Day 7: A Week!

Seven days without drinking. Tomorrow morning is the start of Week 2. I’m pretty sure that’s the longest I’ve ever gone without a drink–and I’m pretty proud of that. Thanks so much for all of your support.

Looking back I think I can characterize this week as “detox” more than anything else. The thought of drinking or not drinking was always at the forefront of my mind. When I was triggered it was painful. When I wasn’t triggered, I was still thinking about the drink in one way or another. But I made it through, and that’s what counts.

As I start my second week my hope is to work toward building new opportunities for growth and reflection. To be honest, when I stopped drinking I naïvely thought that I would automatically become more balanced, more introspective, and more appreciative of life. Like a switch would flip after the last of the booze left my body, and in some way I would become–hmm–more enlightened. But if this past week has shown me anything it’s that I need to be patient and vigilant. Self-realization will take a lot of time and a lot work.

Susan, a fellow sobernik, recommended that I ought to find a local Meeting this evening. (Check out her great blog: http://sswl3.wordpress.com). She thought that perhaps I needed a bit of real human fellowship, and she was right. I won’t say too much about the Meeting other than the fact that I heard the beautiful and painful (but mostly beautiful) stories of four people, all of whom have been sober for more than 20 years, and one of whom has been sober for 40 years. They’ve all known each other for 20+ years as well, so their stories of sobriety were incredibly intertwined. They all met at AA, and they’re all still connected. It was incredible, really. Their stories were just what I needed to hear tonight. I’m glad I went.

Art: Evening, by Caspar David Friedrich

 

Dear Someone Who Decided To Stop Drinking.

Here’s a wonderful letter by Lisa McColgan to those who’ve decided to stop drinking. It’s perfect.

Lisa McColgan

Congratulations. What you’ve just decided to do for yourself is huge.

It’s also scary. I know this. I have been where you are. It’s a lover who has turned on you, but you have become so used to having it around that its abrupt removal from the picture is nothing short of terrifying. Despite its abusiveness, despite its empty promises and all the problems it has heaped upon you, you miss it with a desperation that borders on pathology.

I won’t lie to you – it’s going to be hard as hell for a little while. This is why you must reach out and talk to somebody who will understand; doesn’t have to be one particular group of somebodies (there are many such groups, and all of them are helpful), but you will fare better for having a genuinely empathetic ear – or several – to bend. It’s also why…

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Letter From Bill W. on Emotional Sobriety.

The Red Sox Saved My Life

 

“Those adolescent urges that so many of us have for top approval, perfect security, and perfect romance — urges quite appropriate to age seventeen — prove to be an impossible way of life when we are at age forty-seven or fifty-seven.

Since AA began, I’ve taken immense wallops in all these areas because of my failure to grow up, emotionally and spiritually. My God, how painful it is to keep demanding the impossible, and how very painful to discover finally, that all along we have had the cart before the horse! Then comes the final agony of seeing how awfully wrong we have been, but still finding ourselves unable to get off the emotional merry-go-round.

How to translate a right mental conviction into a right emotional result, and so into easy, happy, and good living — well, that’s not only the neurotic’s problem, it’s the problem of life itself…

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Day 2. (Take 2).

Grr. I just lost my entire post! I had literally just written the last word of the last sentence of a post I was really proud of when somehow I managed to refresh the page.

I’m not going to lie, I’m completely frustrated at the moment. It really was a great post. And now I’m too tired to recreate it.

Lesson: Don’t type and edit directly in WordPress.
Lesson learned? Hopefully.

So, because I need to go to bed, I’ll just quickly highlight today. And here it goes:

  1. Went to a Meeting this evening. Yay! Heard a great testimony from a woman who, in her life as a drinker, judged others’ inner lives by their outward appearances (e.g., material success = you must not have any inner struggles such as fear and loneliness), but then judged her own life solely on her own feeling of inner chaos. She’s now 3.5 years sober and realizes that just because someone looks successful on the outside doesn’t mean they’re happy; and just because someone doesn’t have a new car doesn’t mean they aren’t filled with joy.
  2. My point number 1 didn’t do the speaker’s story any justice. It was beautiful and sincere, and I’m incredibly happy for her. And, I’ll try to write more on this soon.
  3. I’m glad I went. I almost didn’t go.
  4. I’m sober 2 days now. So, another Yay!

I’ll try to write more on today tomorrow. In the meantime, goodnight!

Day 1: I’m Dag, and I’m an Alcoholic.

Today is the day. The day I quit drinking. I can’t say that I haven’t said this before, but this time it’s different. It’s different because it has to be. Because I know I can’t go on directionless any longer, spinning my wheels, pushing those I love away from me, passively waiting for something or someone to come along and save me from further degrading my life. I have to take the first step, and today is the day.

I’ve created this space to record my journey. This blog will hopefully be one tool among many to keep me responsible to myself and others. If people happen to stumble across this blog, welcome! I can certainly use all the support I can get. And, as I get the hang of blogging, hopefully I’ll be able to lend a supporting hand to others as well.

Later this evening, I’ll be going to an AA meeting. I went to a few AA meetings earlier this year when I turned 30. Given that it was a milestone year, I was motivated to make my life better and I went hoping to hear stories that resonated with my own. I was moved and inspired, but I wasn’t convinced I was really an alcoholic. A workaholic, sure. A man who likes to knock back a few beers after work, certainly. A guy who occasionally has one too many glasses of wine at dinner, absolutely. But an alcoholic? “I can stop at any time.” So I stopped going to AA meetings and continued drinking.

Forty weeks of hard drinking, close calls, and embarrassing blunders later I know that drinking is ruining my spirit, my friendships, my work life, and my relationships with my family. Today is the day that I stop slipping into the abyss that’s surely waiting for me and start to work toward actually flourishing as a person. Today is the day.

Art: Impression, Sunrise, by Claude Monet