10 things I wish I’d known
Today, this very day 10 years ago, I stopped drinking. Yes, that’s right, for 10 years I’ve been making first dates feel awkward by ordering club sodas. This morning I was thinking that I probably should have reached some sort of grand understanding after 10 years of a life un-fogged by alcohol. Well, I’m not so sure, but here are 10 things I wish I’d known 10 years ago...
1. It’s possible—with enough cigarettes, chocolate cake and strength of will—to have a sober hangover.
2. Almost every bad experience gets better when you learn you’re not the only one experiencing it.
3. Who you’re with matters a great deal when you’re really there.
4. The only people who say coffee is a drug never did a drug.
5. You get to do things for the first time—again.
6. You can drunk dance without a drop of alcohol. And drunk dial. And drunk text. Even beer goggles are within your reach if you believe in yourself.
7. You might miss not having alcohol to blame for your bad decisions.
8. One day, you’ll be so happy that the pain you feel today will seem impossible.
9. Life is enough. You don’t think it is, but it is. Let me explain.
There are things that alcohol did do for me. Some of the best friendships in my life might never have started if we instead had gone out for tea. “Jungle juice” is at least partially responsible for a lot of the fun my friends and I had back in 2003. And if it weren’t for fake courage from bottom-shelf vodka, I might still be dating girls.
Alcohol gave me things, but it also took so much away. The balance got way out of whack and I was trapped. It took my life in a direction I didn’t want to go.
And now I have 10 years sober. I’ve learned that if I can quiet my mind for just long enough; if I can stop looking for reasons and workarounds and justifications and just shut up for a second, something better always crystallizes. Life teaches me how to live it now. I don’t need what I thought I needed.
Want fun? Have it. Want courage? Fake it. Want love? Give it. Want adventure? Take it. Life is enough.
10. And so am I.