365 days Dry

I want to share with you, the story of one of my accomplishments I’m the proudest of. Today marks the 365th day that I stopped drinking alcohol. On the morning of the 26th of August 2018, I woke up and I said to myself, this is the day that I stop drinking alcohol. The moment I said that to myself, I suddenly realized, wow, this is a lofty goal. I often set myself up with different goals that I’m aiming to achieve in life. This one seemed a little out there. I felt like I set the bar, pardon the pun, pretty high. This goal was different. This goal was visceral. It’s from deep, deep down inside of me.

I’m sharing this story of the past 365 days, to maybe inspire somebody that has a lofty goal, a lofty personal goal that they think it’s maybe impossible to achieve. Well, I beg to differ. It is possible. Just set yourself up on your journey with small steps. When I started out on the 26th of August of last year, I didn’t say to myself, I’m going to stop drinking for the rest of my life. I just said to myself, all right, Erik, let’s go ahead. Let’s try for the next 30 days. 

It wasn’t the easiest thing to do, but like everything else, the moment you change your mindset, it’s possible. First thing I know, 30 days passed by. Might as well go for a second month. I’m already there. Second month passed by. Then what am I starting to discover? The more I move forward, the less I focused on the goal. It was starting to become a habit not to drink, just like drinking alcohol is a learned habit. We’re not born with it. The months kept moving on. Then I hit six months. For me, that was a huge milestone. The point of no return.

I went through the Christmas holidays, birthdays, still not touching a drop of alcohol. Always keeping my goal in the forefront of my mind and being focused on the decision
I took on August 26th, 2018. The months kept rolling on, month #7, 8, month #9 then we went onto month 10 and 11. We’re in the middle of summer. What a great time to relax in the sun with a nice ice-cold beer. Having a drink after a round of golf with friends. Everybody around you is having a drink. Why not yourself?

Now, today the 26th of August 2019, it has been 365 days since the last time I had a drop of alcohol. It has been the most revealing and life fulfilling decision I have taken. I just teed up the ball to hit it 450 yards, straight down the fairway drive. A lot of side benefits have emerged from this decision. My mind is clear. My health has benefited from this decision so much. My relationships, personal and professional, have changed, my work life has changed. Even if in all of these facets of life, I seemed like the happy-go-lucky guy that always gets what he wants. That always achieves what he’s trying to do. There was always a struggle. Now it’s like I lifted a vail and some of the struggles just disappeared. 

Yes, there were some obstacles in my way and funny from where they came. A lot of these obstacles came from friends, family and business acquaintances. It always came in the way that, are you serious, you stopped drinking? You’ll never ever have a drink anymore? Oh, you’re only trying it for a couple of months. You’ll start again. Here have one, it won’t hurt anyone. A lot of times that was the questions and comments that I got. No one had any bad intentions, they just didn’t understand.

Bear in mind, my line of work involves attending social events, fuelled by alcohol, and then, the questions arise again. Why? Why did you stop? Was there a reason? Why do you think it’s beneficial for you? Don’t you find it hard not to drink with the job you have? All these questions the reason why I chose to stop to drink. Made me second-guess my decision.

Then you get all the people that try to justify their drinking in my presence. I don’t talk about it if nobody asks me any questions why. When it does happen. I answer the best I can and tell them the reason I took this path. Then they start to explain why they wouldn’t stop. They start to tell me all the stories on why drinking for them is not a problem. It’s something they can manage is something they can control. They could stop whenever they want but they don’t feel like it. “Oh, I can’t have a steak without a glass of wine.” Okay, if all the red wine was wiped dry off the face of the earth, you’re telling me you will not eat a piece of steak ever again in your life? “I like a drink when I get back home from work, it makes me relax.” What? You need a glass of alcohol to relax. Well, good for you. If you need that glass of wine with your steak, if you need that glass of alcohol when you get back from work, maybe you do really need those to make you feel better. Even with all this questioning, I did not let go of where I want to be today and in the future.

Thinking back to the last 365 days, none of this would have been possible without support. You need to have support when you have very lofty goals. You need to have people in your inner circle that are close to you that understand and will not question or judge you on what you’re trying to accomplish. They are just there to support you, smile, give a pat on your back saying, I’m proud of you and let you move forward with your decision. All of this helped me to get where I am today. I thank you for your ongoing support…you know who you are 🙂

Today, it’s funny when I look back, and it’s like I never drank. I look back and say to myself, why didn’t I stop earlier in my life? I don’t regret whatever I did and the reasons why I had a glass of beer, wine or scotch. But from now on and for the rest of my life, it’s a thing of the past. I consider it wisdom. I have learned from it. I have grown from it and now the wisdom I achieved from those experiences will help me guide me towards an even better and fulfilling life in the future. I hope my story will inspire some of you and will spark inside you, some ideas or will give you the support and even the push to try to achieve that very, very lofty goal that you think it’s probably impossible to achieve. 

I implore you, the more impossible it seems, those are the goals you should aim for. Those are the goals that will change you. Those are the goals that will show you a different version of yourself that maybe you didn’t think you had inside.

Well, here I go, another 365 days ahead. I have stopped counting the weeks and the months. I’m counting the years, and then in a couple of years, it will be a faint memory. That taste of alcohol will never completely go away and it will be a demon I will have to deal with. But will be a reminder of things that have come to pass. I wish the best to every one of you. I raise my glass of water or my coffee to all of you…CHEERS!