I made a lot of commitments the day I decided to stop drinking. One of those commitments is to do my best to live life to the fullest, and say “yes” to spontaneous ventures more often, or engage in activities that get me out of my comfort zone. I was tired of watching life pass by, glued to a television–or stuck on a bar stool in some stank ass establishment drinking with the same guys who always tell the same stories.
I have made it clear to my friends—“Guys, I love you. But, I’m peeling my ass off of this bar stool and living my god damn life.”
To be clear, I don’t see anything wrong with hanging out at the local dive with friends—but if you’re a drunk like me, you know that routine can get destructively repetitive.
During the last 410 days, I’ve upheld that commitment for the most part. I’ve gone to San Francisco to explore more in the last year than the previous nine years I lived in the bay. I was missing out on a great city. I mean, it’s filled with hipsters, douches and the obnoxious self proclaimed elite—but beneath their smug cloud resides the beautiful working class people that I relate to the most. Those hustling every-day to make ends meet–those who grip their families tightly because they truly appreciate everything they’ve earned…and understand that time with your family holds more value than an obscene amount of cash in the bank. The people who shake your hand despite being a stranger, and you feel that sense of brotherhood/sisterhood—that feeling of “being in this life together” and “I got your back.” I feel a connection with the community that I haven’t felt in quite some time.
I’ve ventured up to Shasta to go fishing—I stopped in Oakland for dinner with a pretty girl, and sat on the beach in Monterey. I danced, yes danced, at music festivals in San Jose—and dancing sober is truly an epic experience. I rode roller coasters in Santa Cruz, and am currently planning a trip up to Portland. I say yes to friends who ask me to go on random hikes or bike rides—and jump at the opportunity to attend events and social gatherings.
The invisible restraints of beer, wine and liquor withered from my wrists and ankles—and the lid popped off of the jar my emotions were trapped in. I feel a sense of freedom. Is everything perfect? No, and it never will be. Am I always happy? No, there will always be hard times. Is living sober always easy? No, the urge to drink lingers. Is life much better than it was 411 days ago? Hell to the YES! I’ve said it before, and if you’ve ever gone to an AA meeting you hear it every-time: “it’s about progress, not perfection.”
On day 410, I look forward to what ‘s next.