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October 27, 2021

A sober Thanksgiving

I spent my first Holiday ever as an adult sober. Not a major feat, though probably rare for many these days….

Partially, it was a practice of self discipline but in all honesty, I had no urge to drink because not too long ago, I could have won the “lush of the year” award, sitting around alone with a bottomless glass that preceded a cantankerous pity party by which I was the only attendee.

I’m fully supportive of those who party solo. Even before COVID, a “perfect night” was me, myself, and I- a bottle of wine and my pen / pad, a keyboard / guitar or sometimes just playing my favorite tunes. I often dance alone and can entertain my imagination for hours. I feel like a kid (since I have to pretend so hard out there in the world, that I am anything but that inside).

I am not sure I fully understand this puristic masochism that we call “sober” in Western culture. I have always felt like, as long as I can stop whenever I want to, as long as it is not impacting my life or my health, as long as I can look back at the past week or month and feel like it wasn’t that problematic, then I can justify my use pretty well (especially if I am drunk while thinking about it). But, I can go many weeks not drinking without a problem so I consider myself “mostly” sober these days…

While some of us may be closer to sainthood, at one time or another, we have had a “moment” in time of hedonistic outrage, embarrassment, or an improper display of character. And if not this in ourselves, then certainly in others.

It seems some folks really need zero substance (or zero of one in particular) for stability. A combination of our experiences, our free-will, our genetics, and I suppose just general intention have to do with how well we manage that. Addiction is real AF, it can destroy everything – relationships, dreams, and lives….

I have deep respect for those who have put in the long-haul journey and given up all raging for good. Regardless of if it took “rock bottom” or just one decision to get there, it is a huge accomplishment and might be one of the most challenging endeavors to face in life, for some.

It has been said that it is human nature to adopt habits. It appears then, that it is the key to our lives to spend most of it breaking them. I am not a professional on the subject, but it is my observation that everyone is addicted to something. Maybe it is work, maybe it is food, maybe it is just straight up being strung out on “feeling good” and never feeling your own pain or vice versa. But, are we actually inherently this way? Perhaps habitual survival tactics, yes – but coping mechanisms? These seem mostly systematic or cultural to me….

Drinking, in particular, is celebratory. In my family, we love to “cheers”, we love to laugh and banter. So many good times we have had and many more to come! Either way, I’ll sit here and pat myself on the back for not drinking on Thanksgiving. I will, nonetheless, toast my Grandma for her Birthday tomorrow night. She loved red wine. And as I am working my way towards a “one glass of wine” per night lifestyle for good, this one will be worth it.

Everyone stay safe and well out there!

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