31 days with out Alcohol…talk amongst yourselves.

I decided that I would use the new year as a catalyst to start a journey into a life without alcohol. I have been drinking since I was in the eighth grade with a short one year respite when I was twenty. I can’t do the math, nor do I want to, but the point is that I have been drinking for more years than I have not been drinking. I was never an “alcoholic” by social standards, but I like to party and I have an affinity for a strong bourbon cocktail. Or multiple. It seems like this has been a journey to get to this place. I used to drink a lot after I turned twenty-one and I remember being twenty-six or so and just hating being hung over and loathing myself for the poor decisions I had made the night before. But each night I would start feeling better and go out again, only to have the next morning feel the same way. It was a cyclical pattern and it was depressing, but just fun enough to keep the shenanigans up for a longer than I like to admit. Over the years I’ve cut back significantly, but then even being hung over for one day a week was starting to feel like I was robbing myself of feeling good and using that time to be productive with my practicing and spend quality time with my family. I just don’t have that kind of time to burn.

For this whole month I have felt better than I can ever remember feeling in my life. Even if I stay up late watching Netflix and wake up early in the morning I have great energy and focus. Before, I was never clean long enough to get alcohol out of my system and in turn it was having a cumulative affect and hanging around like a blanket of fog on my mornings. I am getting things done and having more productive conversation and time spent with my wife and son.

I don’t know how long I will go, but I know I will go at least until May first. My Senior recital is on April twenty-fifth and I want to be as in shape and mentally clear as I can be.

On the spiritual side, I have noticed that alcohol has been a medication for me for stresses and annoyances. I could get through tough gigs, difficult people, insecurities, and social pressures by numbing it out and not dealing with things fully. Now I am faced with things that make me uncomfortable and I have no where to go (at least not a safe place I am used to). Being sober helps me first look at myself and how I am handling things and then looking harder at a logical way to deal with them, instead of drinking and compartmentalizing which looks on the outside like having some tasty beverages and having a hell of a good time. Some things are a lot more difficult to handle than I want, but that is okay. It’s all helping me prepare for the next phase of my development as a human and musician (I hope).

I don’t feel any less hip or included, which was actually a big anxiety when I was preparing in the months leading up to this decision. It has also left me some free time to exercise, which has been a very low priority on my list of “to dos” the last three years. All in all, I am happy. I may be grumpier when you see me, but rejoice in the fact that I am happier. The happy grump.

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