It’s pretty demoralizing, going through life knowing that I’m being controlled by a liquid. There’s a lot of lying that needed to be done, to others and myself, just to get through each day. I drank to tolerate my existence; the worst part being I wasn’t even sure what I found so intolerable.

A Month of Promises (pages 83-84), sentence 2: We are going to know a new freedom and a new happiness.

In order to rationalize my alcoholism, I’d make things up. I needed to find reasons why things were awful in order to justify my addiction. So it would follow that my various jobs always sucked, my friends and family were constantly filling me up with resentments, and the fact that I couldn’t control my drinking was a major downer as well.

The only time I was happy was when I knew I had a block of undisturbed time where isolation and inebriation was possible. It was a party for one. But as the years piled on and the levels escalated, even the escaping part of this disease wasn’t fun anymore. It was a prison of my own making, and an embarrassing one at that. Blaming others only lasted as long as there were others to blame. But over time, most of those reasons had been methodically pushed out of my life. I unconsciously wanted more undisturbed time, and being constantly loaded seemed to be the answer. I could be alone in broad daylight.

Now with eighteen months of continuous sobriety, there’s definitely a new freedom. Gone are the morning stops, the lunchtime stops, the afternoon stops, the evening stops, etc. And, more miraculously, gone are the cravings and the wishes. The freedom came without warning, and something I once thought quite impossible now doesn’t happen anymore. When this occurred, I can’t exactly say. There wasn’t a bolt of lightning or a sunbeam that opened my eyes. However, it did happen, slowly, imperceptibly, until one day I realized I wasn’t sweating it anymore. Liquor stores weren’t jumping out at me. Beer ads became what they were to most people: annoying.

The best part of this new freedom is the lowering of the self-flagellation that used to take up a good chunk of my life. I’m not getting cocky, and I’m not taking back control. I’m keeping it as right-sized as I can, and for today, that’s more than enough.

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