An alarm on my phone alerted me to an upcoming event for April 19th. 1000 days. I had to stop and ponder a bit. 1000 days? What on earth was I trying to tell myself? What was this?
1000 days. Oh. RIGHT. 1000 days!
I don’t count my sobriety days, nor do I go to meetings and haven’t in years. A year and a bit, anyway. It took me a couple of seconds to realize that at some point I had calculated when I would be 1000 days sober, and April 19th is the day. I am 1000 days sober today.
I have to say I was quietly pleased that I didn’t realize immediately what the alarm was for. I have long said I didn’t want alcohol to be the main focus of my life, drinking or not drinking. I have achieved this. I truly owe it to what I learned and integrated with Dialectical Behavior Therapy. That has stayed with me and guided my life in a deep and meaningful way and has allowed me to stay sober without meetings and constant reminders. For me, this is what I wanted to achieve. I am in no way saying this is the only way or the right way, but it is the way I wanted my sobriety to look like and I’m really happy about it.
DBT wasn’t the only tool to get me to where I am today. I needed SMART recovery in the early days and going to intense outpatient therapy was helpful to me in really facing where I had landed myself and where I didn’t want to be. One of the things I’d discovered was that I didn’t want to be reminded at all times that alcohol was the boogy man. I needed that in the very beginning, but I absolutely didn’t want that to be my life.
So far, there has been just one instance of me thinking about alcohol that hasn’t been intrinsicly linked to all the chaos and disaster that followed with it for me, and that was near the beginning of the covid-19 pandemic. I thought about drinking. I didn’t think about taking a drink personally, I just thought about drinking and realized that the fear around it was completely absent. That was an odd feeling and one that had me off balance for a moment wondering if I was actually contemplating trying to drink again, and I quickly realized that I was not. It simply was a thought and it was a thought that no longer produced fear. It also produced no desire. It was gone as quickly as it had come up. I was utterly indifferent.
This pandemic has unglued us as a whole. I have moments where panic and dread grab at me, but I am so grateful they are no longer a constant in my life and I can breathe through it. Radical acceptance of brilliant sanity is such a deep part of who I am now.
I am seeing an increase in the drinking of my friends and colleagues. I am not surprised, and it’s weird to observe. I am grateful I am not self medicating, hiding, and trying to figure out how to get more alcohol during a stay at home order. It was stressful enough when I could come and go from the store without thought and my family had schedules outside of the house. I cannot imagine the hell I would be in now had I not accepted that I wanted and needed something else.
I am walking like a fiend. I figure there are worse things for sure. I am slightly obsessed about it. The nice thing though is I can eat things and enjoy almost anything and I’m still keeping off the weight I lost. I’m in a 2-4 down from a size 16 a year and a half ago. The exercise is definitely helping with stress. I am still meditating every day as well. I am out of work, missing chunks of my family that I cannot get to during this time, and we are unable to get to a family member who is currently dying. There are times it swallows me, but I always find my breath.
Thanks for listening.