It took me a long time to get to this point. It probably shouldn’t have, as I had warning signs all along the road I was driving down, but the journey felt like too much fun to quit.
I’m lucky enough to have never completely wrecked anything in my life as a result from my addictions. Never had a DUI, never got so gone that I was abusive or violent, never got kicked out of school or lost a job. All in all, life was pretty good. And I didn’t think it could get any better.
However, I wasn’t pushing myself for very much, either. Drunken weekends with friends led to drunken weeknights and not a whole lot of productivity in my life in my wasted years.
It’s a Long Story…
This part of this site will be where I reflect on my story. I actually kept a livejournal for the past 13 years, which is a keepsake for me to look back at my life from freshman year in college until now. I had never had a drink until college, either, so it’s a pretty nifty tool to look back on and see how its influence gained more and more control of my life and mentality.
I know that seasons are another big part of recovery, and we’re entering one of the hardest times for staying sober. The holidays were always one of the best times to get drunk and high, because it almost seemed expected. Plenty of parties, plenty of time off, and at least for me, a lot of alone time to reflect on my past years and drink to regain and re-experience those feelings.
My sober date is November 9th, 2015. I’m almost to one year of sobriety now, and I never thought I would do it. I didn’t think it was possible. But one week turned into 3 weeks and then 2 months, and going out to friends houses and being offered a drink no longer became an issue. Going out to restaurants, I wouldn’t even look at the beer menu anymore. I went to Las Vegas, I went on a beach vacation, I even went on a week-long cruise, and still never had a drink.
Beginning of the End…
Of course, I didn’t do this alone. I didn’t even start it alone. My wife gave me the push I needed, without ever pushing. I had been hiding my drinking, or at least disguising it as much as I could, by only drinking when she wasn’t around. I remember one of the last weekends before I got sober I went to a football game with some friends. I never really cared about football before I started drinking, and now that I’m sober I still kind of don’t aside from my Fantasy team. But it was always the best occasion to get wasted. And I always did. Of course, I wasn’t alone in this. I had some good friends that had this as their weekly tradition as well, which made it seem even more normal.
I came back drunk from that and fell asleep in the middle of the day. I worked all week, and we only really have 2 days in which to relax and enjoy each other’s company, and I spent the entire one wasted.
One last time…
Just a weekend or two later was my final drinking day. I went to feed our Homestead fish farm since my brother was out of town. There was a bottle of vodka still there, and there didn’t seem like very much left. It had become a bit of a habit to have a drink or two while I was down there. I figured if I had to spend my time off on a Sunday doing something, I may as well be a little liquored up for it to make it feel more fun.
A few swigs came and went but it seemed like the bottle still had just a liiiitttle bit left, so I kept taking shots of it. I was listening to my business podcasts, and still remember the specific episode. I eventually finished off the bottle, finished feeding the fish, threw it away, and made my way home.
I had become pretty good at drunk driving over the years. And luckily enough, that day was no different. I made it home fine, but was very visibly drunk this time. And I knew it. I tried to compensate by putting on the TV and drinking a bunch of Gatorade to drown the scent and to re-hydrate and maybe recollect my mind for the rest of the evening, but it wasn’t happening.
My wife asked me a few times if I was okay, and I refused to acknowledge that I was drunk. I couldn’t admit it at the time even though I’m sure it was plain as day.
The next morning we got up and had a long talk and I cried and cried and talked about how I was ashamed of myself and that I knew I needed to change. And that I had a problem with it.
So that’s the morning I quit.
I found the help I could in podcasts, and listening to those shows and the guests made me realize I wasn’t alone in this.
I never had any other friends go sober. But I knew if I was going to do it, I needed something to distract me from its temptations. I needed to hear that things don’t get better on their own if you continue down that path.
It’s taken me about a year to get to the point I’m at now, where I finally feel comfortable with my decision. I’m lucky enough to have my wife by my side, as that’s taken away the need to seek out anyone else and get into the same situations that I would always find myself in before.
It’s not the first time I tried going sober. I tried for the month of October 2013, because I realized I needed a break and needed to try to find something new, but it didn’t work that time. I lasted about 2 weeks before going to a friend’s house to watch a basketball game. Two friends drinking beers was all it took for me to pick up one of my own. And they cheered me on for it, and said good try on the sober October thing. Welcome back to the club.
But this time is different. I’ve had enough clean time now to see what I can accomplish without the influence.
And I’ve heard enough stories where I see that I’m not alone in this ambition. Sobriety is like a secret weapon in the world of business. The drive and passion that we used to pour into drinking can go so far when siphoned into our internal gas tanks.
That’s why I built this community. Together we can do great things, build awesome businesses, and save some lives from drugs and alcohol.