Updated: May 16
A couple of weeks ago my family and I were watching a movie together. About halfway through the movie, I realized that I had already seen it. It was funny at first, but then I realized how sad it was. What made it even worse was that I was sitting there with my son realizing that there was probably a lot of missed time in my past that I either don't remember or time for which I wasn't present. Both of these scenarios, of course, being the result of my drinking too much. I felt ashamed and sad thinking about all the memories I probably gave away to alcohol. Was it worth it? Was it so much fun that the memories don't matter? Do I want to continue throwing away the one thing that I can carry with me through life? No. I definitely do not.
After having that realization, I spent a lot of time thinking about how many things I may have experienced over the years, and of which I do not have a good memory. Movies, dates, dinners, concerts, sporting events, dancing, days at the beach, days on the mountain, and days and nights in general. One of the things we all talk about, especially as we get older, is how fast time tends to slip by us as we make our way through life. The older we get the faster time seems to evade us. With that in mind, the one thing we can always count on having is our memories; unless we spent more time drinking than not. For those of us who lived in the former for most of our lives, we have fewer memories to carry us through and that is a fucking shame.
I remember very well the first concert I went to after quitting drinking. We went and saw ZZ Ward at the Showbox in Seattle. I had a few NA beers that night, and while watching all the alcohol flow and inhibitions fall, I remember thinking to myself, I am going to remember this whole concert, and I do. I remember every song. I remember her mannerisms while singing. I remember what the band looked like and acted like. I remember how I felt when she played my favorite songs. I remember everything. The next day I pondered the clarity of my memory and vowed right then that I would never put myself in a position to throw away the memories of the rest of my life.
Memories to come
I have lost count of my sobriety days since I stopped writing the 101 days of sobriety. I am probably around one hundred and twenty at this point. Here is the really interesting thing about the past one hundred and twenty days. I remember them, and I remember them well. I have fonder feelings about my recent life than I do about the majority of my past. That may sound over-generalized, but to me, it sounds and feels true. I have lived with more intention, love, empathy, drive, and life than at any other point during my time on this planet. Having the ability to recognize the difference, especially at my age, is a gift I will never again throw away. I have been blessed and I will not take it for granted.
As I continue to walk down my sober path and recognize things left in the footsteps behind me I am constantly reminded of something that is becoming clear to me as a staple of sobriety. That staple is forgiveness. We have to be able to forgive ourselves for all the things we regret during our days of drinking. There are a lot of them, and the more clarity we garner the more regrets tend to pop up. While it is important to acknowledge them and even make amends when needed, we must not dwell on our past indiscretions. As long as we are actively taking steps toward a more honest, true, and selfless journey I believe we all deserve forgiveness and the ability to create a new future.
I have not struggled to remember what I did the night prior in over one hundred and twenty days and I plan on that being the new normal for me. I love my memories and I love the future I am laying out before me.
I want you to as well.