It is my birthday today—I turned 34 years old at the stroke of mid-night on September 19. I slept well—so I feel refreshed and ready to fully appreciate the start of my 34th year on planet earth. Tonight I will celebrate—maybe go out with some friends to a restaurant, and guzzle down some H20—maybe even get a bit rowdy after consuming two or three Diet Coke’s. Watch out San Jose!
It will be my first birthday since fifteen years old that I can remember every aspect of the night. I won’t be drunk by 7pm and blacked out by midnight. I won’t have booze spilled all over my clothes—and an upset stomach from the drunk munchies compelling me to eat two super carne asada burritos covered in the special mystery sauce. I won’t wake up tomorrow morning to several text messages stating “hey dude are you ok? You were out of control last night.” I won’t say something to a good friend that would potentially harm our friendship—or something that I would have to apologize for the next day. I won’t let that angry Leif come out—who so often did when I would drink too much. A true Jekyll and Hyde. I won’t be ashamed of the fact that I am a father who acted so foolishly the night before—not worthy of having such an important role in society if I can’t control myself properly.
I won’t loaf around on the couch all day holding my forehead to alleviate the pounding head-ache—or awkwardly avoid a girlfriend who is upset by my drunken antics. I won’t be filled with sadness due to an alcohol induced state of depression—or cringe in embarrassment as I start to recollect bits and pieces of the night before. I won’t justify my actions by saying “hey, it’s ok—I only get this drunk but once a year.” Of course that wouldn’t be true—I would get that drunk on a regular basis.
I thought to myself the other day—“why did I think getting shit-faced was a good way to celebrate a birthday?” It was in fact the way I celebrated my birthday for over fifteen years unfortunately.
I look forward to waking up on Saturday with a fresh and clear perspective—not foggy and sick from poisoning my body the previous night. I look forward to remembering everything I did the night before—and driving to my daughters soccer match without puffy eyes and a craving for greasy food due to a hang-over. I look forward to exercising and enhancing my health—as opposed to destroying it. I look forward to receiving zero text messages about something demoralizing I did while drunk.
I look forward to waking up on day 152, hopping out of bed with another day sober to mark on the calendar.
I know that I will have more fun tonight, no matter what I do, then any birthday where alcohol was necessary to celebrate.
On day 151—I feel more motivated than ever before to continue on this path of sobriety.