Notes From the Edge of Sobriety – The First 60 Days

alcoholism13One profound realisation came to me quite early on my sobriety journey. I was at a family gathering on Christmas Eve. All the children were racing around as if there was no tomorrow. All were excited. I had been dry for only two days when I suddenly realised that everybody – all the adults were drinking very little and were, in fact, all sober!! It was a revelation, it dawned on me that I was the only one that was constantly drunk. I honestly thought everyone was in the same tottering, wobbling boat as me. No! I was the only idiot. That was a surprise, painful but accurate.

I am undecided about the value of counting the number of days I’ve been sober. When I decided not to drink any more, I saw no horizon. There was no finish line only sober or not sober. It is more a state of mind than a goal. I recognise that I am unwell and that I process alcohol differently to many other people. It is a poison. That makes me an alcoholic. I cannot drink because I have become dangerous – to myself and my loved ones. So – while the jury is out on counting the days, as I sit here early in the morning – last night when bad light stopped play, I put the night-watchman in at 53 days not out. But hey!! Cricket fans, who’s counting?

Sixty days ago I had a moment of clarity. After a lifetime of drinking, with no end in sight I knew this was the only way out – I had to stop drinking. Up until that point I could see no reason why I should stop. Then it came in a blink, a moment of blind fury and in a drunken rage I struck out. I took over forty years of disillusionment, I took my pain, I took my tragedies, slights and rejections and lashed out at the one I love most. In that instant I could see every reason why I should stop. From a lifetime of entrapment, I freed myself. I stopped drinking, I was becoming dangerous, to my family, to myself. Life is much easier now. I wake up and where there was a painful fog, there is now bright sunshine. Where there was a vague panic, wondering where the wine was, there is focus – concentration and presence.

About Tom Cottrell

Tom is a struggling author, pilgrim and citizen of Planet Earth.
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