Day 791: My Sober Wife

Great news, everyone! It’s been a month now and she now feels okay and solid with me sharing it; my wife has decided to take the not-drinking plunge as well.

There are varied reasons, and it’s a bigger step for her than it is for me, socially, as she had (and has) a lot of connections that intersect between women and beer. But there were some medical factors in play, and ultimately it was the decision she made — not me, I stress.

Am I overthinking it? Of course! Overthinking ‘R’ Us over here. I feel great that she’s made the choice, but still feel like my example was a factor and not 100% a positive one. I tried my best to not be all ex-smoker about it, but I worry that it might have been inadvertent.

I am, however, thrilled that she’s on this journey with me, and I’m seeing her seeing the things that started leaping out at me in the first six months. Particularly how pervasive booze is. You can’t turn on a TV show or a movie without people going for drinks. You can’t read a magazine without seeing advertising. It truly is everywhere.

She’s in the toughest months right now, so support is super important. I’m happy she’s choosing this, and happy to be there for her.

Day 782: Confirmation Boozeless

I’m sure it’s just confirmation bias, but the world seems a lot more sober these days. Stories like this one keep popping up in front of me — I’m not looking, they’re just appearing:

https://www.bonappetit.com/story/david-mcmillan-sober

It’s partly “radar” — when I lived in Francophone Quebec, I could hear somebody speaking unaccented English from across a crowded Costco, and now seem to have those ears on all the time for French.

Partly interest, obviously. I notice these things, and don’t notice others, in the same way that I can tell you every store that sells board games in this city but would swear on a stack of bibles there is nowhere to buy shoes.

But it feels like more recently. I felt it about veganism a few years ago, and I’m feeling it about sobriety now. Something’s up. I could be wrong — I often am — but my gut says something’s up.

Day 760: Boozeless

I don’t talk about sobriety much here any more, but as I’m making pretty good strides with the whole plan right now, I want to give credit where it’s due: I don’t think any of this would be happening if I were drinking.

And that’s a “me” thing, not a universal thing — I know lots of people who do wonderfully and drink in moderation; and some that have gone through huge transformative experiences where drinking’s been part of their lives and it’s been fine. For them.

Not for me.

The big thing about quitting drinking wasn’t the quitting drinking part, it was the giving permission to myself to quit. I didn’t have a flashing neon “DRINKING PROBLEM” sign blinking at me; I wasn’t doing anything that radical with drinking.

But it was the one thing that a lot of other things seemed to swirl around. Food’s the other one, of course, but that seems to be at least modestly under control. And I can’t control the food when I’m drinking, which I know from long decades of experience.

So yeah. That’s just where my head’s at today; I’m rounding out a pretty great January of positive changes with food and exercise — sleep coming soon, I hope, and keeping alcohol out of it has been the crux. It took two years of not drinking for the other things to start kicking in, but here we are, and I’m happy to be here.

Day 675: Lunch With Friends

I was thinking I didn’t have much to write about today, but then remembered I’m having lunch today at a pub with friends; drinkin’ friends. And it’s nice to have the feeling that this is no big deal.

A year ago this would have been more of a nervewracking thing. But now, it’s just no big deal. I’m’a go and hang out with friends and they’ll drink and I won’t. That’s just how things go now.

It’s nice.

Day 664: Perfect Drinking

All right, I’ll cop to this being a pretty easy one; I’ve been up and have a big day ahead of me, so I kind of want to knock out an entry and get some sleep!

Aside from a brief experiment a while back in which I quickly learned that no, I can’t “wait out” my dimmer switch problems and start drinking again, I’ve been rocking sobriety for, well, 664 days. It hasn’t always been easy but it’s been sustainable, and the key there always comes back to the question “am I happier when I’m drinking, or when I’m not drinking?”

The answer is “neither.” It’s about the same. I can’t say I’m happier, on balance, as a non-drinker than a drinker. It’s an even hand.

With that in mind, if I’m equally happy either way, why not go with the cheaper, healthier option? I’m just as happy, I’m saving money, and am making better choices for my wellbeing and longevity.

So yeah. Perfect Me is sober. That’s… pretty much it, I guess.

Day 507: Ready to Rock!

Big road trip today! I’m heading to Toronto, then to upstate New York, to watch heavy metal with old friends. Here’s the kicker: it’s a gift sobriety gave me!

Long story short: my friend Pete, who I haven’t seen in a few years, and had a prolonged conversation with since I don’t know when, was bemoaning the fact that he wanted to see a Mastodon show, but also wanted to drink at the Mastodon show. And it was a must-drive situation.

“I don’t drink,” I say.

So Pete’s buying the tickets, we’re meeting up at his place, and driving down to Buffalo to rock out with our mutual friend Dan. Pete and Dan are going to get drunk. I’m going to drink caffeine.

This’ll also be an experiment from another angle: while I have the technology to podcast remotely, I don’t think I’ll be awake early enough to do it tomorrow. So I’m going to schedule my first Jerkpod. Tomorrow’s episode is being recorded right after this one, and I’ll have the experience of listening to it tomorrow morning just like anybody. Well, I’ll know what it’s going to be about. But you know what I mean.

 

Day 479: Still Sober!

It’s been a rocky month on a lot of fronts, with mood and diet all over the place. Looking back to the origins of this blog and podcast, though — I’m not drinking! So as a point of origin, I’m still going strong on the one essential front.

So that’s something.

As stated, it’s been a bit of a rough month. The funny thing is, it’s hard to put a finger on why other than “…because?”. I’m chalking it up to going hard in February/March, the cyclical nature of Me, and a truly rotten spate of late winter weather.

But I’m sober.

That’s something. And not something small. It’s been hella hard sometimes — it seems to be getting easier now, but don’t get overconfident — and that has gone from “a thing I am trying” to a pretty core component of my self-identity.

I’d flatter myself to think that it’s also made me (or doing this has made me) more self-aware and self-reflective. I’d love to say “calmer,” but I think I’m just as irritable as I’ve ever been, only differently irritable sometimes.

So yeah. Rough month. I feel good about May. And I’m sober! That’s worth celebrating… with a sandwich or something.

 

Day 340: Sobriety Challenge Accepted

It has been a kind of emotional 24 hours on the home front, and to be candid, I did spend some significant time yesterday thinking about booze. But I didn’t drink.

Also a rough night for sleep, and I think today’s exercise is going to be a very long, head-clearing walk. But I’m proud of myself for not drinking yesterday. The pull was probably the strongest it’s been since I quit. So a few things on that:

  • While I’ve never been a blackout drunk, killed-the-dog PROBLEM drinker, it’s pretty amazing the hold booze still has on me. It’s been almost a year, and a super stressful day sent me into, like, hand-twitching cravings.
  • My motivation for not drinking was mainly an internalizing of alcohol as the weakness and an inner story about how I am not going to let this problem take me down.
  • Which is interesting. But alcohol has, at some point, become synonymous with weakness and escape in my brain. Drinking = surrender. And while my willpower still needs a lot of work with food, it’s apparently pretty strong in this particular province.

So there y’go. I didn’t drink yesterday, and I’m not going to drink today. It wasn’t a “one day at a time” narrative, it was a “you’re not going to win, you son of a bitch” narrative. Not that the other doesn’t have value, it just turned out not to be my go-to.

 

 

Day 273: Staying Cool

The old joke: how do you know if somebody’s really into Crossfit?

Don’t worry… they’ll tell you.

I bring it up because I’m getting kind of split lately about being shy regarding sobriety among strangers. But weirdly bold among friends.

And I’ve been doing really well with the sobriety lately, but trying not to turn into a… non-smoker about it? Because that would be SUPER EASY.

You don’t want to do that. Especially with friends and loved ones. And I’m generally not arrogant about this stuff. But — again, it’s hard sometimes not to be. It’s just kind of a casual thought.

“Don’t be an asshole” is pretty much the new baseline of most Internet communication. It’s a straightforward proposition. Be the change, etc.

And I’m not! I’m being good. I promise. But it’s a noticeable change in how… bold?… I’m feeling about sobriety. It’s not something I’m kind of not talking about with friends now. It’s something I kind of feel a bit evangelical about. So it’s an interesting transition.

Day 267: Mourning and sobriety

Gonna be short and sweet for the next few days as I check in from my niece’s bedroom. I now know what Shopkins are.

I’m very glad to be sober right now, because my default in emotional situations isn’t to get blind drunk, but it is to get significantly buzzed, and there’s a lot of practical things I can help with — ranging from niece-watching to computer repair — that I’d prefer to do not hung over.

So it’s going to be a strange few days. Somewhat for me, but especially for my wife as she adjusts to having one and not two parents here. She’s still got her biodad and stepmother in Florida, but this was emotionally pretty much her father who passed.

At any rate: I don’t think exercise will be top of mind for the next while, but I’m going to try to stay up on the water and eat more or less reasonably. And the sobriety is very helpful.