Counting The Days

Written by Ben

Hey Tribe,

Welcome back!

I haven't had any drug-induced highs since late 2018, and I almost certainly never will again.

At the end of 2018 to early 2019, I went almost 6 consecutive months without alcohol. That's my personal record of consecutive alcohol-free days during my adult life.

That's a huge step up from 2016 - most of 2018.

I count the days I've been sober from alcohol, but not the days I've been sober from other drugs.

Why just alcohol?

BECAUSE I LIKE ALCOHOL.

AND I'VE SWORN COMPLETELY OFF ALL DRUGS BUT ALCOHOL AND CAFFEINE.

I don't need to track how long it's been since the last time I got high, because I almost certainly won't get high again FOR THE REST OF MY LIFE.

However, because I still drink in moderation (finally), I choose to be conscientious about tracking my alcohol consumption, which is a few drinks a weekend at most these days.

Yes, going weeks and months on end with a clear, sober mind is freeing. Seeing the glow of sobriety and purity in my skin gives me hope for an amazing future. I don't want to go back to drinking in excess like I did in 2016-2018.

But my view on alcohol is that an OCCASIONAL drinking night can be therapeutic.

If you disagree, I understand completely. Alcohol is a damaging drug like any other and if you've removed all possibility of ever drinking again from your future, that's your decision.

Sometimes, the dopamine rush is a pleasant escape from life's stresses and mundane happenings. Maybe you go out and drink with company, or you enjoy it while relaxing by yourself. Maybe you watch something on TV or YouTube or Netflix, or you work on a creative project.

Then the fun ends, you sleep like shit, and your hangover stops you from enjoying the next day to its fullest. As your mind clears up and your body re-adjusts to alcohol's absence, your fading hangover drives home how NOT WORTH IT that drunken episode was and how satisfying sober life truly is.

Unless it IS worth it. I'm not the type of guy who plays it safe all the time. I know the value of living on the edge (though not excessively).

In fact, I'm happy I've had all my past drunken nights out. 

Nothing has taught me more about human nature than partying has. Seeing how alcohol removes people's inhibitions (mine too!) has shown me what REALLY lies beyond the social constructions we live stably in during the day.

And it isn't always ugly. When positive people's energy collides after some alcohol, fun things can happen. Drunkenness isn't always bad.

But it often is.

For ever decent to good drunken night I've had, I've had multiple that were "meh" or not fun at all.

Why?

BECAUSE OF MY COMPANY

Which was an extension of...

MYSELF

I didn't make my drinking friends accidentally. No one makes their friends accidentally.

I made those friends because at the time, I wanted to get up to some degenerate shit and so did they.

When my values evolved past that, we no longer shared the same energy.

I used to think going out drinking was like spinning a slot machine. 90%+ of the time, the night would be alright but not anything special. 9% of the time, the night would downright SUCK. And 1% of the time, the night would be memorable as FUCK.

Now I understand the power I truly have over those nights.

TAKING ON THE DAMN RESPONSIBILITY HAS BEEN A LIFE-CHANGING HABIT FOR ME.

Instead of waiting for a friend to invite me out, I'm comfortable going out alone, even if some people think I'm weird for it.

Instead of waiting for girls to approach me or thinking "she's too good for me, I shouldn't", I DO THE GOSHDARN APPROACHING CAUSE I'M A MAN, NO MATTER WHAT I THINK SHE THINKS.

Instead of thinking "I can't help blacking out, I can't have a few drinks without wanting to go overboard", I've reframed that habit. If I black out on alcohol, it's beacause I chose to. That's that. No one, nothing to blame but me. I can drink in moderation if I have good company, as I learned firsthand after I ditched my old social circle and built a stronger identity for myself.

MY NIGHTS OUT CAN BE FUN AND ENGAGING. I CAN CUT MYSELF OFF AT 3ISH DRINKS.

WHY?

BECAUSE I'M A MAN, MOTHERFUCKER. I MAKE MY LIFE HAPPEN. I DON'T WAIT FOR OUTSIDE PERMISSION TO MAKE IT HAPPEN LIKE A BOY WOULD.

Blackout drunkenness isn't a good look on anyone. Being high on drugs isn't a good look on anyone.

But just having a few drinks can be conducive to a fun, social time IF your internal schemas, values, and overall sense of self are in order. If not, alcohol won't make anything better for you. It'll only amplify the darkness in you.

If you don't want to drink in moderation and would rather abstain completely from alcohol, I'm all for that.

I count the days between my drinks. I understand that alcohol by itself is a toxic substance, and I limit myself to a few drinks just one night per week at most. There's nuance to this.

A year ago, I was super anti-alcohol, and for good reason. Much of my identity came from it, and I wanted to detach my sense of self from it.

Now, that isn't the case. I've healed and I've grown. My identity comes from better things and my relationship with alcohol is the healthiest it's ever been. I rarely feel the compulsion to black out anymore, and I choose my company in every domain of my life wisely.

Whether you like to count your consecutive sober days or not, I wish you that same healing and growth.

TTYL,

Ben

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