Today is exactly 15 months sober for me - not a sip of alcohol since December 3, 2018. I've become so accustomed to not drinking anymore, that it almost seems like no big deal. But it is. Three years ago today, I could barely get through a night without a glass of wine, picking up a bottle of wine any day of the week to replenish a dwindling supply. While the first year of my sobriety focused on surviving a year without booze, the second year has taken on a new experience all together.
To be honest, I wasn't sure I would continue my alcohol-free lifestyle into the second year. But, after reaching the one year mark, I realized that if I returned to even the "odd" drink, I would likely undo all the hard work that had gotten me this far. The really hard work was done. (And, trust me, it was hard). Why would I throw it all away and risk having to go through that struggle again?
Which brings me to where I am now. Year two, no booze. It's a whole different beast. While the impulse to drink is gone, I still sometimes miss the experience that encompassed my drinking - the socializing with friends, the relaxation, the "I can forget about all my worries for now" pleasure. I also have moments when I'm feeling stressed or upset about relationships or circumstances and crave that drink to numb the discomfort. However, I know with steadfast belief it's not worth giving in. And, it's easy to resist now that I'm so accustomed to not drinking.
Filling in the spaces that were previously taken up by alcohol-fuelled moments has become the focus on year two. How can I make the most of my time and my full-time clarity? With fewer social occasions in my calendar, I am also adjusting to a new schedule that, frankly, means less weekends out, earlier nights and early mornings. I'm not complaining - I actually prefer my early mornings to my old late nights. But it's still pretty new and I'm working on how to make the most of this new routine.
Finally, my last big adjustment is around my social circle. I am ready to find a new tribe of more like-minded people. I still love all my friends dearly, but some have fallen away since I quit drinking. I accept this had to happen, but it has left a small hole in my life that I'd like to fill with new friends who get me. How to do that? Well, I have a plan.
I've decided to make this my year of "doing." I'm doing lots of things that excite me, motivate me, challenge me and even a few things that terrify me.
I've signed up for a marathon. I ran my first marathon 7 years ago, and then got too injured to do a second one. Why not give it a shot now? This is a time-consuming and super challenging endeavour that is opening doors to meeting new people and getting my body in prime health.
I'm working on a second book. My last book, Like Lana, is a teen novel which was published in the summer of 2019. The one I'm working on now is non-fiction.
I'm teaching yoga again. I haven't taught in a few years and I've just completed my second 200-hour Yoga Teacher Training. Sadly, when I last taught yoga, I was often hung over from partying the night before and one of the main reasons I decided to quit was because it interfered too much with my night life. Oy.
I'm spending way more time hanging out at home with my teen sons. I used to bail on them quite frequently, especially on Saturday nights. No more. It feels good to be here, even if we're not watching shows together, my presence matters.
I have a few other ideas playing around in my head for the upcoming year. It's only February, after all. When I look back at my life a year ago today, I was in a very different place, facing different challenges and wondering if I could really last a year without drinking. It feels like quite the accomplishment to be in a building phase of my life today, rather than a deconstructing phase.