That is 500 bottles of wine, give or take a few. That is $5000.00, give or take $10.00 or $20.00 bucks. That is something I never though I would see or be able to do.
I never imagined on 11/30/2013 when I decided to quit drinking that I would still be sober 500 days later. I had had enough. I was tired of feeling crappy, hating mornings, hating my relationships, hating the world, hating myself. I was sick of sitting on the couch night after night, deep into a bottle of wine, wondering what “normal” people do. I was tired of looking at people doing wonderful things,being successful, and questioning whether they drank a bottle of wine every night too. I was sick of myself. I was sick and disgusted at what I had become.
I have no idea what clicked in my head on that day in November, or why I have been successful this time around. I often spend time trying to put my finger on the catalyst. Why this time, what was different? I still do not know. I imagine the Universe had a different plan for me, and decided that it was time for it to begin.
The past 16 months have had a lot of challenges. Life is challenging, but it seems as though mine got more so once I got sober. Maybe I was just more aware of it because I was sober. In the past I would have used any challenges life threw at me as an excuse to drink excessively, but I didn’t, I stayed sober. It wasn’t easy, it still isn’t at times, yet here I am, still sober after 500 days.
That being said, and hopefully not to be too boring, here is another list of the things I have learned thus far:
- The first three months of sobriety suck. They really, really, really, suck, suck suck. At least that is my personal experience.
- The above is what helps keep me sober. I do not want to have to EVER feel that way again.
- I have to BELIEVE. Believe that it gets better, because it does. Believe that AA works if you work it, because it does. Believe that life is better sober, because even when it isn’t, it really IS. I continue to listen and believe, because so far everything I have been told has been the truth.
- I don’t have to drink when bad things happen. I may WANT to drink, I may think I NEED a drink, but I really don’t. Drinking never made anything bad better, it actually made the bad things worse. It is just easier to see that now with a clear head and heart.
- If you go to AA, you really should read the Big Book. I read most of it in early sobriety, not all of it. I thought is was outdated and couldn’t help me. It may have been too soon in my sobriety to have seen it, but the book has a lot of important information in it. It is all how you interpret it.
- Sober people are some of the nicest, most giving people out there. That said, be careful who you choose to confide in,and get close to, not everyone is pure of heart, and it hurts real bad when you find that out. Especially after sharing intimate details of your life.
- What you hear hear, does not always stay here. That sucks, it is shocking when you find out you are being talked about outside the room. Unfortunately this happened to me, and I still can’t get my head around it.
- Life is a marathon not a race, and so is sobriety. Cliche, I know. I am a runner, so I am always about racing to the finish line, getting it done, being first. I can’t do that with this process. Things have unfolded over time, on its own. It doesn’t matter how much I want it, it comes to me when I am ready for it to be revealed.
- I often wonder if people who aren’t addicts work on themselves as much as addicts do. Or do they already know all of this stuff? Do they have this life thing figured out?
- I am much more sensitive to people being assholes than I was before. Probably because I was an asshole too. I am far from perfect, but at least I am trying. When I find that I am being and asshole, I apologize immediately. Something I have learned in sobriety.
- Sobriety is like a see-saw. It has its highs and lows. Anything else is unrealistic. I was unrealistic frequently. I thought, I am now sober, bring on all the great things. It doesn’t work that way. It is still life.
- I started out being a non believer. No higher power, no spiritual guidance, nothing, just me, powering through it all, all alone. That has changed. No one is more amazed by this than me. I still am not comfortable with some of the verbiage,especially the word God, but I sincerely believe that the wind that is in my sails is not by chance.
- Having an attitude of gratitude is a much better way to live. Instead of negative thinking, I work hard at finding the good in any situation. (Although I am still stymied by the fact that my mother is dead, I have found nothing good there.)
- I freaked out my home group when I told them I wanted to drink. I didn’t really WANT to drink, I wanted to not feel the way I was feeling, and the go to has always been to drink. It was nice to know how much they care about me, and how much support they really give me.
- I don’t know if I put my sobriety FIRST every day, I am not sure what that really means. I do have a sobriety counter on my phone that greets me each morning with how many days I have been sober. That has worked for me so far.
- I am still uncomfortable with sober firsts. I guess that will continue until there are no more firsts to be had.
- I no longer need pats on the back or accolades about how well I am doing. The only person I am doing this for is me.
500 days sober. All strung together in one row.
And on I go.