894 days ago, on June 16, 2016, I woke up and decided that I was not going to drink alcohol anymore. Nearly 23 years before I had gotten drunk for the first time a few days after I graduated from high school. Over the course of those years I did lots of regrettable things under the influence of booze, nothing that led to criminal charges or deep remorse, but enough to increasingly wonder why I was drinking.
I never found a middle ground with booze. I would drink to get drunk, nearly every time. I loved how my world would narrow, how funny everything was, how funny I was. I would get loud, smile a lot, talk a lot. Yet, I would usually say something to somebody that was inappropriate and didn’t reflect well on me.
In the spring of 2016, everything was ripe for me to quit drinking. I was in the middle of a personal renaissance, had started to practice meditation and mindfulness and was visiting with a shrink. In my head I made a mental pro/cons list of using booze. The cons outnumbered and outweighed the pros. Booze took away, on average, a weekend a month from me. Nursing a hangover I would be a useless partner and lazy father. Booze kept me up too late and wrecked my sleep patterns. Booze was expensive and it in a state with little public transportation and brutal winters put me in the ethically ambiguous border of drunk driving far too many times.
I read once that booze was a great servant and a terrible master. That is certainly true. If you have the stops that allow you to use responsibly then who am I to judge? I had no stops and it was an issue so I stopped. I’m shocked by how easy it has been for me. When somebody asks if I want a drink my stock answers is, “I’m good”. Nobody cares that I don’t drink, nobody. I’ve been at concerts where everyone around me is drinking and drugging, no worries, no pressure. Maybe it’s time to ask yourself what if alcohol is still your servant. Maybe not. Either way, know that it can be done.