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Maybe Sobriety Shouldn’t Be Your New Years Resolution

Photo Illustration: By The Cut.Photo: Getty Images

I don’t like giving prescriptive advice, but to wrap up my year in the cut, I decided to go out with a directive or at least a plea: Dear Friends, January 1 Don’t start drinking in the day. .

Clearly, it’s always been a popular date for wagon-hopping.And sure, if you’re just someone mess with For those of you who think Dry January sounds like a fun challenge or an interesting experiment to you, stop drinking. If you’re worried that there will be, reconsider your start date.

I know you want to quit on New Year’s Day. As a culture, January 1st has weighed heavily on the almost unbearable pressure to change for the better. The resulting anxiety almost single-handedly fuels the market for fitness equipment, gym memberships, and productivity apps. A miserable hangover from the previous night’s celebratory binge can further fuel thoughts of personal improvement. .

That’s my point: I tried Half a dozen times to make January 1st my drinking day. Many alcoholics do. Eleven years after sobriety, I have attended thousands of AA meetings and heard countless people recall his January 1 recovery resolution at the meetings. chip’ symbolizes their first 24 hours.

nevertheless. Want to know how many people I know actually have New Year’s Day as a sober day? Exactly one. one!

As my friend says, it was an accident that I went sober on 1/1. Even the night before she had no intention of quitting the next day. This wasn’t the first time she noticed that. According to her, it was her first time. She attended her AA meetings, but not for the first time. Since January 1, 2010, she has been sober.

Now, to be fair, I haven’t met every sober person on the planet yet. People who really needed to stop drinking, but who just quit and never did it again. Congratulations!

But among those of us who sit in a room and talk about drinking on a regular basis, there seems to be an inverse relationship between the importance assigned to dates and the likelihood of dating. That Certain dates are permanent recovery anniversaries. I’ve heard a lot of stories about people trying to quit but not being able to stop on birthdays, child’s birthdays, anniversaries, his 1st, 15th, last Friday or first day of the month or the month. there is. Sunday or the always popular “Monday”.

Why is it so hard to keep these dates? I think it’s because they have something else in common besides the imports assigned.usually not todayThey usually don’t just nowPeople who have trouble controlling their drinking choose special days to dry up not because they want to stop drinking, but because they don’t want to. We are not deciding when to stop drinking, we are negotiating how long we can continue. Symbolic dates add pressure and heighten the anxiety that comes from knowing you’re getting closer to the end every time you drink. I can’t.

I never seriously thought of New Year’s Day as the beginning of constant drinking once the hangover subsided. I thought I had a successful branch before starting again. I think I tried to quit drinking once after my birthday was over. But at least she spent a year “on Mondays.” Even after there was nothing left to celebrate, I was forever trying to think of a final hurrah.

In fact, my last hurray ended in a suicide attempt. The story of waking up in the hospital has been told here before. That was my first moment of true surrender.

But the binge that led to ER wasn’t my last drink, and when you can say ER was at my lowest point, it’s a great kicker to the story. That’s the weather scene in the movie, right?

So I usually omit the part where I found the bottle (like I did in the first column) only a few swallows left When I was home for a day between the psych ward and treatment. I couldn’t even make the day of my suicide attempt the beginning of a real rebirth. Instead, a few days later.

Being able to scratch just below that bottom, an ounce deep, speaks to the inherent confusion of both alcoholics and alcoholics. When Sober. Trying to keep the story neat and the journey in order always fails. The surrender I felt in that hospital flattened me out. I felt the presence of a higher power! Still, that didn’t stop me from gulping down pathetic amounts of warm hard liquor on the first occasion. That’s because.

How have you resisted all the other half-finished bottles and abandoned wine glasses since? Not because we experienced “true” surrender. Since then, I have been chanting surrender every day. Nothing acknowledged the feeling of cinematic helplessness quite like waking up in the ICU. I hope I never have another.

My recovery has made me realize that what makes my day special is my sobriety. And that’s true every day, not just the first day I didn’t drink.

Because if January 1st was the worst day to be sober, today is the best day.

I loved writing this column for Cut. I will continue to write about recovery as long as I have something to say so keep an eye elsewhere. You can find it on my website You can follow me:

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