Today marks 183 days of not drinking. That’s half of a year. It was taken in steps, and the first was just one weekend. Then a week. Then two, and on to a month.

After that, I. Aimed for six weeks, then eight. 60 days. 80 days. 100. Each time I hit a goal I pushed onto the next, climbing up through four months, to five, marking new goals to reach for. 150 days. 160. 180.

Half a year, sober. Able to think straight, able to work out who I am again, able to shoulder the burden of my own fate and my own mistakes. My regrets, now, are due to errors I have made clear-headed. My victories, I cannot dismiss by laying them at the feet of drink-enabled courage.

I haven’t had a health transformation, as I wasn’t obviously unhealthy before I gave up. And I haven’t suddenly become more successful, although I know that I am more mentally capable. But I can afford a life on less credits, and I am better able to face my demons. I did need to give up, I feel, for I remain very much aware of the reasons I decided to stop.

I am very pleased that I managed to quit for this long. It is the longest period of time in which I have not consumed alcohol, for over twenty years. It is good to be able to untangle that relationship. To see where it ends and I begin.

There are groups that can help with the desire to stop drinking, and I found one out on the data feed. A community forum that doesn’t require, but does allow and reward, participation. It is known as /r/stopdrinking. Here, people share their thoughts and stories, offering support to each other as they explore their need to stop. Some are success stories, some are tales of the horror they seek to escape. Some are encoiuraging missives, and some are the cry for forgiveness, asked of strangers online. Asked, and given.

Those that are exploring the idea of stopping are affectionally spoken of as Sobernauts: intrepid adventurers to a world unknown. To those already in this digital place, this world where others share the desire to stop and stay stopped, there is a string of letters they offer to each other: IWNDWYT.

I Will Not Drink With You Today.

It is a pledge. They, like you, will not drink. In that, they will be with you, today. No matter where you are, they are out there too, and you are not alone.

We are often lost in the vast sea of our global network, unable to know what is out there and what, even, it is that we seek. Or, it can seem, we are trapped within the limits of our own echo-chambers; as surely more influential and monied interests desire us to be.

When we break out of our confines – real, imagined, digital or physical – it is good to find that there is a welcoming group on the other side; one open to strangers and offering a warm fireside in front of which to take refuge.

Next up from here, my goal is 200 days. 210, or thereabouts, will mark 7 months. Then there are a bunch more milestones after that, and, maybe, eventually, 365 – midway through the summer.

To those that need it, IWNDWYT.


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