I quit drinking ten years ago this month. I wasn’t convinced I really meant it or how long it would last, so I didn’t mark the calendar. Every year I pull an anniversary date out of the air and tell myself not to celebrate until then. This year I picked the 17th, at the time not noticing it was also Saint Patrick’s Day. Is that ironic or what?
Anyway, whatever the exact date, I’ve arrived at the ten-year mark. If I was a member of Alcoholics Anonymous I’d be pinning on my ten year chip. Tee effing total. How dry I am. On the wagon so long my butt’s molded to the seat.
And I don’t miss it. I love waking up feeling good and being clear-headed. I like myself better; I’m better to be around. There’s no need to avoid bars and parties; hasn’t been since the first year. Once the temptation’s gone the presence of alcohol isn’t a problem. That scene in Flight where Denzel Washington empties the mini-bar in the unlocked hotel room next to his? That wouldn’t be a problem with me. Unless the mini-bar was stocked with chocolate.
Being around drunks is another thing, though. Not drinkers, drunks. I stay away from that scene, not because drunks are contagious (quite the opposite) but because they remind me of a former self, one I’m ashamed of. I stay away from the kind of activities where people intentionally get wasted. One of the benefits of getting older is that most people my age drink far less than they used to, and some, like me, don’t drink at all any more. These are the people I hang with, mostly.
Yeah, I know my transition to sobriety has been comparatively easy, and for that I’m thankful. I’ve been around drinkers all my life and know first-hand how hard it can be to quit. I’m also aware that drinkers don’t like it when non-drinkers start going on and on, and I’ve gone on way too long already.
Corned beef and cabbage tonight, and maybe a good movie on Netflix. Happy Saint Patrick’s Day, everyone!
© 2017, Paul Woodford. All rights reserved.