Six years sober.
Strong word, sober. It implies not drunk. Drunk wasn’t my problem, not six years ago. Twenty-six years ago, drunk fit well. Six years ago, sometimes buzzed, tipsy. But usually, just relaxed… every night. Relaxed or buzzed every night. Until I quit.
New Year’s Day seems like a good sobriety anniversary. Easy to remember, clean, iconic, maybe a bit romantic. All alcoholics, the sober ones, have an anniversary date. Some count the days. I’ve been sober 2,190 days, plus a few. Plus how many? Not sure. I don’t know my anniversary.
Quitting hurt. I felt frazzled, lost. I knocked around after work, drinking bottles of seltzer as a distraction, a familiar movement, a glass to my lips. I went to bed early, unsure what to do with my nights. Two or three weeks later, I couldn’t remember, was it two weeks or three? It seemed like a lifetime. I know it was Sunday, so January 10 or 17. I only count years, never days.
A few months ago, I realized I’m cured. I no longer want to drink. I don’t miss the buzz; I find other ways to relax. The craving is gone. It took more than five and a half years to feel this way, over two thousand days. Alcoholics reading this will suggest I’ve let down my guard, that I’m more vulnerable now; I’m not giving the addiction enough respect. Concern noted, if the craving returns, I’ll give it attention. For now, I’ll live with a well-earned sense of peace.
Happy New Year.
Photo by Dennis Steinauer