I've Quit Exactly Once in My Life
I don't normally give up...
I watched this video 10x+; it was on repeat, and I kept listening, and listening, and listening…
Every time I heard Steve-O make the point, I had to hear it again. It was as if I heard and was on the cusp of understanding, but I had to hear it again; It’s hard to capture what was happening, but it was like I understood myself for the first time.
It was a feeling of; I fucking get it; I finally understand what they mean…
I’m over two years sober, and for the first time on this journey, I understood why sobriety stuck this time when, on so many other attempts, it didn’t, or I refused even to attempt it with earnest effort.
I gave up - I fucking quit like a goddamn loser, but I didn’t lose because winning in the game of addiction means letting go of your actual (sober) self forever.
I didn’t know what was happening and wouldn’t understand until two years later that on July 7th, 2020, at 33 years old, I’d accepted that I couldn’t win…
I remember looking at the glass thinking, “I can’t keep doing this; it’s going to kill me” and what I was saying was, “I quit, alcohol; you win booze; I give up, and I am 100% bowing out of the fight for control and moderation - I lose, liquor wins, I’m withdrawing from the arena, I’m not fighting anymore…” and that was the most significant win of my life.
I walked off the mental battlefield.
I’d been in more battles with alcohol than most, and I was winning in the grand scheme, but I knew the end of this streak was fast approaching; I’d walked the razor’s edge more than a healthy number of times, and so I decided to leave with my dignity, self-respect, family, and health intact.
I quit the fight and have never felt more proud or accomplished since.
When Steve-O said, “Recovery starts with an admission of complete defeat”, it triggered something inside of me-
I’m Zachary Fucking Small; I don’t fucking quit - fuck you, Steve…
But his words kept echoing as I listened to the clip 3, 4, and 5 more times.
I was defeated and gave up trying to prove I wasn’t.
Maybe it’s a new phase of mental clarity, or maybe it’s the closing in on wrapping up this year and commencing 2023, but my mind is analyzing how I became who I am and what I need to do to become the person I want to be.
I lost the fight against moderating drinks and the incorporation of alcohol in my life, I gave up, straight up throwing in the towel, and that’s okay.
It took coming across a random message from Steve-O on IG for me to realize I got my ass kicked trying to make it work, and then I gave up; I surrendered and accepted my fate, which when it comes to sobriety is freedom, recovery, and actualizing my greatest self ever to exist.
I’m Zachary Fucking Small, and I quit once; it was the greatest decision ever.
- Zachary Small
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