Sober Vows & Flattened Squirrels

Life is a matter of choices. And every choice you make, makes you.– John C. Maxwell

We are always just one decision away from a completely different life.

30 days ago I made the hard and fast choice to try Annie Grace's Alcohol Experiment, because, well, I felt like a torn-apart bag of hungover trash that smelled like a winery and looked even worse.

I'm pretty sure that morning (not unlike most others in the months, years and decades before it) I woke up with wine stains on my shirt, my lips, my teeth and at least 3 or more spots on the floor and random pieces of furniture. I'm sure a few drops even landed on the dogs.

I had pickled myself again.

And I was well beyond tired of it.

Tired of my old bullshit. Tired of running. Of hiding. Of numbing and avoiding.

Of ruining everything – my happiness and health included.

I wasn't just tired of it – I was sick of it, quite literally.

Sick of keeping myself in a constant state of illness. Who in their right mind willingly volunteers to fill themselves with a disease every day?

The cycle of self-sabotage was dizzying and I wanted off.

So I made the decision to end it, without the safe-word of "maybe". I knew there wasn't room for "maybe I'll try it" or "maybe it's time". I had to put aside my wishy-washy tendency of sitting on the fence, perched somewhere between optimistically committed and fearfully uncertain.

I had to climb down and choose a side.

Was I going to side with the part of me that thought I could maybe try and stop drinking for 30 days, and see how it goes? Or was I going to side with the part of me that was screaming for certainty and decisiveness – a solid commitment without grey areas, and without maybes.

Because maybe almost always mean yes.

I had to be all in. I had to throw my maybe's to the curb and put my big boy pants on and make the decision that no matter what, I was no longer going to drink. That I was done taking my happiness and health for granted and that I could admit with every ounce of my worn out being that after 2 decades of hardcore daily research – I was never going to find anything worth keeping at the bottom of any bottle.

I had never found anything in the past other than sickness, shame, debt and regret. Why in the world I thought the results would be different each time I drank is beyond me.

You don't keep doing something you know and have proven time and again to yourself only causes pain – like stubbing your toe on the corner of the bed. We don't keep walking over and kicking it every morning after we've done it once and realize it hurts like a bitch.

We know it hurts and we know it causes us pain.

So why do we keep popping corks every day and guzzling down what we know only makes us sick and sad?

It's fascinating to step back from your life just enough to deconstruct it into all the choices and decisions that we've made, that in turn, have made us. To look at all the sliding doors we have walked through, and to see that we are where we are because of the choices we have made, whether conscious or not.

I decided to drink every day. I felt out of control, and I was – but I still chose to keep myself there. I chose to buy the wine, I chose to open it, and as ritualistic and routine as it all became – I still chose to pour it down my throat.

I put – and kept – myself there every day through my choices.

It only makes sense that making new and better choices are what's going to get – and keep – me out.

Imagine if we all invested as much time and energy as we do satisfying our urges to drink into not drinking? 

Holy crap. Just imagine.

I've proven I can summon an army and align all the stars of the universe to ensure I could get drunk every day. Now, I'm deciding to prove to myself that I can draw on that same reserve of determination to ensure I never have to drink again.

It comes down to whether I want to use my powers for good or evil.

That's the decision I made 30 days ago.

I decided to put as much effort into my health, happiness and wellbeing as I had been giving to drinking. And today, I'm renewing that commitment and decision to keep going, free of the "maybe's" and "we'll see's".

Be decisive. The road of life is paved with flat squirrels who couldn't make a decision.

I don't know about you, but I'm pretty tired of spending my life like a flattened squirrel. Run down day after day by indecision, because I was too damned scared to make changes and do for myself what I've spent my whole life wishing for others: an easy, unsaddled life full of freedom, wellbeing and joy.

The only thing separating where we are and where we hope to be, are our solid, committed decisions to get there. Without any grey areas. Without the emergency escape route that "maybe's" allow.

I know I'm repetitive today – but I'm trying to drill it home as deep into my brain as I was able to drill in my desire to drink and self-destruct. I know I'm also a little more passionate than usual – but reaching 30 days sober today has helped me to finally put all my maybe's to bed once and for all.

I'm leaving all of these words here so I can come back from time to time and remind myself of my sober vow that I no longer welcome in my life what has only taken my life from me.

"First we make our habits, and then our habits make us." – John Dryden

I don't feel as though I need to recommit to my decision every day, anymore. Now that I've wholeheartedly decided – it just is. Like cement. There's no more maybe's. No more we'll see's. No more counting days.

And there's incredible, sweet relief in no longer having to make choice after choice every single day, of whether I'm going to drink, or maybe have one later, or next week. The triggers will still be there. The roadblocks will still appear. But knowing I've already made my decision to no longer drink makes every day that much easier.

Whenever the option to drink falls in my lap or slaps me in the face, deciding what to do is a no-brainer. It's a no-brainer because the only choice that aligns with my best interests is the one I've already made.

That drinking is no longer an option.

Nothing else has changed other than my mindset, and the firm decision that I've made to never drink again. And, in turn – everything has changed.

There is absolute freedom in committing to a decision that feels as permanent as a tattoo.

And there's sweet relief in knowing that I never, ever have to kick that damned bed frame ever again.

Sober, alcohol free recovery blogger.

Photographer. Writer. Ex-Blackout Artist.

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