Tonight is 365 days since I last drank alcohol. I remember the party well. It was an annual Christmas party at my friends house, where Santa Clause would show up and hand out gifts to the children and the grown-ups would have a drink or two. Well in my case it was a drink or 15. It was a fun time, solving all the worlds problems with my best friends. Of course I stayed too late and didn't leave until the fridge was emptied of all the various cans of beer. I stumbled home and fell into bed. Did I mention it was a Sunday and I had to work the next morning. Waking up still drunk, with a pounding head and a sour stomach, I drove into work to spend the day banging sheet metal in a low crawlspace. It was one of the worse days I had ever had at work. That was the last straw.
I had been having to deal with these horrific hangovers for years. It never stopped me from carrying on for most of my adult life. Alcoholism has been an issue on both sides of my family, and seeing it during my youth, it just seemed like that is what someone did when they grew up and being drunk was acceptable. I was often the drunk guy at the house party when everyone else was socially drinking. I had to bring a dozen beer to a gathering, and consume them all, or it felt like a waste of time. I thought that everyone was drinking like me, but more often than not, it was just me. I would encourage others to over do it, we were having fun.
I had previously taken breaks from drinking for up to a year, but it was for different reasons. I thought removing alcohol would changemy life to the better. I have now found out that alcohol wasn't the cause of the problems, but a result of trying to deal with things that were not good in my situation. A big change happened and I found myself single and free. Party time. I was having an great time socializing and meeting new people. I was constantly looking to connect with someone special, hoping that drinking would give me the charisma and confidence to make that happen. Guess what, I never found what I was looking for. I made some good friends, but that was less to do with the booze and more with me just getting out more.
A horrible incident happened where I was assaulted one night after being out at the bar, not eating dinner and just drinking myself stupid. Stumbling out of the bar I was assaulted by a group of young thugs. I was left with a broken tooth, broken nose and a concussion. The mental wounds still haven't healed and it is something that I have to deal with everyday. It messed up my confidence and my perceived ability to offer protection to my family. I had almost given in to the depression and thought about becoming a hermit. Sit at home, alone, every night and hide from what was bothering me. As fate would have it, I met a girl a two months after the assault. I was smitten by her. She wasn't someone who drank very much, and I slowed my consumption down considerably. I did hid my drinking from her when she wasn't around, or not saying how much I actually would drink. Slowly it go back to drinking when she was around, and encouraging her to also imbibe more as well. I began to feel like sometimes I would rather be by-myself and have a party, rather that be with her. It shames me to admit this, but it did feel that way. The alcohol was going to ruin such a good thing I had with her. I couldn't let that happen.
My life has become much calmer, fulfilling, loving, richer, and adventurous. I cannot even contemplate the idea of alcohol, or being hung over and being that guy again. I love my daughter so much and she is my focus on keeping my strength. My urges are gone and now I find being dry easy. Writing this blog has helped to allow me a forum to rant when I need to, rather than taking center stage during a gathering. The hard part is keeping friendships with people that I saw all the time when I was drinking. It is so amazing to have a partner who loves me and is very happy to spend time together. My heart swells, and I thank her with all of it for all the great stuff that she has introduced me to, and adventure she has accompanied me on. I also want to thank my great friend, Russ, who had the courage to make the choice of sobriety a few months before I did. It helped give me the strength to make the change as well. My life is so amazing now and I look forward to the next 365 and all the new things that will present themselves to me.Time to "Find Adventure", my new slogan for 2012.