I'm 11 months sober, which puts me in new and unfamiliar territory. My last significant time not drinking only lasted about 11 months (I don't remember the exact length, so "11 months" is what I decided on), and that was almost a decade ago. From here on (plus or minus a few days), I will be sober for the longest time in my life.
Unlike that last time, I'm not ambivalent at all about being sober. Sobriety is a good thing for me, and drinking is a very bad thing for me. If the question ever comes up "how do you know you can't just moderate your drinking, now that you broke your habit?" I thankfully have that relapse as an example. Back then, the idea was to drink in moderation and never end up an alcoholic. It took me basically zero time to ramp up my drinking to pre-abstinance levels, and then I wasted at least 7 years of my life as a drinker. I don't want to waste another 7 years for another relapse: that relapse was my last.
It's a good thing, too. I'm depressed. Today, things are looking up 'and maybe tomorrow will be better, but for the last 2 weeks, maybe even the last few months, there's been a cloud hanging over me. This last month there's been a fair bit of disappointment and concern for me and my partner, and the stress is wearing on me. I have moments where things seem hopeless, and the bulk of my time I feel like I'm trudging through a swamp, just putting a foot in front of the other, with no idea if this swamp really has an end. It sucks.
But being sober is not a question. On this front, whether I'm happy or sad, healthy or depressed, I can be a little bit confident. I feel like I've done my homework (not to say I get to stop: there's always homework). I've put a lot of effort and thought into why I'm doing this, and I've trained myself to understand that drinking is not an option. I know that no matter how difficult my life is at any given time, there is nothing so bad that a drink can't make it worse. Maybe I'll continue to be depressed, maybe I'll end up worse off next year, maybe I'm on a slow-motion trainwreck and there's nothing I can do to stop it. That may all be true, but I know that if I relapse, whatever horrors that are in store for me will seem like a picnic compared to what I'll face as a drinker.
I had a conversation today with a good friend, and she kept apologizing for her yawning. She said that she's been drinking a lot more because of the stress in her life, and so she was up late last night having some wine and that's why she was tired today. I get it, I understand. I didn't really get into it with her, because I don't feel like I can comment when someone else talks about their drinking (because if they're "normal" their experiences and my experiences with booze are VERY different, and if they're like me, there's nothing I can say that they'll listen to until they're ready), but what I thought to myself was "Can you imagine dealing with all this stuff AND being hungover and sleep-deprived??" It was a reminder of the life I've given up.
When I look for reminders of why I'm sober, I find them, because they're all around me. I do need to continue working on this, because like physical muscles, my sobriety muscles can atrophy with time, but as far as this sober thing goes, I'm in a very good place. I didn't expect the "unfamiliar territory" of sobriety past 11 months to feel like this: it feels pretty comforting.
Oh! And shout out to Mrs D on her 1 year sober anniversary!! Congrats!