One month. 31 days. 44,640 minutes. That’s how long it has been since a drop of alcohol has touched my lips, marking the my longest period of sobriety since I took a month off five years ago. There were times when it was easy. There were times when it was hard. And often, there were times when it was boring. But I know you all don’t want to hear a general summary of the last month of my life. No. You guys want every gritty detail. And if you don’t, I don’t care. Because I’m giving them to you. Enjoy!
I left my doctor’s office with a very specific treatment regimen. Apparently I have a kidney infection that has become resistant to most antibiotics, so I’ve been prescribed 30 days of high-dose antibiotic, as well as some other meds, adding up to an annoying four pills a day. But that’s alright, I don’t mind doing whatever it takes to help my health. Oh yeah, he also recommended I not drink any alcohol over the next month. You guys thought I chose to be sober for December, the biggest drinking month of the year? Grow up.
Days 2 – 3
Easy peasy. This treatment won’t be a problem at all. Sure, I don’t normally drink on weeknights anyway, but that’s not why I’m not worried. The truth is, I’m kind of excited to remove alcohol from my life. I’ll feel better physically, emotionally, mentally, and financially. Honestly, I may just stay sober even after my treatment is over. This is going to be a good month.
Fuck this. Fuck infections, fuck doctors, and fuck modern medicine. I spent all Saturday at an engagement party turned Christmas party turned bar crawl, and I did it all without single drop of alcohol in my bloodstream. Not even Coors Light, which I’m pretty sure qualifies as water. All of my friends claimed to be sympathetic to my situation, but apparently not enough so to join me in being sober. The bride-to-be even “accidentally” poured me a glass of champagne when she was doing a toast. Rude.
Hahaha. Suckers. While everyone else in the world dealt with hangover today, yours truly was feeling great. My girlfriend, who foolishly imbibed in the devil’s drink last night, stayed in bed for half the day, while I, and enlightened man, sat on the couch for eight hours and watched football. So, no different than any other Sunday, I guess. Whatever. I feel good. Suck it, everyone else.
Days 6 – 10
Like I said, I don’t usually drink during the week, so my Monday through Friday was pretty normal. I’d like to say I was sharper and more productive at work, but to be honest, I felt about the same. The one upside? My wallet was feeling significantly heavier. When I checked my bank account on Monday (something I would never have done before), I noticed that I had only spent about $50 all weekend. Fifty bucks. All weekend. Did I spend most of the money I had saved on food over the week? Yes. Shit, I can’t drink, at least let me eat good, alright? I’m pretty sure I can eat whatever I want and not get fat now. Isn’t that like the main upside to being sober?
Days 10 – 11
This weekend was easier than the last, although I don’t know if that was due to me getting used to my new lifestyle, or the fact that all my friends were out of town and I had nothing to do. My girlfriend and I had a nice little weekend to ourselves, including perhaps the first date we’d ever been on where alcohol wasn’t involved. I’m pleased to announce that I still enjoy spending time with her sober. Good to know. We also went to the Sharks – Blackhawks game, where I happily did not pay for $15 beers and thoroughly enjoyed watching my boys hang seven goals on the home team.
Days 12 – 13
Between cramming the rest of the year’s work into two days and packing for a two-week vacation, I didn’t even think about drinking.
Days 14 – 20
Costa Rica, baby! The weather is a comfortable 88 degrees, and ya boy is planning on spending every minute of this trip in the sun, floating in the ocean with a drink – uhh…Coca Cola in his hand. To be honest, not drinking on this trip wasn’t a problem at all. Despite staying at an all-inclusive resort, there wasn’t a lot of downtime to take advantage of the many bars. We were up at 6:30am every morning for various day-long excursions, and by the time we got back, showered, and ate dinner, I was ready for bed. We did white water rafting, horseback riding, zip-lining, rappelling, and a variety of other activities that are a ton of fun and also not ideal for someone suffering through a brutal kidney infection. Shout out to my doctor hooking me up with prescription-strength Aleve. While I would have liked to have a few beers while deep sea fishing, at least I didn’t have a drunken squint in the picture of me holding the five-foot Mahi Mahi I caught. Sorry, this has just turned into me bragging about my trip. The point is, I didn’t drink during Costa Rica, and because of that I’m better than you.
So, it turns out Christmas is a big drinking holiday, huh? Between my little brother sneaking shots in the backyard and my grandma sneaking nips of some disgusting Italian liquor all day, I’m pretty sure I was the only sober adult, possibly in all of North America. Does that make dealing with crotchety relatives easier, you ask? No. No it does not. Also, I had to drive home from my uncles house, instead of my aforementioned little brother, who took full advantage of my illness to make up for the past three years where I had made him DD. I can’t even be mad.
Day 22 – 27
Thank god for college football, is all I have to say about this five-day stretch. While in past years, the days after Christmas would be a health-devastating, fiscally-irresponsible gauntlet with all my old high school and college friends, this year was much tamer. Instead of starting the day with bloodies and mimosas and ending them with shots at a hometown bar, I chilled on the couch, did some hiking, and played poker with my buddies. Maybe we’re getting old, but they all seemed down to not go hard this year, and my inability to get rowdy was just the excuse they needed. My mom recently moved into a new apartment building with a gym as well, so I got to work out every day to keep me from going crazy/putting permanent dent in the couch.
New Year’s Eve. The day I was least looking forward to since my doctor had first uttered the words “no alcohol.” Historically, NYE is my least favorite holiday, and the idea of spending it being sober was enough to make me Google, “the effects of leaving a kidney infection untreated,” which, as it turns out, are not great. Not great at all. Very bad, in fact.
Luckily, my friends opted out of our usual plan of paying $200 for some club NYE event with a shitty DJ, shitty champagne, and shitty appetizers (can you tell I really like this holiday?), and instead decided to host a house party with all of our close friends and significant others. Did it still suck to be sober? Yes, but not as much as I would have thought. I bought myself a sixer of fancy root beer in glass bottles to break the habit of holding and drinking something, and while my friends told everyone I had gonorrhea and offered me party favors under the reasoning that “it would get your white blood cells all jacked up to fight the infection,” they were understanding and never pressured me to drink. All in all, it was a fun night, and I lasted until about 1:30am, when I called it due to everyone being too drunk to even attempt a conversation with.
The final stretch feels like anything but. I haven’t had any alcohol in a month, and to be honest, I don’t miss it. My girlfriend is talking about doing a sober January, and I think I might stretch my new lifestyle for another few weeks. Or until anyone offers me a beer. Willpower has never been my strong suit.