200 days without alcohol

Image from trevhunter on flickr.
Image from trevhunter on flickr.

Pushing one’s limits

By Keating Smith, Staff Writer

Keep on keepin’ on. These are the words I wrote right at the stroke of midnight in the Facebook textbox, the status update that garnered 70 “likes” (and counting), and my commemoration of the latest milestone in my quest through sobriety. This journey, 200 days in the making and counting, is one that has fundamentally changed me mentally and physically since August of last year.

As times goes on, I have come to compare the significant changes appearing in life to riding a roller coaster in a dense fog, unable to see what is around the next bend on the track. Some days (sometimes a whole week) I am up, high on life, but the next day I can be in the doldrums without the aid of alcohol or drugs. This has caused me to somewhat live up to my News Year’s resolution: I’m attempting to push my mental and physical limits as hard as possible, and at the same time understand what I am capable of achieving without compromising the fresh relationships I have begun with old friends and family and the new ones I have created.

The results for me have been unprecedented. I’m achieving more than I initially thought I was capable of. This is not to say I am some extraordinary human being or He-Man. However, I’m doing things the old me wouldn’t have been able to. My ability to work two part-time jobs framing houses in the winter months, only to come home and immediately start on my full-time course load, or to swim upwards of 1500 metres a week at the community aquatic centre are qualities in my life I can thank my sobriety for.

Revealing this type of personal information may seem a bit conceited—to some extent, it is. But I feel it is important to address these musings now, before this paradigm becomes the norm in my life. As William Griffith Wilson, the founder of Alcoholics Anonymous put it: “We have learned that the satisfaction of instincts cannot be the sole aim of our lives.”

The goal here is not to create a facade of myself, but rather to portray myself for who I really am and to build on this by taking all the elements around me into consideration and finding connections between them. Throughout my journey, I have become more attentive to those around me without passing any forms of initial judgments like I used to when I was hung over or under the influence of alcohol.

Does this read like I’ve been smoking too many herbal cigarettes? I’m sure it does, as this is a personal discovery, which can be hard to explain on paper. To reiterate my opening line and leave off with some final words of wisdom, I say to you the following: everything is one day at a time. Become a better person to yourself, and in return, you will be a better person to the people around you.