35 Years to Life

Someone liked one of my recent training blog posts and started following my blog this past week.  I know this because I get a notification via my phone when it happens.  And this notification jolted me awake at 2am!  I have to learn to silence that notification!  But I always appreciate it when someone takes an interest in what I’m doing or writing about.

When I publish something it gets posted to the host website, wordpress.com, and it gets shared to a reader page.  I guess that is how they may discover my blog.  Other bloggers see these posts too.  Some find my posts when they search for “triathlon” or “running”, or maybe a race report for a specific race, or search for a specific tag.  Interestingly enough, besides my home page, my most popular blog is about my do-it-yourself electronic drum kit build that I did, and all I did was post it and walk away from it.  I never shared it on any forums or anything.

For me, this blog is about documenting my journey in my later stages of life so I can look back on it and reflect.  I write for me.  But there is a great satisfaction for me when someone hits that “Like” or “Follow” button.  I’m glad that something I shared is relatable to others.

So I checked on who liked my blog and it turns out he has had a struggle with alcoholism and has been sober for a couple of years now.  He uses his blog site to write about his journey.  I never did a specific blog post about being a non-drinker, but I may have mentioned it a few times here and there.  I gave it up in college, February 1985.  I was barely 21 years old, just getting started.  I did a dumb thing in a drunken, sleepwalking state and regretted it.  No, it wasn’t illegal, and I wasn’t even ridiculed for it – just some gentle ribbing and teasing from my friends.  But I was embarrassed and thought I could be a better person.  I never thought of myself as an alcoholic and I don’t think I fit that definition.  I’m just someone who said it was time to quit something I didn’t like just as I was getting started.

The original promise I made to myself was to no longer drink to get drunk, which is the exact opposite of what most college kids do.  I promised that I would only drink socially as long as I never overdid it again.  Well, a day without drinking turned into a week, which turned into a month, which turned into a year, which led to a decade, etc.  It’s been 35 years and 2 months and adding on day by day.

I never really missed it, and I certainly missed a lot.  Ice beers came and went in the late ’80s.  Wine coolers were a huge hit, too.  I never drank a single one.  I have no idea what makes a craft beer what it is or even what it tastes like.  Wedding toast?  I put a glass of Champagne to my lips and faked it.  Block parties?  I drank soda.

The current crazes are wines and whiskey.  My buddy has an awesome collection of whiskey/bourbon/scotch and the like.  I find it very interesting, but I am not drawn to it in any way.  He encourages me to give some a try, but I have no desire.

I truly don’t remember what being drunk actually feels like.  I couldn’t describe it to you.

So what has kept me on this path of sobriety for so long?  Not sure really.  Some people actually have an addiction that they have to overcome.  I wasn’t addicted.  I would never claim that I was an alcoholic.  I think that is an insult to those that struggle with alcoholism.  I didn’t even really enjoy the taste of alcohol, and I definitely didn’t enjoy the post-drinking hangover.  I quit drinking because I was embarrassed and just had enough will power to no longer do it.  I can sometimes challenge myself and get focused enough that I won’t let anything stop me from my goal.  Running marathons?  Doing an Ironman?  All tough things to do, but I focused on it and got them done.  Giving up drinking was just another challenge that went past the original sentence I gave myself – probation and don’t do it again.  Probation is way over now, and as an adult I think I could probably drink without being irresponsible.  But that’s not going to happen.  My sentence currently stands at 35 years to life.  I can do that easily.

So if my story of giving up something that everybody does and can provide you some inspiration to do the same, I would be thrilled.  Best of luck on your journey.