320 Days

The face. My face. So long ago. It feels like a lifetime. It’s been almost 320 days. But why not wait until it’s been 365 days. A year’s worth of days. Because I don’t want to. I feel like telling it now. I feel like unmasking it now. It’s my choice. Not anyone else’s. 

I’ve written about it before. Playing around with the idea. Thinking it may last for a while. Certainly not this long. Or maybe yes, this long. 

I keep coming back to this, so it must be important to me. It doesn’t consume my thoughts, but it consumes my passion. The passion of making me more aware of choices. My choices. Other people’s choices. Life choices. Life or death choices. Sounds dramatic, because it was.

But digging deeper, I keep wondering why I chose to stop. Why? What was the thing? What was it? I keep going back to being unhealthy. Feeling like crap. Looking like crap. If anyone thinks we don’t care about how we look, well they are full of shit. Because we do care about how we look. 

Maybe deep down I was also a little afraid. A little afraid of the genetics. My family had a love affair with alcohol. So many alcoholics, not-hi my name is blank-alcoholics, but alcoholics nonetheless. 

As a single digit kid and a two digit kid I watched it all around me. The drinking, the drunking, the behaviors and fights that come along for the ride. The roller coaster ride of the drunk. The roller coaster of emotions. The things that aren’t remembered. The things I wish weren’t remembered. The pain of watching it. The pain of remembering it. It would be okay for weeks or months and then it would start up again. The cycle. I’ll call it the Windsor cycle. I have not written about this part of my life before. This is the Euclid house, but mostly the Prospect House. Those were not the best years. I never wanted friends to stay overnight. That was a rarity. It usually turned out terrible. Behind the bottle was the truth. 

I keep asking myself why this is hard to write. My writing usually flows. This doesn’t. The thoughts are jagged and broken. Pieces of thoughts and memories. My life. 

Watching the destruction. The destruction of health and vibrancy and loss. It’s there. The early death. It’s there. It happened. Is that why I quit? Unpacking it, working on it, working on me. 

And so it goes. I know it’s common. I know a lot of friends grew up the same way. It was a strange kind of normal. Nobody knew any better. I thought everyone lived like that. 

So, back to my decision to quit. Back to my decision to be sober. Isn’t that an interesting word. Sober. It sounds like an alcoholic term. Why can’t a person just be sober? Why can’t it be that I just don’t drink. I mean, I can say that and I do, but I think the word sober gives the alcoholic connotation. It’s just interesting. Maybe that’s just my perception, my thoughts and my observations. 

So, after close to a year of not drinking, I have noticed a few things. My skin looks totally different. My body looks totally different. I feel totally different. I have energy. I feel great. My health markers are amazing. I just feel good. I just feel comfortable. I don’t have to say “I need a glass of wine.” I’m done with that. I’m not always looking for the opportunity for the drink. I’m not always waiting for Friday night, or 5 o’clock, or any excuse to have a drink. It’s nice. It feels good. 

I just feel better.

How long will I go? I don’t know. What I do know is right now, I feel unstoppable. I plan to not drink for a long time. I plan to be “sober” for a long time. I just don’t want to drink and I am solid in that decision. I don’t want it. 

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