Every once in awhile, I like to write about topics that are outside the normal fare you see here on the site. As you know, I took last week off so I could spend time with my lovely and talented fiancé. I don’t get to see her as much as I want due to the fact that we live in different countries as of now. That’s not the only reason I took almost the entire week off, though. I was originally scheduled to be in London for over a month this fall, but circumstances changed and I wasn’t allowed to leave the country. So, I thought it was best to savor every moment I could with her. I can’t blame anyone but myself for the canceled trip and someday relatively soon I will be able to talk about all this with more freedom. Without going into too much detail about everything, I will say this: Alcohol played a big role in the scuttled trip.

As I’ve mentioned before, alcohol isn’t the only drug that I’ve had problems with, it’s just the one that’s caused me the most headaches, especially this year. I used to have it in my head that I had to be in an altered state to have a good time…or to even exist without going mad. After going through these last couple months sober, I can safely say that this turned out to be the biggest lie I’ve ever told myself. I’m perfectly fine just being my normal, sober self. If someone had tried to make this argument to me last year, or even last July, I probably would have laughed in their face. Maybe I would have rolled my eyes instead. It took this journey for me to believe it. Sometimes (most of the time in my experience), you have to learn things for yourself.

Don’t get me wrong, I have no problems with people drinking or even drugging, for that matter. I don’t feel the need to preach about the evils of addiction or get up on my high horse. Many people can enjoy substances without any major problems. I can only speak from my personal perspective. From that vantage point I can tell you that sobriety has been a great benefit to me. Plus, it’s not like I didn’t have years and years of indulgences. I’m not really missing out on anything here.

I will be honest: Sobriety has definitely been something I’ve had to get used to. I also won’t sit here and act like I made this choice of my own accord at the outset of these 65 days. It was forced on my by the external event I vaguely referenced at the top of the post. But I’m 100% on board with it now even if that external pressure went away tomorrow. I feel better physically. Emotionally, things are easier to manage. Life is more real, for better and yes, sometimes for worse.

Have I had some tough moments where the old thoughts kicked in, and my brain said “Take the edge off“? Sure. I don’t think that ever goes away. However, knowing I can handle those without the aid of substances is something I take pride in now. The battle isn’t over and honestly never will be for me. Still, I feel like things in my life have improved immeasurably over the last couple months. Most of it can be traced back to the decision to get serious about sobriety.

Life still throws many of the same problems at me. It’s not like I’m saying being sober is some panacea. It’s isn’t. I still have some things hanging over my head. The lack of drunken stupor doesn’t change that, but facing it head-on with no crutch has shown me that I will get through it. Well, let me edit that a bit. I do have plenty of crutches. They just come in the form of friends, loved ones, and supporters…such as the readers of this site.

Many people legitimately hate me. That’s very real. What’s just as real, though, is all the people who are there to pick me up when I fall down, who cheer me on when I get up, and who genuinely want to see me succeed.

Yes, it’s been a tough year. Sometimes it takes a tough year to show you what you really have. People can’t always see what’s in front of their face until they’ve gotten themselves in a real jam. Do I wish all these realizations had come from some epiphany I had out of the blue, without the external factors? Of course. That still doesn’t change the legitimacy of my discoveries. I’m better off now than I was 66 days ago, even if that means there’s more fire I have to walk through as a result of my poor past choices.

I’m ready to tackle anything now, come what may.