365 days ago on Sunday, January 22, 2012, I was thinking about how an old friend had been dead for 6 years from driving drunk and getting in a one car accident. Upstairs, my husband Todd was sleeping off the effects of passing out drunk the night before. If this had been a once in a while occurrence, maybe it wouldn’t be so bad. But it wasn’t; every single night Todd drank until he passed out, and he had been doing this since he was in his early 20s.
Weekend mornings were usually spent with me waiting and waiting until Todd would finally get up, usually between 2:30 pm – 3:30 pm. On Saturdays he works at 5:30 pm, and Sundays at 5:00 pm, so it didn’t leave much time for us to spend together. If we had plans to go somewhere or do something earlier, Todd would be hungover, groggy, and kinda mean.
Todd says that the physical benefits from not drinking have been the most notable. He’s not hung over, has an appetite, doesn’t get headaches, isn’t sweating out alcohol (ugh, our sheets at night!), and isn’t dehydrated anymore. He feels like he has more energy now, and recognizes that he’s less irritable than he used to be.
I asked Todd if it’s easier now to not drink, and he says that on most days it is. But he still has those moments when he feels like he wants to drink, but to get through them, he tries to divert his attention. If that doesn’t work, he talks with me, or talks with his very good friend, who is also a recovering alcoholic.
On January 25, 2008, Todd quit his 10 year addiction to marijuana in order to date me. I have zero tolerance for people who do drugs, and a relationship with me was more appealing to him than sitting home smoking a bong. Quite frankly, I was so naive about drugs that I had no idea Todd even did pot! Back then, alcohol was still a part of our lives; Todd was a bartender, and I would sometimes imbibe. In the United States, drinking is an accepted social pastime. In fact, since Todd and I don’t drink, we’ve found that we’re looked at as the odd ones.
I’ve never been much of a drinker. Alcohol seems to affect me twice as much as other people, and I didn’t like how I felt the next day. I also didn’t like losing control of that much of myself. The last drink I had was on our wedding day, 09.10.11, and maybe twice since then I’ve felt like I’d like a drink, but it wasn’t a big deal that I didn’t indulge and have a drink. Plus, when Todd was drinking, the whole “fun” of drinking alcohol was gone for me. Once Todd quit, I knew that I would be his #1 supporter, so why not quit too?
Why am I telling you all of this? First of all, I have Todd’s permission. I told him I was thinking about it, but I didn’t want to do anything that would make him uncomfortable. He told me to go for it; maybe it would help someone else who was thinking about making the commitment to quit drinking or doing drugs. That’s the kind of guy Todd is! Todd has a massive amount of willpower when he sets his mind to doing something. Not everyone has this, and maybe for someone else, attending Alcoholics Anonymous or Narcotics Anonymous meetings will be what you need to succeed. There is no shame in that, if that’s what you need. At least you’re doing something for yourself!
The picture at the top of this post is the embroidery piece I made for Todd to commemorate 365 days being sober. I included 122 French knots since he quit 01/22 last year. It’s now hanging on our embroidery wall, and it’s meant to be a pleasant reminder to him of how far he’s come. This picture below is of the tattoo Todd got when he was in the mid-200 days being sober. The picture on top is how I see it when I’m looking at it. The picture on the bottom is how he sees it when he looks in the mirror. It reads, “Reach for the sky, not the bottle.” It’s inspired by Chuck Ragan‘s song, “Nothing Left to Prove” off of the album, “Covering Ground.” It’s a love song about getting things done, sung to the one he loves the most. That’s what Todd and I are all about.
Here’s the video of, Nothing Left to Prove” by Chuck Ragan.