Sober Milestone: YEAR III
Three Years Down
You don’t have to know where the road ends to start walking it.
I thought this as I reflected on my journey through sobriety.
My wife and I are three years sober today, and we had no idea what sober living would look like, but we knew it was something we were ready to take on together.
I know that this path is one I had to walk, as sobriety was essential to me finding out who I was, and there are many others seeking that same assuredness of knowing who they are; each would benefit from stripping away the things they aren’t.
What do I want to be when I grow up?
It was a question I could never answer…
I have a hard time settling down into one location in life because there are so many different things I’m good at, enjoy, and can do. Jackie is the same way, to the point we call ourselves Gypsies, as we are always moving with careers, where we live, goals, etc.
Because of this, I can’t tell you what I want to be without writing a 30+ item list.
Getting sober, clearing my mind, and being able to reconnect with myself, that is when things changed because that is when I learned who I didn’t want to be:
I wouldn’t be a half-assed father.
I wouldn't be a husband embarrassing my wife through my behavior or physique.
I wouldn’t allow myself to be a perpetual victim in life, blaming a childhood with trauma for adult inadequacies.
If you want to find out who you are, what you are capable of, and where you want to go in life, you need to remove the anchors that keep you from ever considering where you want to be.
When the weight of the world is on your shoulders, it’s difficult to consider the vast distance your growth could travel as a person…
It’s when you realize the weight placed on your shoulders gave you time to build strong legs and learn a lot about what it is you don’t like you are in a better position than those who never went through the struggle.
People who have found a way to avoid adversity find themselves living a life that “just happened”; they never had to think about who they were, why they were, or what they were; they just went with the flow.
Those who’ve struggled have had to walk against the current more than once.
There is clarity in the grips of addiction, and as I reflect on my three years of sobriety, I no longer see my time spent boozing as a period of regret but rather as a time of building.
I learned who I did not want to be during those 20 years.
During that time, from 13-33, I found great things, and I also discovered true regret, shame, and failure - I intimately know what they feel like, and because of this, I can be my best self, as I know what wrong looks like, so I choose to live right.
Our entire lives are nothing more than a series of tests and experiences, with our learning and modified behaviors following those experiences dictating what we experience next. After reading this, you can choose to drink, do drugs, or hang onto your negative vices, which will perpetuate the spiral you are in, or at best, the redundancy without progress…
You can choose to make a change and accept that you’ve learned many ways not to get it right, but that is what positioned you to know what you want and what’s needed to get there.
I knew who I didn’t want to be, and that allowed me to become the greatest version of myself I could become, and this is the exact fate that you could experience s well on all fronts of your life if you choose to allow yourself the freedom of letting go of the self you don’t want. It doesn’t matter if you’re more comfortable knowing your demon; it’s time to do some uncomfortable things, and that means living a life like you like yourself.
I quit alcohol, I gave up, and it was the biggest win of my life.
- Zac Small
PS: I was going to end it there, I had nothing left to write, but then I did, and what I have left is a message only for those who’ve made it to the end of this piece because if you are finding it worth your time to read this entire article, to the end, then you are the person who is fighting with all you have to be the best version of yourself, actually doing this damn thing in life - to the end.
So many people have quit on quitting; they relapse, they stay hooked, they drink themselves into an early grave, but not you.
You’re here reading about sobriety, thinking about sobriety, getting sober, overcoming slipups; you’re still fighting where few do - you are still here pushing when so many others have fallen off, you are still fucking here, and I am so happy for you because I’m with you on this journey.
I get it.
I know what it’s like.
I hate the hurt, I know how you must feel.
I understand that hurt and want you to know that soon if you stay true to yourself, those anchors become fuel for becoming the greatest self you could ever have imagined existing, and I can’t wait to see it because your win is my win.