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O shit, dawg.

Do you know what today is? It's a really tripped out day for me.

Not cuzza drugs or any particular insanity (as far as I know...). Nope, something much humbler--today marks one year of sobriety.

I generally try not to make too big a deal of it most of the time, mainly cuz, ultimately, it isn't that big a deal. I haven't tried to brag about it or hide it. My experiences & struggles (& successes) in AA and sobriety are woven into many of my posts (which are usually, but not always, tagged "life"). I aim to present those posts 'as is'--omiting direct mentions or specifics as needed to preserve others' anonymity and keep the focus on me.

What has been something of a big deal for me is my quality of life and the work I've put into getting there.

Like, life is actually good these days. I can't remember ever feeling this generally contented with life and upbeat and happy and stuff--even back before I ever drank.

I've gotten better at letting go of worry and acceptance. I've learned how to advocate for myself better and deal with problems when and as they arise. And somehow, too, my mood and motivation have gotten some massive, mysterious but appreciated boost. It's happened, and I can definitely point to these changes and acknowledge them, but I can't really explain where they came from. And I don't mind that, either.

It hasn't been all easy. I've actually been "in the rooms" for a year and a half, but I relapsed last Spring. It was actually kinda of funny, but also stupid. Those first 6 months I was really just "dry", not really sober. I was still giving over to the same old behaviors and habits and ways of acting & thinking, and so I was still pretty miserable. A little happier, sure, but still miserable.

But that's a story for another time.

The experience, though, was humbling. It's why I'm not entirely afraid of relapse--as long as, eventually, I'm honest enough to admit what all was going on & happened and willing enough to learn from it. Since then I've embraced my program in an entirely different way. I take suggestions, I'm give myself permission to be wrong, and I forgive myself and others and life. And I've been happy.

Something that continues to annoy me is when other people take my sobriety more seriously than I do. Like, I take my program and stuff seriously--but I still, as we say in the program, try to "wear life like a loose garment".

But when I'm out with other people, and they order beer and I order root beer or Dr Pepper, and they start feeling all awkward and guilty, it bugs me. Or when people stop inviting me to parties or clubbing because they just assume that I'll be a downer, or worry I'll be tempted to drink, or maybe just make them too self-conscious about their own drinking, or whatever the reasons really are, I get annoyed. or when I'm dating someone, and they find out I don't drink, that I'm sober, that I'm in AA, and suddenly the dynamic between us shifts--for whatever reasons--I get frustrated. Worst of all is when people try to hide their drinking from me--to "protect" me. That just pisses me off.

I don't know what they're motives or reasoning or intentions, and don't really care to speculate (OMFUG--that's progress...), but it sucks that it seems to keep coming up. Honestly? It's probably not worth their worry or guilt or awkardness. I'll say it again--it's not that big a deal. And ultimately, big deal or not, it's my deal.

So put a root beer in my hand, and chill.

I don't know if I'd've "achieved" this--the sobriety, yeah, but really the contentment and satisfaction and enjoyment of life--without the support of my network and my friends and my family. That was a bit saccharine, I know, but I mean it. What happiness is there in life with no one to enjoy it?

But beside that--they've helped me to learn and grow and find the integrity for all of this. And my relationships--both quantity and quality--have improved so vastly it's a bit boggling, really. But good. Really good. I'm still learning to trust people when I'm in trouble and open up & ask for help, but it's so good they're there for me when I can.

With all the good it's brought me, I can honestly say going sober and working AA has been the best decision of my life. I'm grateful. I regret nothing--except maybe never having tried a martini, but then vodka was against my principles even when I was drinking....


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