2 years sober

December 17, 2020. That’s the last day that I had an alcoholic drink. I started my sober journey on December 18, 2020. It’s been 2 years of sobriety and I couldn’t be happier about it.

I’m catching up on some Reader’s Digest magazines and the November 2022 edition had an article called Buzz Kill and the article outlines the risks of heavy drinking. According to the article, even moderate drinking can cause you harm.

Here are some highlights from that article:

  • Drinking disrupts your digestive system
  • Drinking wrecks the liver
  • Drinking weakens the heart
  • Drinking shrinks the brain
  • Drinking paralyzes the immune system
  • Drinking leaves you impotent
  • Drinking affects your concentration, judgment, mood and memory and leads to dementia.
  • Drinking increases the risk of a variety of cancers including: liver, breast, mouth, throat and colon.

YIKES! Talk about a sobering article. I always knew that drinking in excess was bad for me. But new studies are showing that even just 1 drink a day can be very damaging.

I’m not trying to get preachy or telling everyone else to quit drinking. It’s just interesting that this article came up and I read it days before my 2 year sobriety anniversary.

Alcohol is but one of many vices I have. I love eating potato chips and candy regularly as nighttime snacks. My wife recently brought home cupcakes from a baking class and those didn’t last long! I still love 1x Arnold Palmer beverage and 1x Coke Zero a day. I love chocolate and that’s dangerous around Christmas!!

Overall, 2 years later, I still feel great. No hangovers. No morning brain fuzziness. No morning bad headaches from drinking the night before. No acid reflux pain. No severe dehydration. No diarrhea. A night out is way cheaper. No drunken mistakes; only lucid mistakes.

My mind and body are strong. I feel much more focused and have the ability to stay present with more ease. I feel healthier and therefore I treat myself with more respect and consideration.

And apparently, I’ve saved a ton of money based on monthly spend and 24 months clean and sober.

Challenges

There are several things that remain a challenge:

  • I cannot use alcohol to numb any physical or emotional pain. Alcohol is a coping mechanism, and without it, you need to find other ways to cope. This is one of the hardest things to deal with when you first quit drinking.
  • Parties can be tough. Other people are drinking and/or drunk. You are not. Conversations with drunk people can be challenging when you are completely sober. Things that used to be fun with alcohol can be less fun now. (i.e. Beer gardens, alcohol tasting events) Do you bring alcohol to a party if you aren’t drinking it? It’s customary to bring a bottle of wine or whiskey to parties. Or do I bring my own alcohol free drinks instead?
  • Visiting with friends and family that drink can be awkward. I feel awkward that my sobriety may make them feel awkward. People tend to drink less around me, or at least that’s my perception. This shouldn’t really be a problem. But I wonder about it all of the time.
  • So far, after 2 years, I still have enough alcohol in the house for my guests. What do I do when I start running out? I haven’t had to think about it before. I still have plenty of hard liquor and beer in my fridge for a large party. But, I’m running out.
  • Time alone is either very relaxing or torture. Alcohol can numb your thoughts. When you are sober and alone, your thoughts are active. Meditation practice helps with this. But in the first year, quieting my mind was difficult. I find it easier these days, but it’s still a challenge to fight my internal voice.
  • I still feel some guilt when I go out, especially to a free event where drinking is considered the cost of entry. As an example, my wife and I go to see a band for “band-karaoke”. It’s free but I’m sure the bar is counting on patrons to spend money to pay for the band. At the end of the night, my bar tab is pretty small.
  • I’ve lost enough weight (…and keeping it off) that a lot of my clothes don’t fit me right. I’m slowly buying new clothing. But a lot of my current clothes are baggy and loose fitting. Do I trust that this is my new body type and size? Do I go out and buy a schwack of new clothing? For now, I’m buying some new pieces, a little at a time.
  • Alcohol drink lists include water, pop and juice at even the most fanciest of restaurants. Most restaurants have a drink menu larger than their food menu. As a drinker, this seems pretty normal. As a sober person, this is ridiculous! Restaurants really need to up their mocktail game and be more inclusive of all of their clientele. I know alcohol is a big money maker. But most mocktails use pretty inexpensive materials like: limes, lemons, fresh herbs, sparkling water and juices. Seems to me, for $1 of materials you can charge $6 for a mocktail and make $5 a drink. You’re adding value to me, and I’m putting money in your pocket instead of drinking water or pop refills all night.
  • It’s tough to find balance. Doing something in moderation is balanced. Doing something a little or a lot might not be balanced. Not drinking alcohol at all is an extreme. And I replaced drinking with working out a lot, another extreme. I’m having difficulty finding balance in life. I’m on a personal growth and wellness journey and it can be hard to find balance. It can be hard to take a break from meditation or working out when I need a break. It can be hard to admit that I need a break. Part of me is scared of doing that. As an alcoholic, you cannot let your guard down. Every day is a day that I must decide to stay sober. Thus, every day is a day that I must decide to work out or I’ll stop working out. I know it’s not true, but part of me thinks that I have to keep this momentum going and any type of stall could derail me. My goal in 2023 is to find balance and that’s starting in December 2022. I’ve slept in more this month, I’ve missed my daily activity and workout Apple goals and I’m ok.

Wrap-up

2 years! Wow! I’m so proud of myself. When I started this journey on December 18, 2020, I had no idea it was going to be permanent. There is no doubt in my mind that this is the best thing for me.

I feel! I feel so great! I feel emotions! I feel fear! I feel fit and healthy! I feel I made the best decision of my life! I feel so alive!

If you are having trouble with alcohol or drugs it’s not too late to make a change. Make that decision today. Make that decision for yourself. It’ll be the best decision you’ve ever made!

4 Responses

  1. This is awesome Dennis! Glad the path to continued healthy lifestyle is working well for you. Keep it up! Very happy for you!

  2. Wonderful blog Dennis! 

    I should have congratulated you when you were today. 

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    div>We are very proud of you for your decisi

  3. Thank youbfor sharing your very personal thoughts, goals and successes. You share in a very caring and non preaching way.

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