990 Days Sober
When I first decided to get completely sober, I also started writing. In the last months of daily drunkenness, it was noticeable I would lose words and find myself unable to complete sentences.
I was embarrassed to be so educated and working in a technical field and have such trouble communicating. For years, I would describe my ability to structure sentences to be akin to “Me Tarzan, you Jane.”
This self-conscious deficiency in speech played a large role in my decision to stop drinking. I researched how alcohol abuse affects a person’s speech for months.
I knew I’d not only need to stop drinking, but also retrain my brain.
I have never considered myself a good writer. I do not consider myself a good writer now.
I was inspired by a book I picked up, The Daily Stoic. Here I learned of the benefits of controlling one's own mind, but more importantly, I learned that one of the most powerful humans to ever walk this earth experienced doubt and anxiety, and he used writing as a way to mitigate and understand his world. See Marcus Aurelius’s Meditations.
I decided when I stopped drinking I would start writing publicly. It was three big fears wrapped up into one giant challenge:
Who would I be if I stopped drinking?
What would people think if I shared who I really was and the things I think about?
Had I destroyed my brain, and could I remold it?
I have a method. Write every 10 days. No more than 2,200 characters. The cadence forced the commitment. The character restriction helps me stay on topic and reshape sentences.
So I wrote, and I wrote.
I wrote until Day 970, and I could not bring myself to write. I would just write on Day 980. I did not write.
I don’t know why I didn’t write.
I am not disappointed with myself.
There is a lot of change in my world right now I am navigating.
Maybe I just need space to be and observe.
After 990 days of studying, writing and rebuilding my mind, I have ideas that aren’t quite ready to share but are baking in the silent moments of my days.
Maybe I am afraid to share my ponderings. Maybe I am avoiding writing the book swirling in my mind.
Or maybe just being happy and healthy for once is enough.