshole — not unusual for me.

Another time I was at a family gathering at a restaurant, and my brother bought a bottle of wine that he loved. It was very expensive, but again I refused to drink it. He didn’t seem to understand.

Recently, after I quit drinking this current time, I was at an annual reunion. It involves a lot of drinking, and I, in fact, am a huge instigator of the drinking, because I make my World’s Best Limoncello and serve it from a communion tray during activities.

I was only tempted to drink once that entire weekend, and it was because I had not been able to taste this batch of limoncello. I was curious how it came out. One of the shotglasses was a little overfilled, and I almost… But I didn’t.

I thought it would be difficult to survive that weekend without drinking, but it wasn’t. Something about quitting this time seems permanent.

How’d that happen? I read a book. Well, I listened to a book. It was recommended by my good friend and partner, Tara.

The book is THIS NAKED MIND by Annie Grace.

As I implied, I listened to the Audible version.

The author makes the assertion that by the end of the book I would no longer need alcohol. I scoffed.

And at the end of the book, I no longer needed alcohol. I don’t want it. I have bottles of my favorite whiskeys in my cabinet that I haven’t touched since I quit. And I won’t.

It’s weird, but I think I’ve found sobriety.

My life has changed a whole helluva lot since that last day of drinking in August. I wonder whether my new-found sobriety helped me make and accept those changes. Hmm…