Last year I wrote a few reflections on my experience during my first year of being sober. Jenny and I both think it’s important for people to share their experience with others and so I’m doing the same again this year, hopefully without this turning into a version of the annual holiday card letter. “Dear family and friends, it was quite the eventful year…”
2 years sober…
As I look back over our first 2 years, and try to draw some general comparisons between year one and year two, is seems that for most of the first year sobriety felt like this THING that Jenny and I were both doing. It was very much in the forefront of our conversations, our thoughts and reactions to social situations, and was always a conversation among friends whenever we got together.
We had countless discussions on sobriety, and there was a constant comparison to before and after, all with the general theme of how much better we felt, happier we were, and so on. All of that very much holds true today but if there is a over all theme to the second year, I think its just how NORMAL it feels to be sober day in and day out. Sure, once in a while we still have a conversation about “Imagine if we were still drinking”, but those discussions are much less frequent and the concept of drinking is a little more abstract and feels more like distant past than just last weekend.
With that basic background in mind, a few moments do stand out from our second year. In September, we took a trip to Greece to celebrate and to spend the cash we saved not drinking throughout the first year. Travel was one of the places that Jenny and I always did our best drinking. Breakfast cocktails, day drinking, partying at night, we had what we thought was fun at the time, and suffered the hangovers, the headaches, and the several days of recovery needed at the end of it all. This trip was hands down the best vacation I’ve ever had. I got to enjoy every moment, every meal, and every sight of the trip. The pictures say enough, it was utterly wonderful in every way.
In January, I had the chance to experience Las Vegas sober for the first time. Celebrating 40th birthdays for several in a group of guys I’ve known since college or longer. I know many of you may say “why bother”, but it was genuinely the most fun I’ve ever had in Vegas. You see and notice so much more without a drink in hand, or the constant search for another. The ridiculousness on the whole city was crystal clear, and the regrets were fewer… well, except for the second order of Trash Can Nachos from Guy Fieri’s.
Heath wise, I can honestly say I feel better than I ever have at any point in my life. As most of you know, I received a pacemaker as an early present just shy of my 40th birthday a few years back. Every 3 months, I get a report of how often my pacemaker regulates my heart rate. It’s not much, less than 1%, but over the last 2 years I’ve averaged 4 times less pacing than before. That is all the motivation I need right there. Oh, and I just registered to climb Mt Rainer next year. I’ll summit one day before my 44th birthday
Most importantly, I’ve spent a good portion of year 2 reflecting on the example we are setting for our kids. Mine are young and impressionable, just beginning high school and middle school this year. Jenny’s boys are young adults, one on each side of 21. Who knows what choices each of them is going to make as they move towards adulthood, but for us, showing them that life is exciting and fulfilling and better in so many ways when it doesn’t revolve around a perpetual search for Happy Hour allows both of us sleep a little be better at night.