200 days ago I was reborn. It wasn’t pretty, much like an actual birth, and I was awkward and gangly, much like a newborn. My skin didn’t fit. I didn’t know who I was. And the world seemed really big and new and scary as all hell.

But it was a chance to live again, to get it right. To get me right. Once a piece of work, now a work in progress.

200 days. I remember 100 days and how proud I felt to reach this milestone, one I never thought I’d know personally. To celebrate, I published a five-piece series about my decades-long drinking career—and the first 100 days of my newfound sobriety—on Facebook for my family and all of my friends and “Facebook friends” to see. I didn’t know what to expect. Nobody I knew was talking about sobriety. Was I making a huge mistake?

After sharing Part I, there was no stopping. I needed to tell my story, get it all out, purge it from my being. Only then could I begin to recover.

For the first time, I was being open and honest about my relationship with alcohol, one I’d always kept hidden in shame. I invited people in to see the darkest corners of my closet, and welcomed them to hold me accountable. It worked. The support I received was overwhelming and sailed me through the next month.

It was in my fourth month that I started to question my new teetotal lifestyle:

Why am I (still) doing this?
I reached my goal, now what?
Do I keep going? For how long?
Can I have a drink when I’m out with friends?
Do I want to drink?

I was confused, conflicted. My self in turmoil. And then a friend reached out to me, asked how I was doing.

[Open floodgates]

Being a good friend, she offered her unsolicited advice: “I know you’re not asking for my opinion, but I’m gonna give it anyway: I would stay sober for a full year and then see how you feel.”

Huh. Okay, I couldn’t argue with that. I didn’t have a strong desire to go back to drinking—so why do it? There were so many more reasons why NOT to do it.

You’ve likely heard some, if not all, of these before. And you’re gonna hear them again because it’s not bullshit. In 200 days, I’ve gained:

a zest for life
a positive outlook
a calmer demeanor
the best sleep ever
more energy
brighter eyes
better skin
healthy hair
pants that fit
compliments about my appearance
creative juices
clarity of mind
feels, all the feels
strength, both physically and mentally / emotionally
greater acceptance of myself and others
deeper, more meaningful relationships
the desire to do more, to be more
more hours, every day, to do just that
funds to put towards a downpayment to buy my first home

I’m happy I took my friend’s advice then—she’s a smart cookie, that one—because here I am today, on my 200th day, writing this. When I started this journey, a year of sobriety seemed impossible. A year wasn’t on the radar. Six months wasn’t on the radar. But now, there’s a blip. I’m getting closer and it’s getting brighter. One year isn’t so far away anymore. Full steam ahead.

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