#100days: Part 5

I have a confession.

A few weeks ago, I had plans to take a shot with my team at work. You see, it’s tradition. Something we do after every launch. It was April 2nd, which happened to be the 101st day of my sobriety, and the day after I shared Part 1.

A successful launch! 100+ days! Time to celebrate! Perhaps, but you don’t reward someone who abuses alcohol with alcohol. Yet, celebrating sober sounded like an oxymoron.

I knew the day was coming and I waffled back and forth for months. Do I participate? Do I not? It’s only one shot. No big deal. But the more I thought about it, the more it became a big deal.

Why should I? Camaraderie! Team bonding! Tradition! It’s only one shot.

Why shouldn’t I? Because look at me now! I made it this far. Not to mention, I literally just told the world I’m on the wagon. I might be a lot of things but I’m not a hypocrite.

It’s only one shot. Does having one measly shot mean having to start my day count over again? It’s not like I’m going to get drunk. Maybe I can keep my day count… But I’ll know it’s false and that will nag at me. Just like the elusive strand of hair that sometimes tickles the back of my arm but can’t be freed despite probing fingers and blind but deft swipes nags at me. I can’t keep my day count if I have a shot. My day count needs to remain pure, sacred, unmarred, intact. A sip I might let slide, but a drink — whether it be a beer, a glass of wine, or a single shot — means I start over.

But it’s only one shot. Am I never again going to be able to celebrate with (and like) my team? And with (and like) everyone else with whom I hope to rejoice at future celebrations?

My team knew the day was coming, too, and asked me in the weeks leading up to it what I was going to do. I answered with honesty. I didn’t know. More waffling ensued.

What did I know? That’s always a good place to start. Knowing is half the battle, right?

I knew I was proud of myself for the progress I’d made, and that I didn’t want anything jeopardizing the magical momentum I had going. I knew I wanted to be true to myself and live up to my expectations, and my convictions. I knew I wanted this time to be different, and that it was different because of the changes I’d been making.

Nothing changes if nothing changes.

The day came, and with it your responses to Part 1. I left the house that morning with my chin up, my shoulders back, and my heart full. Your words of encouragement strengthened my resolve to abstain from drinking. Your praise for my bravery bolstered an invisible yet powerful force that carried me fervently and with purpose.

While my trusty team slammed shots of Rumple Minze, I threw back a shot of apple cider vinegar — and made a face just as ugly as the rest of them. Likely uglier.

And it’s because of you. So, thank you.

THANK YOU for your love and support.

THANK YOU for your kind words and virtual hugs.

THANK YOU for your comments, messages, texts, and phone calls.

THANK YOU for your book recommendations. I’m currently reading “A Million Little Pieces” by James Frey. Wow.

THANK YOU for taking a moment to reflect on your own truth. And for telling me that I’ve inspired positive change in your life. WOW.

THANK YOU for reaching out and sharing, with brave honesty, your own struggles. And for trusting me enough to do so.

THANK YOU for giving me the push that sailed me through this past month. And for steering me straight when I was tempted to veer off course.

And THANK YOU for joining me for this part of my journey. I’ve really enjoyed the company.

In the end, I came to the conclusion that nothing is worth giving up the progress I’ve made. Any of it. One thing my dad has always said is, “Never go back the way you came.” With an insatiably adventurous spirit, he prefers the road less traveled, always choosing the path that guarantees getting lost and seeing what otherwise goes unseen. This saying has a whole new meaning to me now. Never go back. And so I look forward, and smile because the road ahead looks like a good one.

[Cue video of me riding a horse, or a wagon, or a horse-drawn wagon into the sunset.]

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