There have been many milestones in my sobriety journey: a day, a week, a month, a year, two years, five years, ten years…and today is another.
June 17, 2016, marked the day I was longer off-coke than on-coke.
October 13, 2022 marks the day I’m longer sober than drunk.
It’s a bit arbitrary. The groundwork for alcohol abuse goes back to 1994 and self-medicating adolescent pain with booze, and then of course along came Uni and weekend benders. But it wasn’t until moving back to Edmonton and starting working in local gay nightlife that those benders became, instead of weekend, daily. By September 1, 1999, I was basically drunk every single night, until the night that it stopped. And that 11 years, 6 months, 22 days of perpetual last call of the soul, has now become 11 years, 6 months, 23 days of being sober.
My complete unwillingness to part with that statistic is sometimes the only thing stopping me from having a drink. Not to become drunk, just because, you know, I’m in Paris and I should be able to enjoy a nice glass of wine, or it’s New Year’s and maybe a flute of champagne would be a nice thing to mark the moment.
Will I ever drink again? Four years ago, I’d have said immediately and emphatically, no, never. I can’t say that anymore. What I can say is that while me ever consuming a drop of alcohol is still very unlikely, it is also very unlikely that I’d ever use drugs or alcohol to medicate or mask my problems. The body count that is attributable to drugs and alcohol in my life continues to grow, and I can’t help but feel that even a glass of wine is betraying the memories of too many of those ghosts.
I recently had the opportunity to have a lengthy conversation with a fellow sober queer person, and we talked about how being in the public eye as we are, being transparent about our sober journeys, also factors into our ongoing decision to remain sober. The truth is, simply, it is no one’s business what “sober” means for someone – if someone says they are sober and you see them holding a can of beer or taking a cannabis edible, no you didn’t. Just mind your business. But that doesn’t change the more complicated truth – that sobriety from drugs and/or alcohol is a daily choice (sometimes even an hourly or minutely) and that choice involves many contributing factors.
Today, I choose to remain sober, in a 100% drug and alcohol free sense of the word, and there’s no day but today.