Reflections on the Big 30

Today marks the first 30 day stretch I’ve gone without alcohol since coming of age to legally booze. I’d like to share some of my thoughts and experiences from over the past 30 days.

I’ve had moments of weakness. Grocery stores can be tough because I shop alone. I’ve been to a wedding and it was a challenge, but I persevered with the assistance of tonic and lime. Bars aren’t as bad as I thought they’d be (really strange) because I’m usually there with someone who knows I’m newly sober and I feel that because they’re aware, I’m somehow accountable.

Evenings were tremendously long at first. I never realized how much time there was between the end of work and bed time. So I’ve been doing things around the house. Straightening up my desk. Being more active in yard work (easy to do in the New England autumn). I’ve since resumed reading (I used to read voraciously) every night and I think the mental churnings of the mind help in the overall effort to intellectualize my decision when I’m having vulnerable moments.

I’ve been able to have meaningful conversations. I’m able to engage with people at a deeper level than I thought possible. It’s like some inner fog has dissipated and I can see connections, motivations, and expectations. My self-monitoring skills have graduated. And there’s an emotional component that I’m finding difficult to articulate but is unmistakably present. I think the word I’m looking for is empathy. Or perhaps clarity. But what’s in a name? Either way it seems like I’ve discovered a hidden reservoir inside me that I had forgotten was there.

I don’t dread driving anymore. Largely because I’m never compromised. I’m more patient with my fellow motorists. Even in town.

I’m running every day. Where I work there is a large park that’s part of Boston’s Emerald Necklace. I spend my lunch break running almost three miles. On the weekend, I walk my GSD another two miles around my neighborhood. I feel better than I have since high school.

I see the negative externalities of drinking everywhere I go. A neighbor’s name in the paper for his sixth OUI. His truck parked off his driveway without a plate and tires sagging slightly due to disuse. I hear about marital spats turned violent. Rife domestic abuse, fueled by booze. I read about these things and I’m thankful for my choice.

Sleep is amazing. I slept like death last night for a full eight hours. No pounding head and parched mouth in the morning. No sad face looking back at me in the mirror with regret and something resembling pity. I woke refreshed and ready to tackle a new day.

My 30th new day.

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2 thoughts on “Reflections on the Big 30

  1. Congrats on your 30 days 🙂 It sounds like you have found some really great ways to make it through the tougher days. I have become a voracious reader again – probably spending more on books than I did on booze lol.

    1. Thanks! It’s amazing how much I’m rediscovering my old self; the reader, the writer, the runner, etc. My nightly book sessions help motivate me by giving me something to look forward to that won’t be clouded by booze fog.

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