#SoberOctober Day 31 – Quit Drinking in 31 Difficult Steps

Growing up I remember seeing a lot of commercials where a miracle product was sold at an amazing price: 3 easy payments of $19.95. It sounded so cheap, so affordable, and such an amazing value that I’d be foolish not to call the 1-800 number on the screen.

Even as a child, I knew that 3 payments of $20 was still $60, but something about the term “3 easy payments” made the price so much easier to digest. The $20 float out of your wallet each month as if it was destined to be spent. The fact that there were only 3 payments, made it seem that much easier.

My father however, would always remind me about the fine-print. Did that $19.95 include the shipping? How long do I have to make each payment? What were the penalties for missing a payment? Would I get product before, or after I had made all the payments?

I kept this healthy skepticism in to adulthood, but wasn’t exactly prepared for when I started, and then later wanted to quit drinking. Much like a credit card or payment plan, drinking can have lingering costs. Hangovers are like the credit card bill you get after a holiday. When I was trying to cut back, I thought for sure that all I had to do was quit for the month of October to prove to myself that I didn’t have a problem.

It all seemed too easy, but looking back on it it wasn’t what it seemed. Hiding deep within everyone is a complexity that can’t be solved with simple measures. As I peeled back the onion of my drinking I realized I had triggers, habits, and self destructive tendencies that I always brushed off as a normal part of being a social drinker.

I never tell people that Sober October is easy. Telling yourself you want to make a change is easy, getting on the wagon and staying there is hard. Dealing with your cravings, the societal pressure and emotions for 31 days is difficult. Looking in the mirror and having an honest conversation with yourself is one of the hardest things we can do.

All that being said, I think hard choices are what makes life easier. Ask your most successful friends and family members and I doubt they will attribute a “As Seen on TV” gadget to their success. Your friend that does Triathlons probably didn’t learn “one weird trick” online that helped them get to the finish line.

I’m still young, and I’m not a professional. You can take this all with a grain of salt. I think the struggle of quitting a bad habit is what makes it worthwhile. It wouldn’t be something to be proud of if it wasn’t hard. Progress doesn’t come without sacrifice, but but the burden of the sacrifice lessens over time.

Each step in the right direction takes us further away from the things that were holding us back. You won’t be able to tell at first, but you’ll eventually get stronger. One day you’ll stop to look around and realize the view is amazing, and what once felt like a treadmill is actually an ascent to a new level.

This new level will be different for each person. It depends on where you started, and the obstacles in your way as you climb higher. Your journey is your own, and how you choose to travel is entirely up to you. But the one thing I truly believe is universal is that it’s all worth it. YOU ARE WORTH IT.

Repeat it out loud if you must: You are worth it. I know that regardless of where you are in your journey now, it’s worth taking that next step, and the next, and the next.

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