Two Years

Two years!

Man, I really didn’t intend for this much time to elapse since my last post, but hey, life happens. I will admit that I’ve been beating myself up about it, that I haven’t written in so long. I’ve told myself and others that I just don’t have the time, which is mostly true, but I also know that I haven’t prioritized it as I should. I’ve been working a lot, that’s for sure, and I’ve also been spending a lot of time with friends and family, which is paramount, but A Wild, Free Life should be at the top of my list, too.

I’m trying to allow myself this little grace period that’s gone by because a) beating yourself up and feeling guilty gets you nowhere and b) February 20 marked two years since I quit drinking. So though I’ve been feeling guilty for not putting my blog first, I’m also pretty dang proud of myself right now. Two years! I never really thought I’d say that I’ve been without alcohol for that long. But I have, and it’s pretty exciting. I’ve come a long way.

With coming this far, I feel like it’s natural to take stock of the changes I’ve undergone over the past two years, to revisit the reasons I quit drinking, and, if I’m honest, to even ask myself a question everyone who’s ever quit drinking has asked themselves: could I drink again? I’ve asked myself this for the first time in a long time because a few people whom are close to me have asked me this question. Now that I’m in this better place, wouldn’t I be able to drink in a different way?

Well, this is something I’m not intending on finding out. Because although I’ve become much more conscious of my emotions and gained so much clarity on my life and how I behave, this change has only occurred because I quit drinking. Perhaps if I started drinking again I wouldn’t drink like I did in the past, when I used alcohol as an escape from my problems, but then again, maybe I would. Because I know from experience that it’s all too easy to check out. Because I remember how I was, when one drink was simply not enough. This remembrance, this knowing, is what is keeping me on the path that I began to pave for myself two years ago.

I just don’t see the point in giving up what I started, even if I were able to drink in a new way. I’ve gotten to the point where I don’t feel like I’m missing out on anything, though it can still be hard, I won’t lie. Not hard in the way that I want to pick up a bottle, but hard because so much of our human lives revolve around drinking. Celebrations, hangouts, holidays, bad days — whatever, really — is an excuse to drink. And it can feel weird to participate in a toast at a table full of people drinking wine when you’re the only one drinking water. But I know that I shouldn’t feel weird, that I don’t need to. Because though I might be the solo nondrinker in a room, that doesn’t mean that I’m solo in life. I have myself (not to mention my friends and family). And that’s what really matters to me.

I think perhaps I might be solo in life if I were to drink again, not in the way that people might shun me or I might go crazy and distance everyone from me with my behavior, but that I would lose a part of myself that I’ve worked so hard to gain. But who knows? It’s these questions, it’s the unknown, that makes me know my decision to continue not drinking is right for me. The uncertainty gives me pause, and the delicate balance I’ve created is too precious to me to upend, to test, to poke at. I’m better than I’ve been, maybe ever, and it’s not worth it to me to see what happens if I drink a glass of wine. It’s a glass of wine, not a trip to Fiji.

Two years is a long time to go without something, but it’s also just the blink of an eye. And two years is is nothing and everything when you realize that you haven’t gone without anything at all, that you’ve actually attained more than you could’ve ever imagined. That what has happened within is much more rich and beautiful than what you’ve gone without. So though I’m all about taking chances and taking risks, trying to drink again is simply one that I don’t want to take. And who knows if I’ll feel the same way next year, for none of us can predict the future, but this is how I feel right here, right now. And knowing this, being present in this moment, is the culmination of the past two years.

As I did when I hit the one-year mark, I want to thank my family and my friends for being so supportive and encouraging, for making it relatively easy to “go without” as I go within, for never doubting me even when I doubted myself. And, as I didn’t do at the one-year mark, I’m also going to thank myself. You did it. Keep doing it. It’s working.

I wish you a wild, free life.

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