Six Years “Sober”

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

35 thoughts on “Six Years “Sober”

  1. Congratulations Jeff. It is an adjustment but one that eventually gives us a much better life, I believe anyway. I’m coming up on six years in May and if someone handed me an alcoholic drink I would tip it out happily. My life is wonderful without alcohol, I wished I had gotten rid of it much earlier but am eternally grateful that I have now.

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  2. Congrats! I married an alcoholic and spent over 20 years with various periods of sobriety… 8 years was the longest, but eventually it was destroying all of us. It’s not easy on anyone living with an addict, including the addict.

    Happy New Year to you and your family!

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    • Thanks Angie. Shortly after I met Susan, she implied that if I didn’t reign in my super-hardcore drinking, we weren’t going to last. It was a slow transition, but ultimately I settled into a steady few drinks a day. Alcoholic maintenance. My methadone.

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  3. congrats, Jeff! and HNY! my original sobriety date is 5.19.19; however, when covid hit i let my guard down and reached for a drink(s). once i broke my original streak, i had an off/on relationship with alcohol for the next several months. decided to break-up for good on 10.31.21 (spooky!). so far, so good. my counter says: 2 months, 1 day, 11 hours, and 18 minutes sober … but who’s counting? live long and prosper! and always, always remember to run towards JOY!

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    • The start of the pandemic was tough. All that time sitting around the house and unbridled stress. My wife doesn’t really drink so we never have alcohol in the house. Made things much easier. Good luck on your continued A.F. streak.

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  4. My sobriety date is 4.21.20 coming up on two years. At 53 with a wonderful husband 4 kids and 2 dogs I wish I never missed a minute of clear headed time with all of them. But I’m always late to the party, and now permanently- I hope. I love your stories. Happy New Year!

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    • Hey Biz(?) – Congrats on your two-ish years sober. It’s awesome how you’ve embraced it already. I found it to be a harrowing experience that shook up all aspects of my life. It took me years to be thankful of quitting. Also thank you for commenting. If you’ve been reading for a while, you know I spend a lot of time hand-wringing wondering if anyone actually reads what I write. I love it when people check in once in a while. I hope your 2022 is wonderful and your sobriety continues to be so rewarding.

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  5. I think it is important to acknowledge progress–even if it is by saying you managed not to do something. Especially something as hard as not drinking can be. I wasn’t a problem drinker, as such, but I liked a glass after getting the kid in bed or down for the day. I always worried what if I had to take him to the emergency room or drive somewhere else for some reason. But, being told that alcohol contributes to cancers like the one I had, I figured it only made sense to stop a habit that was destructive for more than one reason. I can’t say I was happy to quit. I still miss the occasional ‘reward’ for getting through the tougher days, but being able to say “I did stop” does mean I managed to do something I never thought I could. And that is as good a reason to celebrate as any I know.

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    • I felt like a large portion of my identity was linked to drinking beer and wine. I was truly lost without it. It is a huge achievement, but I don’t talk about it much IRL because I don’t want to go into the ‘why’ I don’t drink. I never thought twice about driving after having a drink with dinner, but after I quit, I remember driving my kids to walmart one night and remembering a feeling of freedom knowing that my B.A.C. was 0.0%

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  6. You are extremely brave and I admire you. Keep on being strong. I noticed that whenever giving up a behaviour or something negative, I almost always need to replace it with a new behaviour or something positive that feels like a fair enough exchange. We are all creatures of habit after all. Stay with your new path❤️

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