Today marks 100 days sober for me. The day rings in with mixed, weird, good feelings in that it’s crazy to me that I was able to make it this long without giving in and grabbing a drink (there have been plenty of tough days during this time), but it’s surprising how much easier it gets, and how turning to alcohol to deal with stress just naturally becomes less and less of an option.
Tonight, my wife and I are going out for dinner to celebrate. On my way to work today, I saw a massive butterfly migration, so I hope they’re still out tonight instead of sleeping because I think that would add the perfect amount of magic to it.
Yesterday, I finished reading Allen Carr’s Easy Way to Stop Smoking and this Friday night, I’m going to smoke my last cigarette. It’s funny how similar the addiction is, and I’m glad I kicked booze first because I think it prepared me for being able to quit smoking. With both booze and tobacco, it’s just such an easy thing to go to when you’re feeling overwhelmed or stressed, but at the same time, they’re the perfect go-to when everything is perfect and you want to celebrate something. It reminds me of that Bukowski quote, “That’s the problem with drinking, I thought, as I poured myself a drink. If something bad happens you drink in an attempt to forget; if something good happens you drink in order to celebrate; and if nothing happens you drink to make something happen.” Allen Carr’s book does a great job dispelling some of the brainwashing you invent in order to continue smoking, coming up with these impossible beliefs of cigarettes, that they somehow calm you down and give you energy, two conflicting, totally impossible effects.
With both booze and tobacco, what I find to be similar about the process of giving it up is that success comes when you actively enjoy giving it up. If you’ve begrudgingly sacrificed one of your vices, you’re going to be miserable. Where the two diverge, drinking is obviously totally fine for someone who doesn’t have a problem with it. Cigarettes, though, are a fucking waste of smoke. I’m 32 and I started smoking when I was 16, so for half of my life, I’ve been smoking and I’m just fucking done. It’s expensive, it’s exhausting, and it doesn’t even have the decency of giving you a buzz for all the work you put into it.
In the time that I’ve been sober, I’ve been keeping myself busy with a few things that I just naturally have the energy for these days. I’ve been exercising. Like I said, I just finished my book to help me quit smoking, and while I’m going through that, my sister (who actually commented here last week) bought me David Lynch’s book on meditation, so I’m going to finish reading that to cope with some of the stress that I’m sure is going to rear its ugly head. After I’ve been clean off cigarettes for a month or so, I’m finally going to do something that just the mere idea of has scared the shit out of me: I’m going to go to the doctor for a check-up. Why bother while smoking, you know? Why open up that terrifying can of worms?
I went to my first real AA meeting. I went to one before, but I had to (court ordered after I got busted with weed over ten years ago), and was not at all happy to be there. Going on your own volition is a totally different, much more positive experience. The focus of discussion of the meeting that I’d gone to, unfortunately for me, was all about God, which I wasn’t exactly thrilled with. I don’t have a problem with Faith or other peoples’ beliefs, which are so personal and precious to them, but it just wasn’t a point of discussion I was looking for in terms of my sobriety. It’s just not an area where I draw strength from. I do plan on attending more meetings, and my experience at the meeting wasn’t bad at all, I just wish I’d gone during a different day for my first meeting I went to on my own.
A couple more stray updates:
- Eventually, for the first time in my adult life, I’m going to be moving into my own office and I’m pretty excited about it. When I first started with my company almost 11 years ago, I had the option to have an office, but I was trying to be all humble as the new guy and turned it down and never had the opportunity for once since. An opportunity came along again and this time I pounced on it!
- I’ve been a lot more active with my hobbies like writing a drawing and in a month or so, I should be done with part two in an ongoing zine series I have called “People I Like.” After that, I have a few other ideas, but my wife had a good idea I might make good on, which would be a sort of illustrated zine/comic about sobriety and quitting smoking. Not sure what I’d call that one, but I have a teaser image of my upcoming zine below.