“When I am working on a problem, I never think about beauty but when I have finished, if the solution is not beautiful, I know it is wrong.”
-R. Buckminster Fuller-
Today marks a milestone, one that I wasn’t really sure I would hit.
The last 50 days have been pretty interesting, to say the least. I’ve had to deny free beer, yeah you heard me, I said NO to a free beer. It’s a way of life now, most of the time I do not think about it. My running has taken its place in my routine and enabled me something different to focus on than the cold crack of a beverage when returning home from work. During these past 50 days, I have visited bars, traveled twice with work, gone to a conference, been golfing and attended multiple minor league baseball games. Why do all of these things matter? Those are the places I would drink, in fact, they were a pivotal part of most of the events. It’s just something I would do while participating in them. Not drinking during these events has taught me a few lessons. If you are thinking of sobriety or are practicing it yourself, make sure while reading through my lessons that you evaluate yourself. I find that some of the things that I did some with a problem could not.
I have talked about a few times that I have quit drinking in the past, calling it ‘Beertirement’. It was either because of some sort of stomach problem or because I was on some health kick. This time, when quitting all together it’s different. I was actually going to stop drinking FOREVER! I knew I would be met with a “yep, heard that before” or “we’ll see”, and I was. As time passed though, people around me took notice or would just ask if I was “still doing that not drinking thing”. When I would answer they would normally reply with something positive, encouraging me to continue on my journey.
In fact, during one of the work trips, I visited multiple bars, following the group of coworkers. We had a great time. No one, at any time tried to pressure me into anything or ‘called me out’ for not drinking. Most embraced it or used it to their advantage and I volunteered to be the DD one night.
What I’m getting at here is that overall people understand and they want you to succeed. Paulo Coelho said it the best in his book The Alchemist, “When you want something, all the universe conspires in helping you to achieve it.”
Habits are in your mind
The first time I went to a baseball game I felt weird. It was odd to walk around the stadium without having a brew in my hand. Or the time that I was on the golf course and was offered a free beer. I would never turn down a beer, let alone a free one! Each one of these situations allowed me to think about my habit and to think about what I normally would do and how I intend to react now. I knew in both cases these situations would come up, so it was nothing to react to them the ‘right’ way.
My habit was purely in my mind. It is not a necessity to drink at any event and millions of people attend them without drinking so I knew I wasn’t on my own there.
Support and encouragement help
This goes along with ‘People Understand’, but having a support net behind you and someone that daily encourages you on your journey helps greatly. My wife is the most amazing person in the world and as I said from Day 0, she’s been there for me. She understands my previous habits and knows me better than myself. She knew what I would be thinking before I did, and would bring up situations that I may incur and how I would normally act in them. Of course, I would always reply with something joking or not seem to take it seriously, it still entered my mind and gave me the ability to think through I was going to act if placed in a situation. Actions are always faster than reactions.
To date, according to my NOMO sobriety clock app, I have saved in just typical weekly consumption, not including the ‘special event’ drinks, $168.65. That’s an average of $3.37 a day! In one year I will have saved through not spending on alcohol well over $1,000! I believe those numbers explain enough and I do not need to say anymore.
50 days isn’t really that long and but it’s a milestone that I have chosen to do a quick look back to see what I have learned throughout that time period. I have found that when you get rid of one habit/addiction there are more that are waiting to take its place so when you have an addictive personality you have to understand how to manage your mind. I have chosen to do that through my almost daily writing, running/fitness, and mindfulness exercises. Fortunately, I have some work to do with mindfulness, specifically meditation. I take these needs now and figure a plan to continue on working towards the me that I want to be.
Thanks again for reading this, every time I hear from someone through comments, Twitter or email I am instantly rewarded. Knowing someone is taking their time to read my journey is a responsibility I am proud to endure and enjoy knowing you all are out there supporting me.