It has been one whole year since I removed alcohol from my life.
When I first started down this road on November 22, 2013 I couldn't imagine going without a drink for a week, never mind a year. I didn’t dare think too far ahead for those first few months; instead, I held on tightly to every moment, letting myself feel each wave of discomfort and bracing myself for the ones still to come. I drifted through social situations with my lips zipped tight, fidgeting and breathing deeply, dreading every offer of a drink or whiff of someone’s wine as they passed me by. I remember trying not to panic as I stuttered my way through a “no, thank you” when offered a glass of champagne on NYE. It makes me laugh now, but at the time I felt incredibly awkward, conspicuous, and uncomfortable.
As time went on my confidence grew, and I began to realize that nobody actually cares whether or not I drink - nobody who matters, anyway. The fear of being found strange or out of place was replaced by a delight in my new life; a life full of clear thoughts and early mornings, of self trust and calm.
The past year has easily been the most transformative of my life. In the twelve months since giving up the bottle I have quit smoking, changed jobs, gone back to school, lost forty pounds, written my little heart out, made new friends, taken control of my finances, and picked up several new hobbies. Above all, I have learned to trust and be true to myself and what I stand for.
I don’t know what else to say, except that I am so incredibly grateful to be where I am in life. I am grateful to Jackson for being my rock as I adjusted to a major lifestyle change, to my dear friends for always being up for activities that don’t involve drinking, to /r/stopdrinking for simply existing, and to myself for waking up that morning a year ago and deciding that it was time to start living my life.
The saying goes that a year from now you’ll wish you had started today, and it’s not wrong. If you’ve been putting off doing something good for yourself, whether it’s quitting a bad habit, saving money, or whatever - stop stalling. Don’t make yourself wait any longer. A year from now you deserve to look back and be proud of what you have accomplished in the twelve months starting right now.
Trust me. If I can quit drinking I can do anything, and if I can do anything so can you. So what are you going to do?