I’ve been sober for 732,240,000 seconds, give or take a second or 2,000.
That’s 12,204,000 minutes.
23 years. And some change.
I was 22 when I quit.
I have never relapsed, though I was close a time or two.
In the three years before I quit I was arrested four times.
In the 23 years since I haven’t been arrested once. I did get two speeding tickets though.
I still avoid the liquor aisle at grocery stores and gas stations. I won’t even look at the coolers directly.
I haven’t been in a bar, except for a lunch with my wife on a 40 mile bike ride, in more than a decade. It was the only place within 15 miles that served food. We were out in the boonies.
I can still get antsy when I’m around people who are drinking so I make sure I have my car parked in a place where it can’t be blocked in, just in case I have to make a quick exit.
Most of the friends I ride with don’t drink. All of my other friends are sober.
I can still remember the hopelessness I felt the day before I quit (actually that went on for about two years but it came to a head that last day).
I quit drinking before Ice Beer became popular. Before Zima was even thought of. Sam Adams was just becoming popular.
I was prescribed Tylenol 3’s (with Codeine) for an injury about a year into sobriety… I took one pill and threw the rest in the garbage because I could see myself relapsing on it.
I was prescribed pain killers one other time, for oral surgery. My wife (then girlfriend) administered them so I wouldn’t abuse them. I spent that weekend stoned out of my gourd. I call it my freebie weekend. That was a little more than two decades ago.
My car was hit in a car accident five years ago or so. The impact was so violent it bent my driver’s seat back. I hit my head on the headrest hard enough that I blacked out. I was prescribed pain killers for that but got a second opinion and had my back and spine cracked back into place instead. I never filled the prescription.
The day I quit drinking, a doctor estimated that I had about 7 years before I died of liver failure, based on a liver enzyme test. A little more than 2 decades later and I’m perfectly healthy.
Assuming I maintain my sobriety, I should live to a ripe old age.
If I relapse, that seven year clock starts up again.
That clock makes it a little easier to maintain my “want to” when it comes to staying clean.
It’s a well known fact that if an alcoholic chooses to start drinking again, they pick up where they left off. If I were to pick up again, I’d be a raging drunk and lose everything I’ve worked for in less than a month. This isn’t a guess, it’s a fact. I don’t do much half-assed in case you didn’t notice. If I didn’t end up in prison, which would be likely, see the clock above.
I always was, and always will be a two-fisted drinker… A drink in either hand and the bottle (or case) between them. As they say, to thine own self be true. The only thing that’s changed is that I choose not to act on that today.
Since I quit, in 1992, my life is a reverse country song… and it is good.