July 1, 2015

Complexities of Change

I don't know how to start this post. I don't want to make it a bigger deal than it is, but seeing as I have written about drinking and addiction on this blog so many times in the past- here, here and here and probably a bunch more, I feel the need to make some kind of statement, if only to myself to make what I am about to do feel real.

Today marks my ten years of sobriety. Not a drop of alcohol in ten years. If I were a different man, I might celebrate with one of these:

Maybe I would thank god for granting me the serenity for knowing what I can change and what I can't change and the wisdom for knowing the difference. But before you start congratulating me, let me say that on this momentous ten year anniversary, I have decided to start drinking again.

I am serene and I understand the complexities of change. And I can assure myself that I have changed. I am no longer that angry, reckless, self-destructive person sniffing out oblivion. I am a middle-aged school teacher with two kids who might want to occasionally enjoy a chilled glass of white wine with friends during a pool barbecue. Or a beer with my wife as we enjoy a veggie burger at a waterside restaurant. Perhaps, a smooth Scotch, well because it tastes good and that is what most adult can do. Enjoy a drink.

There is no fear of a demon. Or some downward spiral into chaos. Most people can have a drink or two and simply live their lives. I want to be one of those people.

I've used and abused alcohol in many different ways in the past. For reasons I have come to terms with, I needed escape in my youth, and alcohol was my one way ticket to blackout land. I used to say, "I don't understand why anyone would drink if their main intention is not to get drunk." For me there was never one or two drinks. It was always-drink until everything was gone. Vomit. Black out.

Moderation seemed absurd. But now, it makes sense. I want to give it a try. This is not some spontaneous decision. I have thought about this anniversary for months, and I have set up some basic parameters:
  1. No more than three drinks.
  2. No drinking alone. 
  3. Drunkenness is not the goal.
So many people have supported me in my sobriety, that I feel I am letting them down, and who knows? Maybe I am wrong. Maybe I will quickly realize that I really do have a real drinking problem and that I will not be able to maintain my three simple rules, in which case I will need to quit completely- this time for life.

But I would like to think that time can change us. And with age comes wisdom and happiness and our desires wax and wane and are better controlled by our impulses.

I am not planning some big event, and I am actually a bit nervous to pull the trigger, but I am now opening the door to say that next time I am out to dinner or with friends, I might order a drink. I will sip it slowly and enjoy the fruity after tones and the clanking of the ice. I might enjoy a Mojito with friends as they celebrate some joyous event. Not because I want to get wasted, but because I feel that I am in control.

Will keep you posted. Stay tuned.


  1. Thanks you for sharing your thoughts and process. One of my family members chose to make the same decision you have... so far, so good. Everyone's circumstances are different, so we should not rush to judge each decision. Wishing you all the best.

  2. Here's a toast to your honesty and courage. I look forward to a drink we can share in person